Monday, July 23, 2012

Moving Foreword

I had dreamed since I was very young that one day I would be a published author. While walking through a bookstore, I’d imagine my own book sitting on the shelf for people to find and pluck from the rows of stories to take home with them and curl up with a cup of tea and read. I am so happy to say that that youthful dream has finally come true. The Girl with Hair like the Sun, would be that book. It is the young adult novelization of my mother’s experience working in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. When I held my first paperback copy in my hand, my heart swelled and my eyes filled - I’ve never felt so much joy.

Preparing a manuscript for publication is no easy task. I had a wonderful staff, and I was in constant contact with my editors. I had several volunteers read the manuscript, and they were quite helpful in finding those pesky typos that kept cropping up. At one point, I became so obsessed with finding typos, that I started to lose sleep worrying about it.

A dear friend of mine called to remind me that people, even editors, are not machines, and that a few typos may still be missed but that I shouldn’t worry about it to the point where I’m losing sleep. I agreed with this philosophy and eventually relaxed. To lighten the subject, I said, “Wouldn’t it be just my luck, that after all the sleep I lost trying to find typos, that the first word on the first page of my first book would turn out to be spelled wrong.” We had ourselves a bit of a chuckle, because we knew such a silly thing absolutely could not happen.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you that I am probably the only author in existence whose first word on the first page of the first book she’s ever had published was spelled incorrectly.

Yes, it actually happened. In the midst of my utter joy, I got a phone call with the news. On page 1, where the Foreword begins, the word Foreword was spelled Forward. The Toccata in D minor played in my head as the blood drained to my feet, and the panic set in.

We had already sent the book to book reviewers, and I feared they would dig my grave as a writer when they peeled back the first page and was met with probably the most hideous typo in the history of literature. The first thing I did, was contact the gentlemen who brilliantly wrote the actual foreword, Koji Stephen Sakai, and apologized to him from the bottom of my heart. His response was gentle and kind, and it put me at ease immediately. Then I called my cousin Marilyn, who became the ultimate tranquilizer in my state of hysteria. Her encouraging words and humorous outlook over the entire situation put a smile back on my face. She reminded me that the importance of my mother’s story is still intact, and that anyone who reads it would quickly forgive that glaring gaff.

Ed Goldman, who writes for the Sacramento Business Journal, was the first to review the book, I am happy to say that he wrote a glowing review, and he was respectful not to mention the typo. I wrote him an e-mail and thanked him for that, and he responded, “I thought it best to keep moving foreword.”

Though my fears of ridicule are still abound, Ed is correct, it is best to just move forward. The excitement over my first publication has returned, and I now enjoy the teasing I am receiving from dear friends. There truly is no one to blame in the situation, nor did I look for someone to point the finger.
Things like this just happened as we ride this wonderful roller coaster we call life.
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See the typo for yourself!
(10/21/12) We have sold out of the first printing, so click on 

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