Most of the time, these are minor things, and all you can do is inform the editor and let her make corrections. Occasionally, the typo is something that makes a significant change, but only once have I encountered a published typo in my own book that made me laugh out loud.
Let me first introduce you to the book. Here it is:
Mary of Cosmos is the fourth and final volume of a young adult series that I wrote over the last few years. The complete series looks like this:
It's a young adult, urban fantasy series about the increasingly epic and magical goings-on in a tiny Arkansas town. If you haven't checked it out, I would, of course, strongly advise you to give the first book a read. I don't think you'll regret it. But let's get on to the typo.
So Mary of Cosmos, as a concluding volume, has all kinds of super-significant character moments, as you might imagine. Well, there is one moment in particular that is kind of shocking and definitely intense, and the typo occurred right smack dab in the middle of that scene. Picture the scene: a girl lies on the ground, wounded, and a boy stands over her. They are surrounded by wreckage and ruin. Got it?
Okay, so here is the sentence the way it was supposed to read (and the way it reads now that the editor has corrected the typo):
Finally, she sighed, licked her lips, and turned her head to one side.
Now, don't forget, the girl is injured, she is in pain. It's a dramatic moment. Okay, here is the way the sentence read with the typo:
Finally, he sighed, licked her lips, and turned her head to one side.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that one tiny difference changes the scene dramatically. When I discovered it, I managed to laugh out loud while being incredibly irritated at the same time. Fortunately, when I told my editor about it, she made a change to the manuscript right away. However, I think this typo is now my all-time favorite.