#40–The perfect edition––finally . . .

When Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges went to press last April, it had no mistakes as far as we were concerned. So the three of us in the photo here were signing our “perfect” book.

Judy Fleagle author, Bob Serra publisher, & Dick Smith researcher.

As an editor, I know there is no such thing as perfect. And before the end of the first month, I was proved right, as a mistake was brought to our attention. On page 187 the name and length info of the top bridge on the illustration had been cut off. Since our first printing of 500 was sold out within a couple of months, we were able to correct it on the second printing that came out in June.

As soon as we ordered 1,000 of the second edition in mid-May, I started finding little mistakes. And some were pointed out to me. We also felt we needed to add the names of bridges in a couple of instances. So the third edition will––finally––be perfect or as close as we can get. Since we were making several changes on this printing, we decided to update the back cover also by changing out one endorsement, as well as the heading, since the 75th anniversary was last year.

For those of you who have a copy of Crossings, you can check the mistakes out for yourselves and see how easily some of them escaped notice:

Page 17––Second column, fifth line from the bottom, the quote marks were moved a fraction of inch and turned the other way around the word “And  . . . I know, I know. It’s a nit-picky editor thing, but every time I read that page it bothered me.

Page 78––Second column, bottom line, first word. Change piers to piling. Marine worms eat wooden piling—not concrete piers. Duh! But I didn’t see it until last fall.

Page 82––Third full paragraph, second sentence. Change tied arch to through arch. This was within a quote by Robert Cortright, renowned bridge photographer, who brought it to my attention as a change he had made in a subsequent printing of his book. So we have done likewise.

Page 89—When the Umpqua River Bridge swings into the open position, the book said that the real stopper for traffic is the four-foot barrier that rises into place on each end of the bridge. And that’s what I read in my research in more than one place and thought I verified it by talking to Reedsport folks. Well, when I was there and standing only a few feet from the end of the bridge, that didn’t happen. A foot-square metal barrier swung across the road on each end—also very effective. So I asked the ODOT worker who was there about it, and he didn’t know. So the book had to change .

Page 93––First column, first line under subtitle The work. Change cement to concrete. Another Duh! situation. I went through the entire manuscript again and again to make sure I had these two easily mixed up words in their correct places. Didn’t see it until last December when I was reading this section to my mom.

Page 170––Just a few days after we had submitted the order for 1,000 more books, Walt Fossek called to say that he had been thinking about his quote and thought he had made a mistake in saying that the plane was moving with a 40 mile-per-hour wind. It should have read against the wind. So I made a note of it and started a folder titled Mistakes.

Page 222––About a week after Walt’s call, I learned once again never to assume. I worked with Candice Stich, not Candace Stitch, and she was my main contact at ODOT the entire time I worked on the book. So since I “knew” how to spell her name, it’s the only one I didn’t check and double check. And to make matters worse, her young son discovered the double mistake. “Why is your name spelled wrong, Mom?” Good question!

Seeing all these mistakes grouped together is very humbling.

On the bridge names, we’ve added “the Yaquina Bay Bridge” to the caption under the photo on page 36. I was showing the book to someone in California, who had no clue which bridge it was. That’s when I knew we needed to add its name.

And on page 33, the book refers to two movable McCullough bridges on the northern end of the coast highway near Warrenton and Astoria built in the early 1920s, but they weren’t named. When I was in Astoria at the Astoria Column a few weeks ago, I looked down on them, and then had a chance to drive over each of them. Neither bridge is still on the highway most used by people going into Astoria. When the new Youngs Bay Bridge was built, a new section of highway was built. When I told Dick that they were mentioned in the book but not named. He suggested that we add the names. They are the Old Youngs Bay Bridge and the Lewis and Clark River Bridge––both bascule bridges.

Speaking of mistakes, while Bob and Dick and I were meeting last Tuesday to approve all these changes, we checked out some info online regarding Crossings. We discovered, much to our surprise, that I would be doing a presentation that evening, February 28, at the library in Coos Bay.

I had it down as March 29 on my calendar and in my blog. So I called when I got home and was relieved to hear that The World, the Coos Bay daily paper, had made a mistake. In fact, it was their second mistake involving this presentation. A few days earlier they had done the same thing with February 23 as the date.

The library had to call and ask for a correction both times. So by the time it’s listed correctly as March 29, people will say, “Finally!” or “At last!”  Or if they subscribe to the little-boy-who-cried-wolf theory, they’ll know better than to believe it. It’ll be interesting to see how many show up.

Mistakes happen; they’re part of life. But we’ve done everything we can to delete them from our third edition, which is being sent to the printer today (Friday). In just a few weeks, we’ll be receiving 1,000 copies of our as-near-perfect-as-we-can-get third edition of Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges. It’s very exciting!

**

Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $3.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or pacpub@oregonfast.net. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; and in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society.

***

Judy’s PowerPoint presentation with book sales/signings:

March 29, Thursday, 7 p.m.––Coos Bay Public Library, Coos Bay (525 Anderson Avenue) This really is the actual date despite what was printed in the Coos Bay paper.

Judy guest on TV show:

March 13, Tuesday, 2:30––The Author’s Forum, a talk show with host Dr. Veronica Esagui, chiropractic physician, author, and public speaker, on Portland area public access television (channel TBA)

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About crossingsauthor

Freelance writer/editor and author of Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, and Around Florence. Spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.
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3 Responses to #40–The perfect edition––finally . . .

  1. Evelyn Leach says:

    Being in the editing business myself, why is it the mistakes quite cleverly hide until they’re in print, then they leap out as ten-foot monsters? Like you said, Judy, it’s called “life.” Let the first person who’s never made a mistake step up and show themself!

    The book is still the most comprehensive, exciting read I’ve seen on the splendid McCullough bridges. You have nothing to apologize for, my friend. 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comments! Yes, it is tedious. Even with all of our changes, I’m sure someone will spot something else. That’s just the way it is. But for the moment, we will think of it as the edition with no errors.

  3. Carolyn Parker says:

    Judy, I loved reading your comments re on-going editing! I know, I know….those backwards quotation marks are the peskiest to notice! After so many proof-reading hours, days, weeks….our eyes play tricks on us! Great of you to acknowledge what a tedious job it is to Get It Right….or at least attempt to!

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