Monday, May 16, 2016

Joe Name Myth

Many authors have written acclaimed novels under pen names. J.K. Rowling has Robert Galbraith; Stephen King had Richard Bachman. My former boss, Joseph R. Provey, had Joesph R. Provey. OK, OK — his nom de plume was more pseudo name than pseudonym.

Today’s error — it’s a doozy — is from a book I worked on years ago. I’m not to blame. I swear. The publisher, who shall remain nameless, was at fault.

The final proofs sent to the publisher listed four people on the title page: Joseph R. Provey and three contributing writers. All four names were spelled correctly. Let me reiterate: All four names were spelled correctly. The publisher decided it wanted only one author listed on the title page. Instead of deleting the three names below Provey’s, however, the publisher deleted all four and reinserted Provey — sort of. The misspelling rivaled in its outlandishness the full-length fur coats once worn on the sidelines by another Joe, former New York Jets quarterback Namath. 

First printing: Oh, no!

When the advanced copies arrived at our Connecticut office, it took me about six milliseconds to realize this was not your average Joe, but it was already too late; the error couldn’t be fixed until the second printing. I deemed it “an author I can’t refuse.”

Somewhere out there, 14,999 other copies of 1001 Ideas for Kitchen Organization exist written by a mysterious Joesph R. Provey.

Second printing: Much better!

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