The Ballad of Elton John (coda)

If you’ve been reading this blog (you have been reading it, right? Like, slavishly reading it?), you’ll know that my first book, Sicily, It’s Not Quite Tuscany, was released with the surprise addition of 20 or so unwanted typesetting glitches. (For those who don’t know about this minor saga, you can find more details here and in The Sydney Morning Herald, here.)

Anyway, I have some good news on the glitch. As of a few weeks ago, the book is into its reprint phase, or whatever the publishing lingo is for that. This is exciting for me on two fronts: first, because it means a few people somewhere must be buying the book (thanks, Mum); second, because it means the unwanted glitch is now a thing of the past.

Yes, the new reprints are corrected copies. So, as you can see from these images, Elton John no longer appears as the not-quite-as-snappy-sounding Elton JoÚ, an attack of prudisÚess suffered by one of our friends in Catania is now an attack of prudishness, and dougÚut has been restored to doughnut. (If I’d used the American spelling in the first place, I’d have been fine with that one.)

There’s a corollary to all this. If you were one of the people who bought the original, erroneous version, you may well be sitting on a piece of publishing history. Think of how much this rare first edition might fetch in a few years! Okay, it’s not quite the 8th-century Book of Kells where, at Luke 3:23, the text accidentally gives Jesus an extra ancestor. But still!

It gets even better if your copy came with one of the original erratum slips (which you can see sticking out of the book in this photo of a Brisbane shop window, below). As for those very smart people who attended one of my launches and asked me to sign not just the book but the erratum slip itself, well my friends, what you have in your hot little hands should be treasured like one of Willy Wonka’s Golden Tickets. (Or a Woolies docket offering 4 cents off the price of fuel.)

2 thoughts on “The Ballad of Elton John (coda)

  1. Hi Shamus, I just finished reading your book and just had to contact you and say I LOVED it! I am heading to Sicily next week to attend a friends wedding at the Masseria Susafa, just south of Palermo. Although most of your book had me in laughter and giggles at the chaos and grubbiness of the island, i wanted to say that the book has not made me cancel the trip! I will certainly recommend your book to the many Aussie wedding guests attending the piss up, I mean wedding next week! Congrat’s on your first novel : and I hope you have finished that big Roman History paper thingo u were meant to write! Dont forget to say hi to Gill, and I will watch out for your next book! from Nicole xxxxxx (PS: I purchased your book at a site i frequent :

  2. Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for reading the book. Glad you enjoyed it! The Masseria Susafa looks fantastic – it’s not far from Polizzi Generosa, a great little town where we stopped one time on our way from Catania to Cefalù. Hope you have fun at the wedding – do raise a limoncello to the happy couple for me. A few limoncellos, by the sounds of things!

    (Or should that be limoncelli?)


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