Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Maximizing the Editing Process (The Author's Responsibility)

With each manuscript I edit for my clients, I include three rounds of line editing and a final proofread. Also, I include a style sheet which goes into detail on more repetitive issues that are affecting the overall flow and structure of the manuscript. Additionally, I insert suggestive comments throughout the manuscript that would enhance the tone of the author’s voice. I take the responsibility of producing a final manuscript free of careless typos, grammar gaffes, and formatting flaws extremely serious. However, when the author is more in a hurry to go to print than they’re concerned about perfecting their work-in-progress, then all of my work as an editor is in vain.

That’s right, folks. The author has a poignant responsibility during the editing process. If an author is hastily moving toward the printing presses, but isn't focused on reviewing, addressing, and/or correcting the quirks plainly spelled out by the editor, the end result of a sloppily produced book cannot be charged to the editor alone. One thing I love about my clientele is that they've learned to take the editing process just as serious as I do. There’s usually next to no pressure placed upon me to rush through a manuscript, and I encourage them to take their time to perform an in-depth review of my revisions and suggestions. There should be a decent window of space between the time the editor sends the manuscript back to the author and the author returns it back to the editor.

As an author, you must ask yourself, “Have I taken time to address all of the feedback and suggestions my editor has given me?” If not, it’s time to pump your brakes, go back to review your manuscript, and be ready to address any issues your editor has brought to the table, no matter how insignificant you may think they may be. A healthy dialogue between manuscript passes is also crucial. If there’s something you don’t understand, you have every right to approach your editor for clarification. Trust me, your editor will love you for it. As an editor, one of the most frustrating things is to see repetitive errors go unaddressed. It’s a good thing to remember that no one cares how fast you produce a manuscript that is full of mistakes that could've been prevented had the author taken the proper time to thoroughly review the manuscript between editing phases. When an author fully embraces the editing process, they’re not only increasing the likeliness of a successful finished product, but they’re simultaneously becoming subject experts on what it takes to produce a high-quality manuscript.