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An Apology from the Desk of Duncan Ralston


I'm sorry.

I need to say that, and not just because I'm Canadian and that's something that's ingrained in our DNA. Actually, I'm from Toronto, probably the least apologetic part of Canada. So forget about the Canadian thing. That's not pertinent to this apology.

As an indie author I do practically everything myself, aside from designing the covers (although I've done a few of those, as well). I write the various drafts, paginate, edit, proof, make the various book formats, QC the audiobooks, commission the artwork and market. It's time consuming, it's exhausting, it's aggravating... but in the end it's incredibly rewarding, especially when people enjoy all the work I've put into it.

But there's a lot of room for human error when you're practically a one-man band.

I'll give you an example: I sent out my novel, GHOSTLAND, to a few folks in the industry I thought would be nice to have a blurb from. You know, those one or two phrase endorsements of the book from writers usually in a higher echelon which tell potential readers, "I liked this, you might like this, too."

Well, that ebook I sent out had a huge glaring error in the third paragraph. And not just a typo. Somehow I had copied and pasted an entire sentence into the middle of another sentence, right at the beginning of the book. Right when the reader is trying to decide, "Is this guy any good or should I dump this book before it's too late?"

I'm sorry for that. As much to myself as to the writers whose time I (theoretically) wasted with such a rookie mistake. I mean, this was my 8th book. How did I not noticed that before I sent it out into the world? How was I not prepared for this kind of thing?

Possibly worse than that, the version of the ebook I uploaded for the launch had three chapters out of order. This was after I discovered the blurb copy mistake. Meaning there was no excuse not to have noticed this prior to upload it, aside from me being being burned the f out after spending two+ years trying to get the damn thing out into the world. Fortunately a very nice reader pointed it out to me, and I was able to fix the problem swiftly.

But here's why I'm sorry today. I recently discovered that I uploaded and printed a previous draft of the sequel to Ghostland, AFTERLIFE: Ghostland 2.0 all the way back in December. Meaning, all of those paperbacks out there have glaring errors because I used the "Final" docx file instead of the "Final Revised" docx file to create the paperbacks and the ebooks. (Even the audiobook, it appears, though hopefully that's been noticed by the publisher.) I've uploaded the correct version of the ebook and the paperback should be approved very soon.

I've come to terms (sort of) with the fact that it's virtually impossible to get rid of all the typos, no matter how many eyes you get on, professional or otherwise. I just read a major traditionally published book that had two errors in it. And I'm just one guy. I'm my own "publishing team." Every time I upload a "final" version of a book, I notice another issue: a typo, a homophone, a punctuation or formatting error. I can't even be sure they were in the previous version. Just today I went to upload the revised version of Afterlife and somehow an entire word had been deleted from the beginning of a chapter.

Every time someone handles a document, every time a new version is created, there's the potential to create another error.

In the meantime, it does a disservice to the readers, who expect a certain level of quality for their dollar, and to the other hardworking indies who are putting out quality, error-free work into the world and hearing things like "Indie books have so many typos." I'd hate to be contributing to that mentality.

So I'm sorry. I'm trying to do better. Mistakes h̶a̶p̶p̶p̶e̶n̶ happen, but hopefully one as bad as this doesn't happen again.

Now obviously, I'm not wealthy enough to give you all a refund. Hopefully those first edition paperbacks will be worth a few cents more someday and you can cash in on eBay. I think you should be able to download the new version on your Kindles, if you're into that. It doesn't change the story aside from a few mistakes of geography, dates and a name or two (for instance: Billy Turner, Lilian's class valedictorian, is called Jerry Turner later on in the story, but he's only mentioned the twice in Afterlife). However, you may want the latest update for when the third and final book comes out in the fall.

To those of you who read Afterlife (or any of my books with mistakes) and still reviewed it favorably on Amazon/Goodreads, thank you for your patience and kindness! I hope you enjoy the rest of my books.

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