On publishing mistakes and errors

By November 29, 2013 Uncategorized No Comments

I’m not sure which part of the report that Sir Alex Ferguson’s book is riddled with factual errors strikes me as the most pertinent in these times: that no one has had the courage or time to check and challenge the ruddy faced, gum-chewing managerial genius’s rather impressionistic recollections; or that none of this has stopped the book selling like a freight train on the route to publisher bonus-land. (*Shameless advertising alert* Footballing loving proof readers are available at whitefox for the paperback.)

This year has also seen 40 pages of the autobiography from national treasure and falling through a bar expert David Jason finding their way into the latest bridget Jones. But then those of us who only just survived Franzen-gate and the pulping of the first print-run of the so-called ‘book-of-the-century’ (FREEDOM, where the printer used the files from the uncorrected proof), will remember that we lost count of the number of fellow publishers who made contact to commiserate and say, in effect, “there but for the grace of god…” Inside a large trade publishing house, you can see how it happens. From the outside, it looks less forgivable and more potentially damaging to what would be perceived as the traditional value-add of a publishing process.

Interesting, therefore, to observe David Young back at the helm of a UK publisher talking again about the value of editing and illustrating how a published book needs to differentiate that it has gone through a professional editing process.

We could hardly have put it better ourselves.

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