A part of my work on this site includes some rebranding work and that means delving into the website code. Not my favorite bit of fussing, honestly. I’ve also been working on editing a couple of short stories and preparing for a Flash Fiction writing challenge for myself to start in August. It’s been a bit busy!
I’m currently attending Westercon 69 in Portland and enjoying both the company of friends old and new, and the panels. I’ve attended quite a few panels on writing and getting published, with many of these geared toward indie and small press authors. As a result of listening to the audience questions, I now have the following items on my list to add to this site.
- Tips for Hiring an Editor
- Tips for Working with Editors
- Signs You Need a New Editor
- What are General Editing Categories
- Editing Contracts
- What is a Style Guide and Why Do You Care?
- How to Be a Good Beta Reader
Those are just the topics off the top of my head. If you are particularly interested in one or more of these, let me know in comments or on Facebook, and I’ll move them up in the queue. Otherwise I’ll tackle them in some random order.
For those people I have met at Westercon – pleased to meet you! Hope you are having a great convention.
This is a topic where I seem to differ from some other editors, so it’s certainly not a universal rule.
I strongly believe that edits I make to an author’s work need to be tracked or otherwise reported to the author. I cringe every time I hear an author say that their editor made changes to their work without running it past them or “hid” the edits during the editing process. I realize this is known to happen in publishing houses, where the editors sometimes have the ability to overrule the authors completely, but I’ve been told stories of it being done by freelance editors as well.
This goes completely against what I consider the role of an editor to be — to work WITH an author to make their work the best it can be. At the end, though, the work belongs to the author, not me. I can make suggestions, correct issues, and offer education, but I don’t own the decision about what to do with that input.
Because I believe this, I also believe in being completely transparent to my authors when I make edits. I typically always leave track changes on (I typically edit in Word) so the author can see edits. I use the comments feature in Word to ask questions, make suggestions, or explain my thoughts about why I’m making an edit. If I have to make bulk changes like formatting, styles, or spacing changes, I will often turn track changes off to make those, then include that bulk change in my editorial cover letter. The only reason I turn track changes off is because Word notes each individual change and the amount of noise becomes unwieldy.
I want my authors to see all the changes. I want them to know that I won’t arbitrarily change things without telling them.
So, if you are working with an editor, ask the editor when they will track edits and when they just make them without tracking.
Today’s Hall of Shame entry is brought to you by a local news agency.
“…reports on this rare, but not uncommon surgery.”
In cases where we are talking about frequency of occurrence, the scale tends to run from common -> uncommon -> rare -> extremely rare.
It makes me wonder if they actually meant “unheard of” or “unknown” surgery instead.
I’ve had a bit of time for pleasure reading recently and, being as I’m a huge football fan and it’s that time of year, I’ve read a few romances featuring football players. Great reading for the bus since I pick them up and put them down easily.
But my experiences with two of these books made me grind my teeth because of errors. In one case, I don’t think the author knows much about football, so the lingo was just wrong. In the other, I believe there was an uncaught autocorrect issue that snuck through and it was so obvious, I was more annoyed than usual.
If you are writing or editing anything where there is the expectation of a lingo or specialized language being used then you really NEED to get it correct. True, in some cases only a small subset of your readers would know the difference if the focus is on a small or esoteric area. However, as with these football-based stories, there are areas where many many audience members may have a good knowledge of what should be in use.
Errors drive the audience nuts and you immediately lose a lot of credibility.