In my most recent book, I lifted a quote without knowing it. It was only a sentence:
“A ship at harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.”
*Photo used with permission
It’s a great quote. I knew I’d heard something like it before, but alone in my cabin where I was writing the book, I assumed the variation on it was mine. Imagine my surprise yesterday when somebody tweeted it and gave credit to John A. Shedd. Stink!
The book had gone to press (thankfully a small press run) but still, my heart sank. Truth be told, nobody would have noticed, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my supposed ideas floating around in books and on the internet. It never bothers me, because I doubt there are that many new ideas, only new ways to phrase them. But, that could have come back to haunt me and tarnish my name.
Here are the two things I did, immediately:
1. I made the correction in the book, giving John A. Shedd rightful credit.
2. I blogged about it. Nobody has even read the new book, so it was important to get out in front of it.
To my knowledge, it’s the first such mistake I’ve made (knock on wood), but it wasn’t a fun one to have made. My apologies to Mr. Shedd, and to the readers who will, undoubtedly, think I’m smarter than I am. Hope this blog helps you realize that I’m not.
Grateful. Now, moving on.