How Do You Tell a Bestselling Author There’s a Typo in His Book?

Here’s how I did it

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.— Dr. Seuss

I’m a writer and I like to read books.

The problem is that every one I sit down to read has a typo. This is so true that I can’t open a book lately without first reaching for a pen and a highlighter. As I read the book I may as well note the typos. I’ll decide what to do about it later. I’m a connoisseur, not a pundit.

Writers are friends I treasure. Oftentimes I’m asked to be in a beta reader group or launch team and I can’t accept them all, but I like to help when I can and am accustomed with the process of reading and giving feedback on books.

It is not an exaggeration to say:

Every book I’ve picked up recently has a typo in it.

I am surprised, shocked even, to find a typo in a book I am reading by a NY Times bestselling author. Immediately my heart broke for him. This is someone I respect a lot.

Jeff Goins, Jon Acuff, and Tim Grahl emails have graced my inboxes since each was early in his platform development. I believe in them so much that I’ve applied to be on more than one of their teams. Social media and marketing are my jam and if he is ready to hire someone I’m ready to be onboard.

Will mentioning a typo ruin my chances?

If you are on their lists too we’ve gotten to know them so well that we feel like they are friends who drop notes into our inboxes. We know who they are, what they stand for, and relate with their families, their hobbies, their favorite snacks, their causes, even their personalities. We like who they are and what they stand for.

What do you do when one of them has a typo in his book?

Do you tell him?

When I found this typo I felt sick. At first, I question what I am seeing. I want to be wrong.

Please, Dear God, let me be wrong.

I quietly ask a couple of other people if what I am seeing is correct. They all agree.

The next questions:

  • Do I tell him?
  • Would you want to know?

All the answers are the same.


And, then they ask me…

Wouldn’t you want to know if there was a typo in your book?

Yes, but probably not if I had just finished it. I’d want to relish in the joy of being done for a while.

Thoughts swirl like a clogged drain.

Do I want to know or do I just want to enjoy being done?

It takes time to process the trouble of knowing there’s a mistake:

  • What if there’s a re-run?
  • How difficult will it be to fix the error?
  • Is it worth the effort?

Finally, I decide that I want to make notes to improve a revision, especially if there’s a second run, at least if it’s my book.

Maybe he already knows. Someone already told him and he probably bought this run to give away as promotional material. He can write off his expenses as Marketing.

I would want to know; wouldn’t you?

Will he still find me likeable?

My hands shake as I drop a picture into his inbox. He’s busy and I don’t want to bother him unnecessarily. There’s no evaluation or judgment. Just a simple note:

Looks like there might be a typo right here.

It’s not about the error.

It’s about what happens next.

It inspired me to go after my goals with gusto.

There are takeaways for every writer if you keep reading.

I’m not a bestselling author

Glad we got that out of the way.

I’m not one either.

But, you want to be one; right?

I’ll bet you even follow people closely that you revere as though he/she is a bestselling author. You connect with him on a regular basis because they have insight and knowledge that you are hopeful to learn. They inspire you.


That’s why this matters.


Writing a book is hard work. The gutwrenching work is done during the travel from the origin of the idea to destination done. It’s easy to get started and so many dreams lay under the dust at the start line or a short distance away from it. The start-up is easy. It’s getting to “done” that’s hard.

Changes can be made along the way. And, they’re especially easy in digital form. They are time-consuming and frustrating, but changes can be made with relative ease in comparison to print versions.

Print versions are much more difficult. These guys are a success because they’ve walked the road many of the rest of us want to travel.

That’s why he is an inspiration.

What if he would never have published because it wasn’t perfect?


Dreams get ground into the dust of perfectionism.

Does this happen to you too often?

I’m committing to personal growth in this area and I want you to come alongside so we can encourage each other.

Perfectionism kills the spirit and prevents you from completing the book, the course, the next step.

Perfectionism isn’t healthy.

It kills your productivity.

Claim a better you by dropping the junk food of perfect. Its weight is too heavy and can be swapped out for something more fruitful.

Wrapping it up

Today I want you to be healthier at accomplishing your goals.

Make your mission about being one step closer to done.

Share the success of your personal growth and the story of how you overcame perfectionism to get done.

Take a step toward your goal today. Not tomorrow. Do it today. Do it right now.

Share your success story with Publishous and PublishousNOW .

Give yourself the gift of one step closer to done.

See what we’re about and get started today so you can get done tomorrow.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by +396,714 people.

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