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Gripe: poor proof-reading

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
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Libby
Avid Reader
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Postby Libby » Sun July 26th, 2009, 9:46 pm

Yes. I asked why I couldn't be sent a copy with the changes marked up so that I could see at a glance what the editor had done rather than having to trawl through every word.

The response I got was politely puzzled.

But it's a technique I use when I mark student's work (I tutor for an online course) and it's easy and efficient.
By Loyalty Bound - the story of the mistress of Richard III.

http://www.elizabethashworth.com

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Sun July 26th, 2009, 10:40 pm

I have thrown temper tantrums with editors at various publications. There's usually a day or two, at most, to fact-check and copy edit at one publication I work for. If they need to tighten the story to fit the space, that's where errors creep in. On one occasion, I had to go through the entire story and take out a defined number of letter units in order for the people to be willing to restore the words that produced an error...

That said, I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful copy editors who have saved my skin over and over and over again. The problem is that when you've been working with some great ones, and then you run into a dud -- someone who likes to change things just in order to change them, or someone who doesn't understand what you're doing or what the copy is about -- your guard is down and you forget to triple-check everything.

Be paranoid; be very, very paranoid...

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sweetpotatoboy
Bibliophile
Location: London, UK

Postby sweetpotatoboy » Mon July 27th, 2009, 1:15 pm

I work as a copy-editor -- albeit not in publishing as such -- and I am all too aware of such frustrations. It's a process issue. Frequently what happens is that there are concurrent rather than consecutive reviews of the same text, so different people are making changes to the same version, so not everyone's corrections are applied consecutively. The copy-editor may do a good job, but someone omits to send them the final version to review, which is a waste of time for all involved - and then in the rush to publish on a set date, a sub-optimal version is that one that goes out.
Not to allow the author to make corrections to an electronic version seems ridiculous to me.

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Mon July 27th, 2009, 3:38 pm

"Libby" wrote:I asked why I couldn't be sent a copy with the changes marked up so that I could see at a glance what the editor had done rather than having to trawl through every word.

The response I got was politely puzzled.


For a long format work, that's a great way to work -- otherwise there is just so much to review, you're counting on memory to pull you through.

Sometimes, not seeing those changes helps me focus on what is important. If it's an 800-word article, there are probably only a few main points, and reading an edited version forces me to be more attentive to details. Usually, if an error is inserted or a change is clumsy, it jumps out at me.

Some of these things are so easy to make mistakes on. Million vs billion, 17 vs 70, there vs their... it's amazing what mistakes can be made.

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Mon July 27th, 2009, 3:52 pm

For my latest books, the copy editor (I had the same freelancer both times, and she's pretty good) sent me printouts of the entire manuscript with the changes she'd made clearly indicated. My instructions were to mark only those things I wanted changed back, as well as anything else that needed fixing. If she hadn't marked the changes, reading the whole thing would have been an overwhelming task (though I know other authors have to do it!). As it was, it took several full days to get it done.

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Mon July 27th, 2009, 4:33 pm

Yup, I slogged through the whole 65,000 word MS for the book I co-wrote. Glad I did, as there were a lot of really egregious mistakes, mostly due to slopping typesetting that then hadn't been caught by a copy editor.

Not looking forward to doing it for a 90,000-word plus MS with lots of numbers and data in it.

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Mon July 27th, 2009, 7:48 pm

Best of luck with it, Chatterbox -- I know my eyes get buggy looking at a manuscript closely after just a couple hours. Then there's the back/neck problems (my chiropractor saw me twice that week). Not much fun at all!

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Lauryn
Reader
Location: Vancouver, CA

Postby Lauryn » Tue July 28th, 2009, 4:12 am

I wonder what the resistance is to electronic editing. It seems like such a no-brainer to me, because it's pretty straight-forward. And with everyone wanting to cut costs, just the savings in paper alone, let alone time and confusion, seems pretty enticing.

Plus, (s)he who enables the feature in a given document is often the one who ends up making the final edits, which from the sounds of it would please the authors here no end! :D
Even the mighty oak was once just a nut that held its ground.

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theredsoldier
Scribbler
Location: Loveland Ohio
Contact:

Postby theredsoldier » Tue July 28th, 2009, 4:45 am

I have made all my changes electronically - It's easier to me at least.
WWII Eastern Front Action Novel
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Stalingrad, as only the Russian soldier could know... available now

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cw gortner
Bibliophile
Location: San Francisco,CA
Contact:

Postby cw gortner » Tue July 28th, 2009, 11:12 pm

I've actually had good luck with my copy editor; but still, when errors crept in I was beside myself, given the amount of time I'd spent re-reading and correcting stuff.

What really bugs me is that once the book is printed and you find stuff to correct for subsequent editions or reprints, it's almost impossible to do. But that's a printing issue, I've discovered; once the plaques or plates have been burned for the offset printing process, it's expensive to re-burn these, so the errors stay.

All the more reason to triple-check the copy edit stage.
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!
THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles
[B]THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI
THE LAST QUEEN
[/B]

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