Reader question on a printed mistake

A reader asked me this question in the comments of my last post, and I thought I’d put it here in case some other industry professional was familiar with it:

I saw something recently that I thought might be a leftover typesetting tag. Would you happen to know?

“The tavern had all but emptied for the [cf4]funeral; those left had for-
gotten their interest in her.”

I’d read _Ombria in Shadow_ after it came out; I’d like to think I noticed this before, but can’t be certain. :> Always read a library copy. I leave bookmarks and sticky notes in my own books when I notice such things.

The best I can figure is that it was a leftover note to the author or editor asking them to compare that sentence with the fourth parargraph, line, page, or query. I can’t even imagine making such an unhelpful query and so hesitate to think that’s it, but perhaps it was paired with something more useful in the original manuscript. Does anyone have another opinion?

4 thoughts on “Reader question on a printed mistake”

  1. The only thing I would suggest it could be is a leftover “comment” in Word. I often put comments/queries to authors using the Comment feature, and when a comment is inserted, you get brackets with initials and number, like [lp2]. [cf4] looks like it could be a query that wasn’t deleted and was therefore somehow typeset.

  2. Ah…That could be it, Editgirl. All the companies I do electronic editing for prefer for comments to be inserted directly into the manuscript instead of done through the comment feature.

  3. The only thing I would suggest it could be is a leftover “comment” in Word.

    That’s exactly what I was going to suggest. That could happen quite easily in some typesetting programs (others would insert the text of the Comment in red, and the typesetter would notice).

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