Monday, October 24, 2011

Back to school, back to school... prove my clients that I ain't no fool...

Apologies for the lack of updates: in addition to my usual and unusual work, I started my certificate program a couple of weeks ago. Suddenly my reading material has become fairly limited in scope...

34. The Subversive Copyeditor by Carol Fisher Saller

The About: Inspired by questions sent to her about editing at Chicago Manual of Style, Saller wrote a book that addresses the most burning questions she receives from the point of view on how to do a good job as an editor. Sections include how to cover your tail but also how to own up to mistakes, how to build a good relationship with an author and how to recognize your skills and short comings.

Thoughts: Let me start by saying that this was not required reading for the class. I just happened upon it in the book store, and it looked interesting so I grabbed it. I'm glad I did, because for such a tiny book it's extremely valuable.

This Ms Manners for editors is about good business practices. Saller employs humor in her writing--and tells us why it's important in client-editor relationships. She also gives editors a talking-to when it's needed: stop making excuses for not replying to an email, stop trying to lay the blame somewhere else, grit your teeth and smile although you want to burn the manuscript.

The underlying and painfully true theme is that editing a manuscript is not about the editor; it's about the author and ultimately about the reader. The editor is there just to work as a conduit in making the reader's experience as rewarding as possible. This sometimes means throwing grammar books out the window and going with gut feeling, or giving in to the author's odd spelling preferences. Editors are not in it for the glory, but Saller does remind authors that it wouldn't hurt them to thank also their editors publicly once in a while...

Even if you're not planning on being an editor, I'd still recommend this book because it gives great (and fun!) insight to the world of publishing.

No comments:

Post a Comment