Friday, September 10, 2010

When do I...

The text we read was interesting in that it made me come to better understand when to edit the text. During the first week of classes, I was honestly tempted to change the author's text. As the article stated, however, there are a large amount of questions that include how to continue the author's style. It brought me to thinking about the legality of editing it after we discussed the publishing process in class yesterday. How does the author get input in what changes are included when the publication goes to print after they receive the galleys?


Pat said...

I'm glad you're thinking about these things, Joaquin. One of the things I wanted to do was place editing in its publishing context.

I'm curious about your statement that the publication goes to print after authors receive their galleys. Please explain that.

Pat said...

Joaquin, I see that you use the phrase "legality of editing." That makes me think of the paragraph at the bottom of page 2 of the syllabus. When an author signs a contract with a publisher, he or she is agreeing to abide by the publisher's terms.

I was recently involved in a project in which the author wanted to help choose the typeface, participate in the design of the cover, help choose the paper, and so forth. She was told that she could submit her suggestions for consideration but that the publisher would make the final decisions--and without consulting her.

Some authors reject this, and wishing to have greater--if not complete--control of their books, they either publish their books themselves or seek out what's called a vanity publisher. Another woman I knew did not want an editor to go over the manuscript she had produced, so she formed her own publishing company and published it herself.

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking about one part of the editing/publishing process: how the author controls which of his or her corrections and changes to the galleys are accepted by the editor. In our office, authors' wishes are almost always honored. If we disagree with the author about what should be done, we enter into a dialogue with him or her. If we can't come to an agreement, we usually let the author's wishes prevail.

In all the years I've been editing for my journal, I've come across just a few times when an author disagreed in principle with having his or her work edited. In one case, the author sent us a single-spaced letter several pages long in which he defended his right to not have his work edited. We replied with a brief note saying that there had been a misunderstanding and he was free to submit his work elsewhere.

I hope this answers your question; of course, please let me know if I've misinterpreted it.

joaquin said...

Wow. Thank you for the example. I can see why some people would get bothered by any editing of their writing, but what I can't imagine is why they would get angry when they are the ones that sent it to the publishers knowing the process. Copy-editing and the whole publishing business is pretty complicated.