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 . . .