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When Your Favorite Blogger Blows It

embarrassed bloggerLast week I made a mistake that I tend to make fairly often. Instead of typing y o u ‘ r e I typed y o u r. Or maybe it was the other way around.

Of course, I did this in a post now properly titled 7 Signs You’re Really A Professional Writer. Then I sent out the newsletter with the mistake replicated.

It was the newsletter that caught people’s attention. That’s a good thing, I suppose. After all, catching your attention is the point of sending it. The goal, of course, is to get you to the site to read the articles, buy the ebooks, join the forum and click on an ad or two. That’s how I get paid.

I got a fair number of emails over that error. Most were cordial and made it clear they didn’t consider themselves error free. I think I replied to them all saying something like thanks.

I did point out to one I couldn’t call the newsletter back and to send a second one trying to ‘fix’ the error smacked of spam

One pointed to what they considered another error – I disagreed and cited my source.
Another pointed to my use of the informal who instead of the more correct whom when I tweet and say in the newsletter, who can I help and made it clear they don’t approve of informalisms like that.

But it seemed to me that the vast majority just didn’t want me to have too much egg on my face.

Although when I blow it and get an email pointed that out my first response is… well, less than kind, for the most part I appreciate your concern. Heck, I appreciate it all. I wouldn’t keep doing this if I didn’t.

What do you do when a blogger blows it?


Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Tony Crider

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Just now getting around to reading some old posts!

    I honestly didn’t notice. I’m sure my blog is not error-free; if I went back and read everything I’m sure I’d find a bunch. Don’t take it to heart. 🙂

    As for nasty commenters, let’s see YOU write a blog as informative as this one with no mistakes ever, or at all for that matter! 😛
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Favorite Movies to Watch at ChristmasMy Profile

  • jorgekafkazar

    “As far as I’m concerned, whom is a word that was invented to make everyone sound like a butler.” — novelist Calvin Trillin

  • Dear Anne,

    regarding informality, it must be remembered that there is a wide range of registers, so to speak, of a writing voice. What matters, really, is that the register you use, how formal or informal it is, how elevated or demotic or not, and so on, should be appropriate to the situation that you, the writer, use. So if an informal voice is needed, as it is with most blogs, and many newsletters, then use it.

    A skilled writer uses a palette of voices and registers; it is one of their marks. And we can see this clearly in writers like Tolkien and Shakespeare, both writers I and others admire and see as consummate stylists. And it’s a skill I’d love to pull off myself, as well.

    So please, Anne, don’t let them browbeat you about being informal. If it’s right for you and your situation, use it!


    Phillip A. Ellis recently posted..ApologiesMy Profile

    • Anne

      Thanks Phillip… and I won’t let them browbeat me into changing my voice here, but I am willing to learn and grow.

  • Anne, I read a story once about a group of editors who were determined to publish a book that was error-free. They worked and worked and worked on it for months. Then they published. There was a typo on page 6.

    Nobody likes mistakes, but they happen. I’m sorry that the nitpickers were so rude to you.
    Jodi Kaplan recently posted..How to Increase Your Email Conversion RatesMy Profile

    • Anne

      Jodi, the first book I ghostwrote arrived from the publisher just in time for the launch party later that day. On the spine, under the paper cover, the author’s name was spelled wrong, and I knew how careful that publisher was. As you say, it happens.

  • Anne! Everyone “blows it” sometimes, that’s no excuse for people to mean or nasty about it, that’s worse than the biggest grammatical error anyone can make. Just so you know, you’re awesome. 🙂
    Ahlam recently posted..“The Art of Influence” – Chris WidenerMy Profile

  • David

    I assumed that someone in your network would call you out on the type, Anne, but I also assumed that you noticed it yourself after you sent them out, pounded your forehead with your front palm once, and let it go.

    As far as the informal voice is concerned: there’s a monumental difference between effective writing and proper grammar. it does help to know the difference, but usually those who have a problem with objective pronouns are also the sorts of people who look at writers like William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Hubert Selby, Dave Eggers, and a whole slew of other folks who blatantly break grammatical rules as unskilled hacks. I disagree with them, and, for the most part, so do the Pulitzer and Nobel committees.

    • Anne

      David, love being linked with Pulitzer and Nobel 😉 And yeah, I did some forehead pounding.

  • I noticed it and the copy editor in me cringed a bit, but I cringed even more when I saw the barrage of nastiness about the error. I’m sure none of them have ever made a mistake and wound up with a little egg on their face. I’m actually impressed that you left those comments up.

