So, you broke that number one rule: never open a finished book. Or worse: your client is upset about a lingering error. Relax. Take a breath. No one is perfect. A .950 save percentage is about the best any individual editor could ever hope for. Perfection is not the realm of humans. (Read about the scientific studies that support this.)
Editors, keep your perfectionism and obsessive tendencies in check. To err is human. For most materials, the goal of perfection is a perfect waste of time. The audience will understand it despite the possible annoyance of the occasional minor error.
Good enough will do just fine. There are other things that need your attention. Like chocolate, wine, and purring kittens. Those are the items that will be handed out at each meeting of the support group I now propose. You can join this group if you edit any of these kinds of materials:
- medical (any related to procedures or diagnoses)
- anything with dangerous substances or procedures
- pharmaceutical support materials
- instructions or guidelines related to structural engineering
Editors of such materials may actually have lives on the line. That group of editors might like to read last week’s post about mitigating risk: accept, assign, assume, or reject.
The rest of you: relax. The world will not crumble because you missed that mistake. You are human. Now, convincing your client of this is another matter entirely. But I’d start by explaining the scientifically supported limits of human perfection. And perhaps the project management triangle of good, fast, or cheap. Along with assurances that you’ve added this mistake to your checklist of final checks, as I know you already have—and a reminder that to forgive is divine.