KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf
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Monday, January 04, 2010

What 26 Years in Publishing—15 as a Freelance Copyeditor—Have Taught Me

The publishing industry, which includes both books and peer-reviewed journals, has undergone tremendous changes since I first began working in it in 1984. Back then, manuscripts were all still edited on paper, not on computer screens; authors saw both galley proofs and page proofs of their typeset manuscripts; and the only methods for contacting authors were phone calls, faxes, and letters delivered by postal services or express air couriers. But some things haven’t changed over the years:

  • If an editor treats authors respectfully, authors will return the favor.


  • Authors accept edits more willingly from an editor who explains the reasoning behind changes than from one who doesn’t.


  • Clients and authors always appreciate clear, straightforward, timely communication with an editor.


  • Misunderstandings can occur when there are language barriers, so both author and editor must assume good intentions on the part of the other as they work at communicating.


  • It’s important to respect boundaries. Authors are the subject-matter experts; the editor is the expert on grammar, syntax, overall flow, and the need for additional details.


  • No matter how experienced, an editor can always learn new things. I learn something new from each manuscript I edit and each client and author I work with.

Books and journals may eventually stop appearing in paper form and be available only onscreen, but success in publishing will always require attention to the human beings involved.


publishing

2 comments:

libhom said...

"Authors accept edits more willingly from an editor who explains the reasoning behind changes than from one who doesn’t."

That applies to so many areas of life. Thanks for sharing wisdom.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thank you, libhom, for being a longtime reader.

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