Friday, December 03, 2010

The Next Worry: Printing Mistakes


I just sent off the galleys for My Unfair Godmother--which basically means I will not see that manuscript again until it shows up on my doorstep as a hardback novel. You would think my worries about the book would be over.

But alas, no. Because now I get to worry about printing mistakes.

This deep-seated worry probably had its origins back when I worked in a bookstore. We got a shipment of Bill Cosby's book Fatherhood and proudly set them up in a display case. Not long afterward, a customer came up and showed me one of the books. It was completely full of blank pages. The customer wanted to know if it was supposed to be some sort of gag book--as in, this is all I know about fatherhood--nothing.

Nope. It was just a printing error.

That would be a bad mistake, but there are much worse.

Take for example Penguin's recent mistake in a cook book where instead of calling for freshly ground black pepper, the recipe instructed cooks to add freshly ground black people to the dish.

As you can imagine, this caused a costly recall and reprinting of books.

Although at least if you get that sort of mistake, people will understand it was a typo.

But take Anne McCaffrey's collection of short stories called Get of the Unicorn (as in, offspring of the unicorn). The publisher misspelled the title, calling it: Get off the Unicorn. They never fixed it, and a generation of readers has read it wondering: Was someone on a unicorn? And why were they supposed to get off?

Still, it probably is good advice. If you're on a unicorn, get off!

Here's crossing my fingers that there won't be any embarrassing printing mistakes in My Unfair Godmother . . .

14 comments:

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Oh man, that is hillarious and yet oh so sad for the authors. I've seen typos in some of the books I've read before but nothing that huge. Crazy.

Botterfly Girl said...

I can't imagine the cook book error, its pretty hillarious though. This might sound naive but how can there be so many errors when it is peoples JOBS to make sure that doesn't happen.

Janette Rallison said...

There's nothing quite as certain as human error . . .

Shari said...

My children are totally laughing out loud. That is beyond hilarious.

One thing that could be good about printing mistakes--no one will every forget you. You will live forever in infamy as the author who wrote My Fairy Godfather.

Annette Lyon said...

Hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em.

Today at a signing a customer discovered 10 pages UPSIDE DOWN in my cookbook. Yeah. That was fun.

And there's an entire WRONG sentence added to the beginning of one recipe. It wasn't in MY version. I don't know what typesetter idiot added it. GRRR.

Here's hoping your books is perfection!

Janette Rallison said...

Oh Annette--ouch! As I was looking at the galleys I wondered where some of the words came from. They weren't there in the copy edited version. It's a very odd thing.

Kami said...

Is the phrase, "Deep seated?" I always thought it was "Deep Seeded," as in...you're looking at a seed that has been planted deep into the ground. Now my world has been turned upside-down! I was so wrong! I bring shame and dishonor to my family. :(

Small Review said...

Oh no! I can't believe no one noticed an entirely blank book until it was in bookstores!

I bought a book once that had about twenty pages of a completely different book stuck in the middle of the story I purchased.

Here's hoping everything goes well with your book. I'm really looking forward to reading it. The first was hilarious!

Janette Rallison said...

If it makes you feel any better, I left the hyphon out of deep-seated. (Note to self, go change that.) I'm constantly leaving hyphons out, to the point that most hyphons no longer speak to me.

I did the same thing with moot point. I always thought it was mute point--which actually makes more sense. I mean, when do we ever use the word 'moot'? How many people know what a moot is? (A hypothetical case argued by law students as an exercise.)

I think mute works better.

Stacey said...

Wow. I can't WAIT for it's release! SO excited!

Oh and that pic is made with the program the company my husband works for makes. So awesome choice. ;)

Janette Rallison said...

hyphen . . .I meant hyphen.

See, this is why I"m never going to write an error free book . . .

And yeah, I thought the picture was a good representation of why you should get off the unicorn. You just know that unicorn is about to buck that fairy chick of his back.

Chillygator said...

I should show this to my mom. When we got copies of the book she helped edit, I was flipping through it, found an error, pointed it out and she started to cry.

Sara B. Larson said...

The worries just never end, do they? I can't wait to read it - hopefully mistake free!

Kimberly said...

I'll remember that advice...err...yes.

Fingers crossed for you!