Is it Jonathan Ferris, Jonathon Ferris, or Ramesh Ferris?
In his new book, Better than a Cure, the 30-year-old polio survivor can’t seem to make up his mind.
The book, originally slated for release October 1st, exactly a year after the Whitehorse local completed his 7,110-kilometre journey by handcycle from Victoria, BC, to Cape Spear, Newfoundland, was written to raise awareness about the need to eradicate polio worldwide.
But things took a little longer than anticipated and the new author didn’t end up seeing the finished product until early December.
That’s when the moniker mix-up materialized.
“I know how to spell my own name,” said Ferris.
It’s Jonathan, not Jonathon.
The Ramesh part comes later.
Better than a Cure chronicles Ferris’ cycle across Canada, the boyhood adoption that took him from India to the Yukon – the first international adoption in the territory – and Ferris’ trip back to India to meet his birth mother in 2002.
“I want to use the book as a tool to continue to fight polio worldwide,” he said.
Co-written by local author John Firth, the book came together in less than a year, and the pair decided on Trafford Publishing, a Victoria-based company that offered print-on-demand.
“This isn’t the kind of book that’s going to sell well in stores, per se,” said Firth. “But Ramesh has lots of speaking engagements where he plans to sell the book.”
By choosing a publisher that will print as few as one book at a time, Ferris can keep up with demand without ending up with 1,000 books in his basement, said Firth.
This fall, Firth sent Trafford a final edited copy of the book and a first run was printed.
That’s when Ferris noticed the wonky inconsistencies surrounding his name. Some of his friend’s names were spelled wrong as well.
“These were mistakes that an editor wouldn’t pick up,” said Firth, when asked about the misspelled names.
Trafford assured Ferris the book wouldn’t go to print until the corrections were made, and left it at that.
“But when I came back from my Christmas holidays, people I work with told me they’d seen it for sale, so I phoned my friend at Mac’s (Fireweed Books) and he told me the book was available.”
Ferris called the publisher in an attempt to sort things out; luckily fewer than 20 books had been printed.
Mac’s had already sold two, before yanking the remaining six off its shelves.
“I could go ahead and sell them,” said Mac’s buyer Lise Schonewille. “But we pulled them off out of respect for John and Ramesh.”
But the book is still available on Amazon.com.
“It’s not supposed to be available online,” said Ferris. “This was a communication failure, we asked the publisher to put a hold on the book.”
Because of the confusion, Ferris hopes Trafford will give Better than a Cure some extra publicity when the book is finally released.
Recently bought up by Author Solutions Inc., Trafford has moved to Bloomington, Indiana. A call to its offices ended at Author Solutions. Redirected, the call went back to an electronic menu that put the News on hold for about five minutes before linking to an answering machine.
The whole affair has been frustrating, but Ferris doesn’t want to lay blame when it comes to the publishing mix-up.
“I’m disappointed, but I didn’t lose hope,” he said. “These things happen in life.”
The book’s new release date is slotted for April 12, the day the polio vaccine was first introduced to the public. The book is also selling for $19.55, to correspond with the year the polio vaccine came out, and some of the proceeds are going to Rotary International’s Polioplus campaign.
“I’ve learned lots about self-publishing,” said Ferris. “And I hope to write more books.”
Contact Genesee Keevil at