I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!

I am in the middle of an advanced reader copy of a novel to be published later this fall, and while I am enjoying the reading, I have to say, editors, copy editors, and those whose job it is to catch the pickiest of the nitpicky, and pull all the coherent threads back together, I am in awe. Awe, I tell you.

It’s not that this book is not well-written or that this ARC is full of errors that distract me – it’s only a few “and” where “an” should be, and at one point the sister is a she-shit, and at another the heroine mentions her as if she hadn’t been mentioned at all prior, and while it’s my job to evaluate the plot and the storyline, I am thinking more as I read this how much I take for granted the people whose job it is to catch all those and/an and bring the loose strands back into the braid. If it were my job, I would go in circles and have no idea how to see the big picture and the little parts. The larger story and the smaller parts that create it would blur and merge from big to little and back again, like looking too long at an MC Escher picture.

So to the editors, wordsmiths, typesetters, grammar sticklers, and authors out there: this Bud’s for you.

From a humble reader: I say, Thank you.

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Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Nicole says:

    I think it was on a yahoo group where an author mentioned typoes to her editor and learned that the manuscripts she sent in were then HAND-typed into the computer.  No wonder there are typoes.  Yeesh.

    But yeah, a good editor is great for catching those loose strands, etc.  though most ARCs I’ve ever got are pretty close to what the original is going to be.

  2. 2
    Sarah says:

    This one is definitely close, though I have story repetition questions, but when I do encounter an error, I think, Gosh, who ever has to catch all these better have eyes like a hawk because I am sure I “read” what my brain expects to see word-wise and I skim past big errors that would make a more attentive person balk.

  3. 3
    Stef says:

    ‘though most ARCs I’ve ever got are pretty close to what the original is going to be.’

    With some ARCs, you can’t be sure. Our official policy is to wait until the galley is at least set.

    But we had some promo people who were sending unproofed, unformatted books for review and not telling me, even after they were told the procedure. I only found out when a reviewer emailed me, concerned about the number of issues in the book. Once she knew, she took that into consideration.

  4. 4
    Candy says:

    OK, SCREW all the meaningful commentary on the importance of editing and insight into the publishing industry because, y’all? That Budweiser ad?

    I can’t stop laughing.

    Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

  5. 5
    Sarah says:

    The copy is the best: “There’s that moment when you gaze with satisfaction at the glass in your hand, half-emptied of its Budweiser, but still brimming with enjoyment.”
     
    “Budweiser: the most popular beer the world has ever known.”

  6. 6
    FerfeLaBat says:

    Mine?  Right? 

    At least 12 of the mistakes were added after I sent in final edits to the MS.  12 – sadly – are my crappy editing of the copyeditor edits.  It’s all so confusing.

    They produced the ARC’s before the Galley edits were returned.  All should be fixed in final galley except—shit – did you say the second ref to the sister is as if she was never introduced?  WTF?  I will check.  Page Number?

    I suck.

    Say anything you like about it – but for god’s sake do NOT say it is a light hearted read or I will have to mainline molasses for the next month to re-plaque my arteries.

    I am counting on you two to see the dark side of Revenge Gifts.

  7. 7
    FerfeLaBat says:

    Oh yeah!  Copyeditors kick ass.  Editors, too.  I learned a whole new level of respect going through this process.

  8. 8
    Kate says:

    I say there aliens in some typesetters’ worlds (or “airleens”, as my kid wrote in one of his stories). I found mistakes in the galleys that I know I hadn’t made—and they used a disk I’d give them. How did the spillling miskates and extra bizarro words get added?  Too much bud, maybe.

  9. 9
    Stef says:

    Our procedure is edits, final sent to me. I rough out the galleys in bulk, fixing things that leap out. I then do a skim proof for major issues that may require more edits. Done with that, I finish the galley and send it to the author.

    Author sends changes, I make them and do a line-by-line.If I find anything that creates a noticiable change, I either ask the author or resend the galley. It’s up to the author if they want a look at the final before release.

    I then step away from it, and later proof it again. Then one more time before release.

    We used to use outside CEs and proofers, but they just missed so much and took so long doing it, this method works better. Quality control has gotten much easier.

    But in transfer from one system to another, weird crap can get in the files and you’d be amazed at what the weird crap can do. I had one ms change all the ellipses and em-dashes to fractions. 1/4 and 2/3. Swear. So my working files stay virgin, and the author is sent a pdf and they reply with a listing.

  10. 10
    Nicole says:

    Kate, I think it was Linnea Sinclair who mentioned that they typed in hers even though they had it on disk and she’d finalized everything and that’s how errors made it in.  Erk.

  11. 11
    CindyS says:

    Having a husband who loves the 50’s I have seen way too many ads that make me laugh.

    Seriously, a bride on her wedding day compared to a half glass of Bud?  Poetry.  The sad part, I don’t think they were meaning to be funny. 

    Do you think we would all still be our bitchy selves if we were a product of the 50’s?

    Shit, I hope so.

    CindyS

  12. 12
    Crimson Ink says:

    Love the ad, ladies :)

    Its so hard to catch everything and some days, I think it is an art! Editors and copy editors are only part of the process. The working relationship with the author is the beginning. The process is so intense and involves so many readthroughs that the editor’s eye does get fooled sometimes. That is why copy editors/final line editors are so vital for me.

    And formatting errors…ugh! Let’s not even go there!

    This editor sends your drink of choice back and thanks for the daily amusement and fun! My day wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Smart Bitches.

  13. 13
    FerfeLaBat says:

    You know, as a newbie, the first blush was off the rose the minute I figured out I was going to have to be reading what I wrote over-and-over again.  My first full novel was passable.  God knows I researched the hell out of it. I stuck with islands and cities I had actually spent a good deal of time in for the setting, but it still—after at least ten passes—needs some work.  Anyone sitting in the bar at the Millinium heard ReneeB describe the horror that was the first iteration of that book. (Very important to have a critiquer with a sense of humor when you write the first one.  A serious professional would have billed me for psychological damage.)

    The second in that threesome was nearly finished when Y*Piff*Anee whapped me the hell up the head.  I realized I had better write something I could stand to read at least twenty times in a row without crying if I was going to make it through the editing gauntlett. 

    I never thought about how editors suffer until I saw the process up close and personal.  No wonder they are so picky in what they buy.  Their sanity is at risk.

    I was joking about the “light hearted read” above, however – in case anyone took it seriously. I created a story that could be considered on several levels just to keep myself interested after the seventh-level-of-hell edit.  I layered light, medium and dark into the plot which should appeal to more than a few different readers tastes.  If you don’t want to see the dark side, you probably won’t.

    But if Sarah and Candy didn’t see it, I was pretty sure that no one would.  That would be depressing as hell.

    Highest praise so far has been from a non-editor at RT who said “What kind of mind comes UP with something like this?”

  14. 14
    Crimson Ink says:

    LOL, FerfeLaBat. I was there and I heard :)

    Both author and editor learn how much they DO like a book after the twentieth read!

  15. 15
    Stef says:

    Grins…I don’t accept anything I can’t read twenty times. Some of them I keep on my PDA for re-reads even after they’re done, totally for pleasure.

  16. 16
    Whozat? says:

    Arcs aren’t the final copy, ladies.  There are going to be errors in those that won’t show up in the final book.  Cut those hard-working copy editors some slack, would ya?  And yes, plenty of mistakes show up in the final copy, too, but you know yourself how damned hard it is to catch everything.  I’d be willing to bet you’ve even submitted something with a mistake or two in it, despite your best efforts to catch them all.

  17. 17
    Sarah says:

    Whozat, I think you missed my point. I know an ARC isn’t a final copy, and that there are errors meant to be caught. I was giving mad props to those who do the catching because dang, what a hard job.

  18. 18
    Stef says:

    What’s fun is a lot of people fancy themselves copyeditors. I got an email from this obnoxious person simply howling about how badly edited this book was, and how he was willing to give me a list of the “numerous” errors he had seen.

    I agreed, list was sent. Total of twelve. I looked the list over. Some were incorrect, because he had misterpeted the author’s usage of a word. Some were just our house style. Legitimate errors: Two. In a novel-length book. And they consisted of one missing “an” and an instance of transposition of two letters in the heroine’s name. Tragic.

    The all-time winner was the one who complained because the punctuation was completely out of whack on one of the books. When further questioned, he said all of the end punctuation was outside the dialogue quotes. So I checked. Total instances of occurance: three. Again, novel-length book.

    Both these people were extremely rude and insulting, too. I blocked their emails.

  19. 19
    Linnea says:

    Yep, I’m the one who mentioned that I just found out—after some bizarre errors in a galley—that my electronic files are hand-typed in to create the galley. No clue why Bantam does this but I’m guessing there might be some kind of proprietary formatting program? When I was a news reporter—many moons past—we had specially formatted computers in the newsroom and some kind of funky proprietary software that turned typed-in text into proper newspaper layout. No cut and paste possible. But that WAS many moons ago and I’d-a-thunk the publishing industry would have invented something better by now. ::shrugs::

    All I know is I have the greatest respect for these kids who have to nit-pick and re-type. There ain’t enough gin in this galaxy to get me through that (though yes I do end up re-reading my own stuff twenty times, at least. And when you add a time deadline on top of that, words will blur/morph and in general, misbehave).  ;-P

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