My lovely wife, Habiba, is not only beautiful, but is also a great editor, who, luckily, catches most of the errors I make while writing our books, websites and blog.
Some errors, like mistakes in spelling, grammar and punctuation, are just embarrassing. Others like errors in information can be worse.
An example that comes to mind, is an entry on website dealing with the Caneel Bay Resort, in which I gave an 800 number to call for visitor’s information. I transposed some digits and instead of Caneel Bay, the called found themselves calling a pornographic phone line. The error stood uncorrected until one day I received an angry call from someone at Caneel, who seemed to imply that I did this on purpose. I didn’t. I promise.
But with electronic media the fix is rather simple, just download the document, fix the error and upload the corrected version, that’s it – done.
With books, however, once committed to print, that’s it. You are stuck with it.
Again, some mistakes are worse than others. In an older edition of St. John Off the Beaten Track, right on the cover were the words, “Forward by Guy Benjamin,” erroneously using the word “Forward” instead of the correct word “Foreword.”
Embarrassing as it was, I let it stand, 5,000 copies and never a mention from a reader.
Now with the latest edition there, was a more serious error. On page 97, I give the wrong phone number to call for information for the Reef Bay Hike, by far the most popular activity offered by the National Park on St. John. The phone number, it turns out, belongs to a private St. John resident, who, understandably begins to be harassed by callers asking about the Reef Bay Hike.
The resident then call the National Park to complain and they in turn call me. And that was how I learned of the typo – printed in 10,000 books.
So today, like many other days, we have an additional task in our Ma and Pa publishing business, opening up cartons of books, taking them out, one by one, opening them to page 97, pasting on a little sticker with the corrected information, putting the books back in the carton, sealing up the box once again and marking a little star on the box, to show that its been corrected.