Friday, June 12, 2009

Tom Lehrer award for today
goes to Aachanon Publishing

Tom Lehrer is one of my literary gods.

Tom claims he “went from adolescence to senility, trying to bypass maturity.” He graduated from Harvard Magna Cum Laude at age 18 and made Phi Beta Kappa. He taught at MIT, Harvard, Wellesley and the University of California, but is best known for hilarious songwriting, much of it political satire in the 1950s and 60s. His musical career was powerful but brief. He said he performed a mere 109 shows and wrote only 37 songs over 20 years. Britain’s Princess Margaret was a fan, and so am I. I can still sing Tom Lehrer lyrics I first heard in seventh grade. See

In 1960 Tom wrote and sang, "Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell." That warning also applies to non-naughty words, and books, and signs, and websites.

It particularly applies to companies trying to sell publishing and editing services.

Today's Lehrer Award winner Aachanon Publishing says it is a self-publishing service provider that "provides all the necessary services for authors to make their book."

In a discussion of its editorial services, Aachanon says: "The copy-editors role is to help the reader grasp the author’s ideas, to prevent embarrassing errors and to ensure that the typesetter can do a good job."

If a real copy-editor checked that sentence, Aachanon might have avoided the embarrassing error of missing an apostrophe in "editor's."

Aachanon also says: "If you choose one of Aachanon’s professional editor to do your proofreading the proofreader will..."

Apparently the Aachanon editor was not professional enough to realize that "editor" should be "editors" and that a comma should have been inserted after "proofreading."

And Aachanon says: "we wiil send you a listing of self-publishing promotional professionals who will work with you."

If all of Aachanon's human editors were busy, a computer's spell-checker would have noticed "wiil."

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