I started reading a story online today, but I didn’t make it past the first paragraph. The last sentence in that paragraph read in part, ‘walks on the beach in Southern Spain, hunting lions on the African planes…’ Perhaps the writer was referring to the Serengeti, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the image of tawny lions and khaki-clad hunters aboard a Boeing 777, thrashing about in the aisles of the plane.
That story brought to mind some similar work-related typos from long ago. When I was in my twenties, I worked for Southern Bell Telephone Co. in Jacksonville, Florida. Our offices were in the Jacobs Building, a modern high-rise downtown.
We didn’t have computers back then. No internet, no cell phones, no digital cameras. We had nice electric typewriters that were seated on a pull-out side section of our desks. Banks of file cabinets lined the perimeter of the huge rooms. If you wanted to look at a customer’s contract, you went to the files that housed the Florida city of his business and pulled the paper work.
During the advertising sales campaigns, salesmen traveled to the cities and helped the customer design his ad for the yellow pages of the phone directory. Then the mock-up ads were brought back to the office and fine-tuned until the big galley books were sent to the printer. Although there were checkers and editors, mistakes still slipped by. You could chalk it up to carelessness, new people on the job, or workers too sick or exhausted to notice.
One particular ad featured a used car lot run by a Mr. Frater. He called himself “Friendly Frater” and claimed his customers loved doing business with him. Unfortunately, when his half-page ad appeared in the phone book, it read, “Let Friendly Farter help you! You’ll be glad you did!”
An ad for a pool company depicted a big swimming pool with the words, “Drive right in!” instead of “Dive right in!” And a new restaurant with high-backed booths, art on the paneled walls, and potted palms in the dining area claimed to have “great food and unique décor.” The custom drawing of the restaurant’s interior was printed upside down, making the décor unique indeed.
As writers, we must be diligent. We must edit multiple times. We must have a friend or three read over our work to make sure it’s free of errors.
According to the Huffington Post, the typo that appeared in this book is one of the worst ever. I wouldn’t want to be that author!
Here’s the article:
Susan Andersen’s ‘Baby I’m Yours’ Typo: ‘He Shitted On The Ground’
If any of you bought the iBook edition of romance writer Susan Andersen’s latest corset-ripper, “Baby, I’m Yours,” delete it immediately! Olaf or Butch or whatever the hero’s name is will never seem the same once you read a certain coprophilic typo 300 pages in. Let Susan explain:
I wanted to give you all a head’s up on a killer typo in my digital edition of Baby, I’m Yours and apologize for page 293, where it says:
He stiffened for a moment but then she felt his muscles loosen as he shitted on the ground.
Shifted–he SHIFTED! God, I am so appalled, not to mention horrified that anyone would think that’s what I wrote. I’d really appreciate it if you would forward this to your romance reading friends just in case they bought the ebook, which is on sale for $2.99 at the moment so has likely been selling even better than usual (trust me, usually that’s a good thing). Please assure them that I’m on it and it will be fixed asap.
Did you get that? Susan Andersen is not, she repeats NOT, into the weird stuff. Expect some good old-fashioned stiffening and loosening shortly.
Poor Susan Andersen! I’d never be able to live that down!