Invariably, whenever I get into a discussion with someone who has some basic handle on what it is I do for a living (and if they can say this, they’re ahead of 99 percent of the general populace … including me), the topic turns to my website and how many errors it has and how ugly it is and how awful in general it is, the implication being, I’m involved in a complete train wreck.
I usually try not to laugh, and most of the time, I’m even successful.
The truth is, grimy works. Sure, people want quality. They also want things cheap (or free), and they want lots and lots of it. Sometimes, it becomes an excercise in impossibility to get all of those things accomplished. And so guess what hits the scrap heap? It sure as hell isn’t the price point or the quantity (because those are the basics of the business model).
This is the reality of the news business on the Internet. I’d go so far as to suggest it’s the future of the news business in any medium, period. But regardless, it implies a simple, basic truth: Messy works.
For this reason, above most others, I have few qualms with sending out Eyeblack Odyssey as is and letting the market decide what it wants to think about it.
Of course, I wanted to get it right. I edited the thing to an obscene degree (this is not as much fun as it sounds, and it sounds about as fun as being a KU football fan), and I worry constantly about someone coming up to me and saying, “You know that part in the book you got hideously wrong?” and me breaking out in a cold sweat. But on the other hand, you’ve got to call the thing done at some point, errors and all.
On some level, this works for me beautifully. For most of my adult life, I’ve been a bit sloppy in my approach to any work, and it’s just the kind of thing fits. When I was young, I would spend long periods of time working on all of my assignments in school, so much so that I ended up with more homework than anyone else.
This sucked. I figured out that it sucked, so I stopped seeking perfection. Lesson learned. Nice and tidy (except when it’s messy … um, yeah).
So I like the idea of my book being flawed. I embrace it. I still worry I got something so fundamentally wrong that it will brand me as an even bigger dork than I already know that I am, but this fear is reserved for the big stuff. The spelling errors? Some of the other basic editing? Meh.
You’ve gotta let it ride if you’re ever gonna get anywhere.
I’m letting it ride, and I hope you enjoy.