You might as well call me “James Wesley, Wrong”, since a printing error at E.P. Dutton resulted in several thousand copies of the First Edition, First Printing of Expatriates having the hardcover spines (underneath the dust jacket) emblazoned: “John Wesley, Rawles.“
Here is how the correct dust jacket spine looks:
And here is how the misprinted hardback spine (underneath the dust jacket) looks:
This error wasn’t discovered until Friday night (September 27th), when our family friend “Enola Gay” (the editor of the outstanding Paratus Familia blog) happened to look under the dust jacket of the copy that I’d given her.
The hardback edition will probably not be released as scheduled tomorrow (October 1st) because of the printing error. (The Kindle book and audio book editions were of course not affected and will be released as scheduled.)
A bit of background, and some related examples:
Over the years, I’ve received dozens of “John”-addressed e-mails, and I’ve seen many Internet references to my writings that mention “John Wesley Rawles.” This can be attributed to a subconscious connection to the famous Christian evangelist and hymn writer, John Wesley. So I find it perfectly understandable that this mistake was made. (I don’t suspect any foul play by Red Lectroids from Planet 10.) The staff at E.P. Dutton sent me the full dust jacket layout for approval, but I never saw the hard copy spine markings. I suppose this is the first time that a major publisher has made this sort of mistake. I certainly don’t want to see anyone lose their job over this.
This slip-up is reminiscent of the notorious destroyed Jonathan Franzen Freedom novels, in 2010. And in a way, this incident reminds me of a print error on the packaging of 100,000 Atlas Shrugged Part 1 DVDs, which had the back emblazoned: “Ayn Rand’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life…” This of course was 180 degrees out of sync with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, that focused on rational self-interest and rejected the concept of self-sacrifice. Those DVDs were recalled (at great expense), and the few that slipped out to the market are now collectible. This also brings to mind the famous US Postal Service’s recall of the 1994 Legends of the West postage stamp sheets, because they had an inaccurate depiction of the face of Bill Pickett. (To me, it looked like they slipped in a simulacrum of Billy Dee Williams!)
This printing error may not be quite as famous as the 1631 Bible typesetting error that inadvertently had Exodus 20:14 read: “Thou shalt commit adultery,” or the upside-down “Jenny” airplane print error postage stamp. But it certainly did give me a chuckle. And I suppose that it might make the 48 advance copies that I received worth more, in the long run. (However, I don’t expect a full blown Willy Wonka Bar golden ticket hunt, as book buyers look under the dust jackets to see if they’ve found an example with the spine printing error.)
Only one thing is certain: Book collectors will definitely be able to easily distinguish the print error “First Edition, First Printing” of Expatriates!
The hardback edition will only have a limited release tomorrow (October 1st, 2013) because of this printing error. A rush print order of revised books should be available within two weeks. The Kindle book and audio book editions were of course not affected, so their release will go on, as scheduled. I have not yet heard from the publisher whether they plan to destroy the misprinted books that they still have on hand, or re-cover them, or add an adhesive label to the spine with my correct given name.
I will post updates about how this will be rectified. Thanks for your patience.
Special Note to Brad Thor: Double check your next novel, to make sure that they don’t print “Brad Pitt” on the spine. – J.W.R.