- Victoria M. Patton
Mistakes Happen. It's How You Handle Them That Matters.
Updated: Jan 6
Mistakes are going to happen. No matter what line of work you do. From surgeons to writers and everything in between. Now, that doesn’t mean some mistakes aren’t worse than others. I mean, if a surgeon cuts off the wrong leg…Oops, isn’t the appropriate thing to say.
Thank goodness I'm a writer, because lately, I have made some doozies. From using the wrong link in an advertisement to forgetting to reduce the price of a book in time for a sale, and the most recent, loading up the wrong files in Amazon and not realizing until after several big sales. Over a month later. (Thank you to Amazon for pushing out the new files via email.)
Did those mistakes kill me? No. Did I lose a bunch of readers? I hope not. They haven’t left any horrible reviews yet, that’s a good sign. Was I crushed when I realized the mistake? Hell yeah!!
I thought I had ruined my piddly writing career. Until I talked to several (100's via a writing group) of other authors and found that many have made the same mistake, if not worse.
Throughout your writing career, you will make many mistakes. And it will suck. I cried a lot over mine. I almost wanted to quit writing. But I would have obsessed about the failure and not fixing it, so I fixed it. Tweeted about it and posted about it on my LinkedIn account. Made jokes about it. And got over it. I mean, what the hell else am I going to do?
I love to write. It is the one thing I actually think I’m good at and enjoy more than I probably should.
I couldn’t just walk away.
So here are my thoughts on what you can do to minimize the fallout from a big blunder. In my case, a massive publishing blunder.
1. Apologize to your readers. (Or whoever the mistake affected.) I put up the wrong files on Amazon. Not just on one book, on all my books. I placed an apology with an update and what actions I was taking to remedy the mistake on all my social media outlets. It was embarrassing, and I felt stupid. However, anyone who bought my book over the last month deserved an explanation. Whatever you do, don’t just ignore it.
2. Fix the mistake. However, you can, whatever you need to do, fix the mistake.
3. Keep your readers updated. Let your followers know what’s being done, and how long before it will be fixed.
4. Once a solution or remedy has been put into place, let everyone know. I put a post on FB, then I boosted the post. I also ran a three-day ad on Twitter to get the word out. I just wanted as many people as possible to know about what I was doing to fix the issue at hand.
5. Let it go and move on. This is the most crucial part of moving forward from any mistake. If you let it consume you, you will drown in it.
Putting what you write out, there is damn scary.
The fear that I will make another huge mistake and look like an idiot in front of millions makes me want to tuck tail and run. Yet at the end of the day, this is what I want to do. It’s what I love doing.
The next time you make a blunder, mistake, or think you have caused a major catastrophe (which chances are, it’s only a catastrophe to you) fix it. Then move on.
You’re not perfect. You will not find every misspelled word in your book. You’re human, you will miss something.
Quit beating yourself up and write another story.
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