When “Good Enough” Is Not Enough, or How the “It’s Digital; We Can Fix It Later” Argument and Sloppy Writing, Editing, and Proofreading Can Hurt You
Regularly among writers and publishers of online content, I hear:
- “It’s good enough; the boss wants it to go live now.”
- “Mistakes can be ‘fixed’ later.”
- “Ah, we’ll clean it up when we have time. That’s the wonder of digital publishing.”
OK, I agree; it is great to be able to make later, critical changes as necessary without having to stop the presses, send out a shameful correction notice to every single subscriber, or reprint a gazillion printed books and pulp the errors.
However, there are some errors that just should NOT be made public. It’s basic quality control for businesses. Professional writers and editors and proofreaders using a careful process can help avoid these:
- errors in fact—like announcing the wrong date for a sales event or wrongly announcing the death of an international figure
- errors in spelling (typos)—like the misspelling (true) of the car name Alfa Romeo in an advertisement
Yes, you can correct these errors after their first publication, but they make you look bad, unprofessional, and unworthy of trust and business in the short run. Some might even land you in court. And, in the long run, even after you correct them, they might live on in cyberspace.
The “it’s good enough; we’ll finetune it later” argument is also used by some self-publishers—fiction and non-fiction. What’s wrong with that? For more on that subject, see upcoming blogs.