Friday, January 28, 2011

In which I rant and rave a little bit and try not to offend any future employers.

Editing: What’s in a term?

I have read a lot of stuff lately, some of which had some pretty significant grammar errors. This got me wondering about editors.  Everyone who is in the process of being published, or who is trying to be published, already knows this, but there are two kinds of editors:  Acquisition Editors and Copy Editors.

Acquisition Editors are the ones you need to suck up to impress with your work, the ones who buy your book and work with you to polish the story.  They are the “big picture” editors. 

Copy Editors are the proofreaders.  They are the ones who go through your manuscript and find the grammar mistakes, spelling errors, and inconsistencies that we, as writers, probably miss because we get too close to our stories and stop seeing mistakes that are glaring to someone who has never read the book.

 For example:  I thnik taht yuo cna ese the eorrs hree.  But you can also read what I said.  Our minds tend to fix things, especially familiar things.  A writer might overlook a mistake like this, but a copy editor should not.  Especially in this day and age of spell check and grammar check.  Alas, stuff gets through.  What is up with that? 

And then, the way I understand it, once your work has been through the copy editor wringer, it comes back to you for final line edits.  Where there is yet another chance to find mistakes. 

We all know how competitive the publishing business is.  Are publishing companies stretched so thin that they aren’t able to do sufficient copy editing? 

I am a little worried about this, especially in this day and age of e-publishing.  Material goes back and forth between parties awfully quickly, and I can see how a less polished version of a manuscript could accidentally replace the final version (I am trying to rationalize how these mistakes escape).  I can only hope that if when I have something on its way to market that my crit peeps will be looking over my shoulder to watch for those msiplelings. 


  1. I'm with you on this.

    Fingers crossed.


  2. I know what you mean. It still amazes me when I see an obvious typo make it all the way to the bookstore shelves. WTF? Surely somebody along the way should have caught it.

  3. You're telling me! I still find spelling and grammatical errors in books I'm reading.