Publishing is a tricky business, especially when it comes to your first book. I certainly learned a ton when my memoir, Good Chinese Wife, was in the editing and printing stages.
My publisher fact-checked every instance of pinyin in my book and highlighted the words they couldn’t verify. One thing I didn’t catch, however, was the name of the hotel where I had my one-night Hong Kong honeymoon. Back in the mid-1990s, there was a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui called the Miramar. It was quite the place in the 60s and that was pretty obvious thirty years later when I went there.
But when my fact checkers Googled the Miramar in 2014, they didn’t find it.
It had changed by then and was completely remodeled and rebranded into the Mira.
In my book, all my mentions of the Miramar were changed late in the game to the Mira, and it was at a point where I was supposed to go through all the yellow highlights to verify the accuracy of those words. There wasn’t time to do another read-through of the whole manuscript. The Mira wasn’t highlighted, so I didn’t catch this error.
Or maybe I should have made the time.
People who know Hong Kong will pick up on this, and it’s kind of embarrassing to have this error in my book. But it’s part of publishing and there’s nothing I can do about it unless 5000 people suddenly buy the paperback and we go into another print run.
I recently took a walk near the Mira. I’ve been back to Hong Kong a handful of times since the book came out, but this was the first time I took a moment to look at the new compound.
The view from inside Kowloon Park.
Mira Place is the shopping arcade across the street from the hotel.
And this is the bridge that connects the hotel to the shopping arcade.
I have a thing about old hotels, so am glad I had a chance to stay at the old Miramar. But for Hong Kong’s sake, the Mira is more in touch with what travelers expect when they shell out the cash it costs to stay in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel.