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Thread: On Publishers & Copy-Editors

  1. #1
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    On Publishers & Copy-Editors

    So finally I sent off my "manuscript".

    Three months later, now I have the copy-edited version.

    I knew something was wrong when I reread the very first sentence of my book, which had been "corrected" by the copyeditor.

    "Sitting on the bench, Julia Swan is like a fish out of water."

    The copy editor had "corrected" it to "Sitting on a bench,..."

    It's not about the difference between the articles "a" and "the". It's a sports issue. Any American or any non-American who has ever watched a game of basketball, handball, baseball or (American) football knows what "sitting on the bench" means. It means you're NOT in the game. The coach has selected other players to be on the hardwood, and you're sitting on the bench, with the rest of the players who are not out on the field. You're waiting to go in, you want to start playing, but you're sitting on the bench. Also, if you're off the team, you're "benched."

    To make such a blunder, that any 10-year-old knows better about, it seems the copy editor has no experience with sports. Which the publisher had assured me was not the case.

    For example, there are 868 cases of a hyphen "-" (my original) being shown in the scores, such as 45-41. The copy editor changes the hyphen to a dash. I am asked to sign off and indicate correction on, line by tedious line, all 868 of these "errors," when anyone could plainly see and fix in 30 seconds this obvious format error, by doing a mass-edit. But it is NOT an error. The New York Times, ESPN, etc. use the same "hyphen" format. Every sports writer does.

    A bigger problem is the copy-editor's non-experience with sports-writing. She/he has signaled every use of "5" for "five" and "15" for "fifteen" (examples here, all numbers are treated similarly) as a style error. She suggests "Jane scored 16 points and May hit for 8" be more properly written as "Jane scored sixteen points and May hit for eight." Anyone the least bit familiar with sports/basketball writing can see that this does not need to be altered, my original is fine. Just read any basketball report in any newspaper, they use figures, even for single digits.

    What is inexplicable is how the copy editor could plainly see the usual usage all professional sports writers use, throughout the text of the 15 or so newspaper stories embedded in the work, but the CE failed to pick up on it.

    Also, the CE does not understand the style rule itself, or her quote from the style manual is mistaken. The CE states, "Whole numbers from one through one hundred are spelled out:"
    No, the correct rule is: "Whole numbers from one through ten are spelled out " And for sportswriters, they usually ignore the rule anyway and write "She scored 6 points." They rarely write "She scored six points." They never write "She scored thirty-seven points."

    There are literally thousands of these unnecessary "corrections."

    Writing out large or small numbers not only wastes space but could also be a major distraction to your readers. And boooorrrring.

    Commas can be important , but the CE inserts them in places that stifle the flow of the narrative, as if she is editing a cookbook.

    The CE has made 1000's of errors and now they say, 'We're just following the Chicago Manual of Style." Sports writers have regard for the CMS, but it's a GUIDE book, not a book of COMMANDMENTS. Readers don't want to suffer through interminable but perfect prose, they want the story, now, quick and dirty.

    So they have made a mess of it and are handing me the broom and the dustpan..

    I said "I am not going a make a note of each and every one of these 4000-5000 errors that YOU generated and then re-correct them to what they were supposed to be in the first place, then give you the file so you can put them back as they were originally."

    They said "That's our process."
    I said, "That's an exercise in absurdity. Give me the file, and I will do the mass corrections myself. And send the file back to you." I had access, only, to their online version of the copy-edited file.

    I thought that was a generous and creative solution to problems THEY created through their lack of expertise in this genre.

    So they finally sent it to me, after I engaged some supervisor. (I think my agent there is married to the copy-editor, that's why she stonewalls). They sent me a file locked for editing! Now I spent yesterday and today having to download and install MS Word, which I loathe, but I can now unlock the file, anyway. And to fix all their mistakes.

    Unbelievable.

    If you want to do something, and do it right, do it yourself.
    "Defund the Social Sciences." - Fantastika, 2020

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to TheInterocitor For This Useful Post:

    Benedikt (12-03-2021)

  3. #2
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    published and make some money? does it help pissing against the wind? you only get your own pants wet...
    There is no greater treasure then pleasure....

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    published and make some money? does it help pissing against the wind? you only get your own pants wet...
    This publishing company, it has an excellent reputation. Other companies, the money disappears and the writers gets a few dollars. In the US, you can go to BBB (Better Business Bureau) website and see all the complaints people have filed against a business.

    I rather have someone I trust to do printing and distribution, than someone who is cheaper and faster, but then difficult with the profits.

    This publisher is Christian-based, and does not have any experience with sports stores. They usually print Christian books, about faith, the Bible, etc. I don't mind doing their work for them. My Ex was same way, if her co-worker was lazy and did not do her job, she would do it for them.
    "Defund the Social Sciences." - Fantastika, 2020

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