    I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes, even on my own blog. I proofread, but I know from being an editor that catching your own mistakes is the hardest thing to do. Plus, I used to work in a pharmacy and this was something that was constantly drilled into us. Someone else must always check your work. A misplaced decimal point can kill. A goofed apostrophe on a blog is never going to kill anyone, right? Blogs are where we let our hair down.
    Amelia Ramstead recently posted..Finding Time for the Fun StuffMy Profile

    • Anne

      Thank Amelia… another truth about that post is I was tired, rushed and hindsight would say I should have saved it until I either felt better or had a bit more time to reread it… or both. But I didn’t so there it is.

  • I noticed it, but by the time I had a spare minute to send a polite alert, others had also rudely done so in the comments. Everyone makes mistakes. That’s why blog posts have an “edit” button.

    And someone complaining about informality? I think the majority of professional writing is informal, these days.

  • ferrel

    This post makes me smile. People will always notice one’s mistakes first.

    This mistake reminds me of a “test program” sent to my client and other subscribers of the auction site I was maintaining as part of my job. Good thing most of them are light-hearted.

  • Seriously? One tiny typo out of how many words? I can’t say I didn’t notice but chalked it up to humanity. I know. Gasp. Plus, I figured there would be plenty others who couldn’t resist pointing it out.
    Carrie Schmeck recently posted..Six (Productive) Things to Do When the Internet is DownMy Profile

    • Anne

      Thanks Carrie… people just amaze me.

  • I can’t help noticing typos but I don’t read more into it than that, Anne. I drop the occasional clanger and am happy to get an email pointing it out so I can fix it. If I notice an error that changes the sense of a post (say, the difference between now and not) and it’s important enough, then I’ll point it out to the blogger privately.

    • Anne

      Thanks Sharon… appreciate it.

  • Diana

    I am a writer as well and i am not really that excellent when it comes to writing. A small typo error is understandable, i guess, although there are situations when a simple typo can make you sound racist. There are also people who can’t stand a small imperfection.
    Diana recently posted..Jigsaw Uses simPRO to Solve Business PuzzleMy Profile

    • Anne

      Yeah, Diana, typos drive some people mad it seems.

  • Christoph Trappe

    Tell folks who pointed it out thanks, fix it and move on.

    No second newsletter to fix the typo, though, please.
    Christoph Trappe recently posted..The news in 20 yearsMy Profile

    • Anne

      Exactly what I did Chrisoph…glad to know you agree re second newsletters… it’s bad enough when I have to send a second round because a link is off or something.

  • Stuff happens. Mistakes are made. The world still spins despite it all. Go figure! LOL

    I agree with Allena – you’re my fave, too. And I know you, Anne. You’re an informal gal with a big heart. As Melody said, it’s not as though this blog is a big, expensive ad that many people have pored over. It’s a blog. It’s informal. Mistakes happen because we don’t have copy editors looking over our shoulders.

    Hugs. What you have to say is valuable, with or without an apostrophe. 🙂
    Lori recently posted..Deep BreathsMy Profile

  • Blogging is a daily – or almost daily – event. You made a typo? So what? (I know you didn’t make a grammatical error. It was a quickie slip of the fingers or momentary lapse of thought.)

    What do I do when a blogger I like and admire makes a mistake? Well, I noticed your little glitch and I did nothing about it. Why should I? You know the difference between your and you’re. What would you or I gain by my pointing out a typo to you? Believe me, I am not so perfect that I need to point your – or anyone else’s – mistakes.

    But show me a typo in a multi-thousand dollar ad from a major image company and in an upscale magazine and then, yeah, I gloat a little. But that’s because many, many eyes have signed off on the ad. But to take a blogger to task, especially when I’m familiar with the blogger’s writing and know it to be relatively error-free, nah. We all make mistakes. No biggie.

    Keep writing, informing and enlightening us, Anne. Your posts are valuable and informative. And I, for one, will forgive the occasional error.

    Thanks and best regards,


    • Anne

      Melody, thanks… love the distinction and the understanding, truly.

  • you’re totally my fave blogger, btw! 🙂

    “made it clear they don’t approve of informalisms like that.”
    Why is that person reading blogs, then? Really, between FB, blogs, Twitter, 140 characters, etc, everything I read on screen is so, so, so tinged by informality.
    allena recently posted..I Want To Tell You About My StrawMy Profile

    • Anne

      Thanks Allena – sometimes I want to ask the nit-pickers if they don’t have something better to do with their time… but I usually refrain. 😉

  • When another blogger makes a mistake? I feel relieved that even the best make mistakes. And quasi-relieved that our fellow writers are looking out for us.

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