Friday 19 March 2010

Working with Editors

Yes, it’s all part of the job of being a writer. Getting the publishing contract does not mean it’s all over. In some ways it’s just a beginning. And you do have to be able to react to what an editor asks. Sometimes it can be painful. Yet in the end you are grateful. It’s another pair of eyes and the opinion of someone who can be a little more objective.
I’ve just posted off what I call an edit but what the design / copy edit team at the publishers call third proof. The edges have become rather blurred this time – but there’s been a history maternity leaves, illnesses and lost emails so we’re trying to catch up a little. Proofs were supposed to be done in December and the resource is actually due out about now. We’ve somehow missed a layer of editing.
The resource is for teachers’ and contains photocopiable sheets for the students. I had to take note in writing that each section has to fit on an A4 sheet. Yet the publisher needed the submission without formatting. I thought it prudent to submit both a visual text and one in publisher speak. This worked to some extent, though at design level there has been some misinterpretation of layout which has to be corrected – and some annoying reduction of font size and area of page covered. Being a partner in a publishing company and married to our designer I know it does not have to be like this. In fact, we’ve designed a couple of sample pages to show what can be done. This is really all level two editing.
I wrote the book from the heart and based on over twenty years’ experience in the classroom. A working method developed organically and from time to time I inserted certain elements into lesson plans. The editors loved these and asked them to be included in every lesson. At first, I felt dismayed. It made the lessons too regimented, too predictable. But I did as asked. Now that the text is back with me I realise that they were right. The content holds the excitement. The routine gives the security. Teachers are always pressed for time – they need to understand their instruction sheets swiftly. I’m happy with those changes now. So, it’s clear we do need our editors.
The resource is looking good apart from the small font in places and too much white space on a few student sheets. I’ve requested that they look at that. Now we wait. There will no doubt be more questions. Soon, though, a copy will arrive in the post. I’ll open it with trepidation, dreading finding the typo that no one has noticed. But it will feel good all the same. I even dreamt last night about how good it would feel and how good the book will look. Fingers crossed.

No comments: