Mistakes Were Made: On editing, proofing, and why errors get through

GREETINGS, fellow travelers.

I was talking with my colleague, fellow writer/editor/publisher R.G. Emanuelle this morning (and if you have not read her work, her latest is an awesome F/F gothic thriller/mystery).

R.G. and I are co-founders and co-owners of publishing venture Dirt Road Books. We and 4 other authors got together and launched it in 2017. R.G. and I come from traditional publishing back in the day; collectively, we have over 40 years of experience in publishing (omg dinosaurs roaming the earth).

Both of us worked with publishing houses before ebooks, way before the availability of platforms as we know them now, so we’ve been editing and proofing manuscripts in various formats for a while.

Today we were talking about typos and errors that sneak into the final product, and I thought I would offer some thoughts about how and why that happens, and I’ll do a comparison of old-school vs. new-school processes in publishing a manuscript.

Also, it might be valuable for readers who don’t have a background in publishing or editing to understand the amount of work that goes into a manuscript, whether its format is print or ebook, so you understand why books are priced the way they are. Sure, you can say that “ebooks should be priced even lower than they currently are because they’re just electronic files,” but the fact is, the manuscript behind that ebook went through an ass-load of work before it got ebooked. You wouldn’t do a ton of work on contract for a pittance, would you? Or for free? Well, there you go. Just something else to ponder.

Anyway, let’s break this down. Continue reading

10 things not to say (or do) to your editor

Hi, kids! Hope this past week has treated you well. The usual crazy going on here, but let’s take a moment and chat about something else writing-related.

EDITING.

OMG your blood is pumping, your juices are flowing and you’re just salivating at the mention of the word EDITING. It’s okay. I totally understand.

Anyway, yes, I am a writer but I started professionally editing way back in the early 1990s, during the Dark Ages when starving peasants tilled the soil outside the castle and if you wanted to talk to somebody you had to walk to the other side of the village before dark, because that was when the wolves came out to gnaw on hapless villagers who didn’t fall under the purview of the manor lord’s protection. If not wolves, then witches, werewolves, and vampires.

Shit was scary back in the day.

But now, thanks to technology, we know all that scary shit isn’t on the edge of the village. IT’S ON THE INTERWEBZ. Whew.

Anyway, I worked in publishing for about 15 years, either managing in-house or freelance editing out-of-house. I’m still an editor, and I still keep up with the publishing industry, but I’m a writer, too. Which means I have been on both sides of the fence and I have a certain amount of empathy for both perspectives.

I know what it feels like to be working with an editor who you think is missing the point of your vision, who is crushing your writing dreams by saying a scene doesn’t work, who just might be a cross between a werewolf and a vampire and is merely toying with your emotions before stomping on your ego. I get that. But I also know what it’s like to help a writer realize her vision in clearer, stronger prose so that she goes on to write better prose later and she remains a colleague and works with you many times after that because she trusts you.

That is the essence of an editor-writer relationship. Trust. It’s important to trust that an editor has the professional background and training to work with a writer on craft as well as narrative. On the other side of that, it’s important that an editor trust that a writer is open to edits, is open to realizing that sometimes, a writer is much too close to a project to see clearly, and that a writer wants to improve her craft.

That’s the ideal. So with that in mind, what should you NOT say to an editor with whom you are working?

Let’s go see…

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On editing

Howdy, peeps!

Every now and again I ask readers and colleagues what they’d like me to blog about in an upcoming piece. This week, I’m addressing a question that a reader on Facebook posted to my “YO! WHUT SHOULD I BLOG ABOUT?” question.

That question is: “When you edit for others, what do you find most challenging?” Thanks, Joan, for posing that.

I think I’ll answer this question by first explaining a bit about how I edit a project. Once I have the project in my email box (because that’s pretty much how it works these days — if you want a trip down history lane, ask me how to do hardcopy editing), I download it and here’s what happens. . .

Source

Okay, maybe not THAT. Heh. But you never know. Anyway, let’s continue.

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Different types of editors in publishing, cont.

Hi, kids. Since people seem to have been interested in the last post I put up about editing, I thought I’d put this one up, too. This, as well, was previously posted at Women and Words, where I am an administrator.

At any rate, the last post I did here on my site about editing dealt a lot with the PROCESS a manuscript goes through prior to publication. Here, I’ll talk about all the different TYPES of editors you might run across in the publishing world, including those who might call themselves acquiring editors and/or managing editors and things like that. The publishing world involves business, and many editors are thus tied up with the business itself of publishing.

We’re not just mechanics for your manuscript. We are also gatekeepers and observers of what goes on in the publishing world, tracking trends and looking for the next big kind of genre that people might want to buy. Literary agents are often editors, too. They have to be. They’re assessing manuscripts and thinking about how to get that manuscript the best placement possible. They’re looking for manuscripts that might be trendy, but with new and interesting twists. And they’re also looking for the Next Big Thing, whatever that might be.

source: DarkMatters

So yes, the nuts and bolts of actually editing a manuscript are important. But there are all kinds of other things at play, too, and these are tied to the publishing world and to the business. So let’s go have a look.

EDITING ROCKS! Read on to see why.

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Mysteries explained: The editing process

Hiya, friends. Thought I’d re-post something from Women and Words here (tweaked a little for updating purposes).

This is a post I did on the different kinds of editors and how they figure in publishing. Someone recently found it and pinged it, saying it was “useful.” So I figured I’d pass it along to you.

So let’s go find out about the editing process, one of the mysteries of publishing.

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Cool links

Hiya, peeps!

When I find interesting-ness on the intertubes, I like to pass it along to you, to do with as you please.

First, author and awesome savant Chuck Wendig often re-posts things from his blog “Terrible Minds.” This one is one of my faves, “Ode to the Editor.” Read it HERE.

Remember the other day I blogged on the importance of editors and those urban fantasy books I was reading? And how I said I would definitely not read further in one series, but would in the other? Well, I’m reading the second in the series I enjoyed, but once again, the editor made a boo-boo. In the first of that series, the word “allusion” rather than “illusion” appeared. In this one, the word “allude” rather than “elude” appeared. Grammar monster will explain the difference here. Even though I’m 200 pages past it, it still bugs me. And sadly, I know what page it’s on. Sigh. The editor-ness in me sometimes is SUCH a burden. 😀

Anyway. Here’s another cool thing I found today. Jennifer Niven writes on women spies at HuffPo in the 20th century. Super-cool, and if you’re looking for some inspiration or ideas for an espionage novel/thriller, this piece might offer you some.

Oh, and James Blaylock, one of the dudes integral in the establishment of steampunk as a genre, tells us how that came about in his piece at HuffPo, “On Steampunk.”

I’m currently reading Phoenix Rising (by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris), the first in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Fun stuff, great characters. If you haven’t read much steampunk, I also recommend Cherie Priest‘s work.

Heh. And the January 15 Bloggess entry, about the Eye of Sauron. [NOTE: if you have issues with ladyparts words, don’t click that link.]

And finally, this cool song, “All of Me,” by the Brooklyn duo Tanlines. They remind me of my Erasure days in the 80s, when I wore pegged jeans, Docs, and retro bowling shirts. Oh, wait…

Anyway, this vid has an 80s cold war feel to it, too. Love the juxtaposition of the bippy tune and the grim interior of that bar/club.


direct link

All rightie! Happy reading, happy writing, and put your music on and DANCE!

Ah, the importance of editors

Hi, fellow readers and writers! And assorted peeps!

I’ve been on the road for a few days. When I travel, I take books. Actual paperbacks. OMG, like, I must be some kind of antique! Don’t worry, I also take my Kindle, but I generally have at least 1 paperback, usually 2. This time, I had 5, because I was going to be on the road for a few days.

Anyway, I had a couple of thrillers by a writer I enjoy reading, an urban fantasy by another writer I enjoy reading, and two novels by urban fantasy authors new to me. All of these paperbacks are published by mainstream houses, big imprints.

One of my writing colleagues says that when you read a novel and all of its parts are working as they should (plot, characterization, dialogue, narrative style), then you don’t stop reading. You flow with the text from beginning to end (maybe stopping to re-read something because it was really cool or really struck you). But if the parts aren’t working, you’ll know because it’s like hitting a pothole when you’re driving. Or coming to a traffic light where you sit for a while.

And that’s exactly what happened while reading one of the books by an urban fantasy author whose work I didn’t know.

The things that interrupt my reading flow are the dreaded “telling and not showing,” stilted dialogue, plot holes, and misspellings. Typos I can understand because I’m an editor, and I get that not everything will be caught. We do the best we can, but a few get through. I can forgive a typo here and there in a book. However, misspellings are another matter. An editor needs to know how to spell and which form of a word is correct. In one of these books, editors dropped the ball. In the other, they let a couple things slip through. Editing is, in some ways, an art. But like any art, it requires extensive knowledge of writing and grammatical mechanics. Editors need to be painstaking in their work. They need to be detail-oriented. And sometimes, that just doesn’t happen. Even at the big houses.


[source]

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