November 26, 2018

Roxy Jacenko book pulped due to error; publishers worldwide break out in cold sweat



Roxy Jacenko: generating killer social media buzz. Photo by Eva Rinaldi licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Hot on the heels of our report about a batch of Super Mario-inspired poems printed with, ahem, extremely unexpected contents, it’s been another classic week for regrettable production errors. Falling unfortunately foul of the editorial process this week were Australian publisher Allen & Unwin.

Their first run of Aussie socialite and former Celebrity Apprentice star Roxy Jacenko‘s Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips and Tricks was printed with a quote from radio host Jackie O, declaiming that Jacenko:


‘Never fails to disappoint… this book is an easy, interesting read that people in a lot of professions (not just in PR) could learn something from’.


How nice! Wait, what?

As The Guardian reported this week, the first print run of Tips and Tricks subsequently had to be pulped – the mistake made it past six proof-readers at Allen & Unwin before a friend pointed it out. The publisher declined to specify how many books had been destroyed. (Suffice to say, we feel your pain, A&U.)

“It’s a fuck-up, but Jackie’s a friend… it certainly should have said ‘Roxy never fails to deliver,'” said Jacenko. We can sympathise: with a quote like that, you’re always flirting with disaster, as Hodder & Stoughton very nearly have with the latest Jodi Picoult novel, A Spark of Light.

On the cover, The Financial Times assures the reader it is ‘difficult to exaggerate how well Picoult writes’ …another one of those ‘compliments-that-could-so-easily-not-be-a-compliment’ statements. What’s with all the double negatives, guys? Why play with lexical fire like this?

Jacenko’s is a sorry tale, yet arguably one with a redemptive ending – after all, Roxy’s Little Black Book of Tips and Tricks promises readers the secrets of ‘generating killer social media buzz’. She’s certainly done that!





Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.