Copy Edits and Cherie Priest
Posted on September 27, 2005 Posted by John Scalzi 16 Comments
Here’s what’s arrived in the mail today: The copy-edited version of The Ghost Brigades, which I need to go through and see if I agree with all the copy-editing (which I’m sure I will, mostly. The same fellow did the copy-edit for Old Man’s War and did a fab job of that; indeed, aside from a difference of opinion regarding the serial comma, it was perfect). As the production cycle of TGB is on an expedited pace at the moment, which may or may not have something to do with someone turning in the manuscript so late, he said in a tiny wee voice, I’ll be banging through this in the next couple of days.
Also arrived: Cherie Priest’s Four and Twenty Blackbirds, which I ordered a couple of days ago off Amazon, which apparently now has a warehouse in Cincinatti, which suggests most of my orders with them will now arrive in two days no matter what shipping I pay for. Location, location, location! As well most of you may know, Ms. Priest and I have been jointly fighting the forces of online stupidity in the wake of the hurricanes, me with the "Being Poor" piece and she with her famous LiveJournal piece on why the poor didn’t leave New Orleans, which was to a not at all insignificant degree an inspiration when I sat down to do the "Being Poor" piece. As it happens, Ms. Priest is a Tor author as well. Coincidence? You decide. Be that as it may, having found her LiveJournal to be thought-provoking and readable, I was eager to try out her fiction, and here we are.
This reminds me that at some point I want to do a think piece about which is better for a novelist: posting a novel online or having a really interesting blog. The two aren’t exclusive, of course; but I suspect one is more useful than the other, and at some point I’ll explain why. In the meantime I’m frustrated that Four and Twenty arrived the same day as my copy-edit; I have to do the latter before I can reward myself with the former. As they say: Waaaaaaah! I’ll be taking it with me this weekend, however, as I trundle off to Chicago to shill for Tor at the Great Lakes Booksellers Association convention.
Another reason I’m interested in Four and Twenty, incidentally, is that it was edited by the most excellent Liz Gorinsky, who is one of those hypercompetent folks who assure you that one’s own generation doesn’t have the lock on brains and talent, and I’m not just saying that because I strongly suspect that one day she’ll be running a publishing company and I want to be among the first in line to toady and fawn. I’m interested in her seeing mad hot editing skillz in action, and this book looks like a good opportunity for that. Yes, I realize it’s very book geeky to be interested in a book for its editor as well as for its author, but come on. As if I’m not a book geek.
“which apparently now has a warehouse in Cincinatti”
John, how long have you been in this part of the state? It’s “Cincinnati,” not “Cincinatti.”
To be fair, I lived in the city THREE YEARS before I could spell it right.
And when I lived in Cleveland, I thought it was in Kentucky.
nothing wrong with being a book geek — we like you. in fact, most of us resemble that remark; that’s how we get into the publishing biz… not much of a surprise.
but shower appreciation on editors. they always like it!
“John, how long have you been in this part of the state? It’s ‘Cincinnati,’ not ‘Cincinatti.'”
Clearly, I need a copyeditor.
“but shower appreciation on editors. they always like it!”
As do we all!
I keep trying to add that book to my Amazon wish list, but Amazon won’t let me. I’m a big fan of gothic horror.
And lest ye think I’m tossing you and your work aside for another author, rest assured that Old Man’s War sits in my bookshelf, the dust jacket lovingly protected by those cool plastic protectors.
(Jeez, time to stop drinking those double expressos)
Man, those serial commas. I snag on them a little bit whenever I see one. AP or death!
“Another reason I’m interested in Four and Twenty, incidentally, is that it was edited by the most excellent Liz Gorinsky…”
She sounds hot!
“AP or death!”
Exactly. You can always tell which writers have a reporting or newspaper becakground by how they feel about the serial comma.
Dan-o, I know you’re being silly here, but in fact Liz is pretty hot. Aside from being organized and scary smart. And tall! Really, if I weren’t already married to a hot, organized and scary smart tall woman, I’d probably be embarassing myself trying to find ways to ask her out. Fortunately for her, she is safe from my dorkitude in this regard.
yes, of course we all do. i was mostly referring to us often underappreciated publishing peons… much as the lengthy acknowledgements sections are being deplored all over the place, the daily grind still feels thankless.
Since I don’t know what the AP standards are, do you like serial commas or not? Personally, I was taught to use them way back in elementary school, so I still do. OTOH, I’ve had arguments with my manager when I put them in my reports.
(Had I my wits about me a few hours ago when John called to ask a question about copyediting protocol, I probably would have said something more like:)
As I was reading your post, I was blushing hard enough that I suspect you could’ve felt it all the way from New York to Ohio. And then I got to the comments section. Now I think I’m gonna have to slink under my desk and hide there until I figure out how the heck I’m going to measure up to all this baseless flattery. I mean, aren’t editors supposed to be invisible?
On the upside, if I ever need a marriage broker, I now know exactly who to ask.
“The two aren’t exclusive, of course; but I suspect one is more useful than the other, and at some point I’ll explain why. ”
I hope you do, this sounds intriguing.
“Now I think I’m gonna have to slink under my desk and hide there until I figure out how the heck I’m going to measure up to all this baseless flattery.”
See? She’s modest, too!
Baseless flattery? I think not.
Would a “squee” be unprofessional here? Because I’m *totally* about to blow it, then …
Many, many thanks for the plug. And now, of course, I’m dying to know what you’ll think of it.
And hey – NO KIDDING re: Liz. She is nothing short of phenomenal, and that book is vastly improved for having had her on board. She’s simply amazing – and she bakes a mean cookie, too. Yes, my editor [:: prepares to brag a little ::] sent me a tin of cookies she baked … shaped like BIRDS, with a little cut-out of the book cover art taped to the tin. How freakin’ cool is that?
(As an aside: I am perpetually amused and proud whenever her name comes up in the context of me/my book — and people “in the know” tell me how lucky I am to get to work with her. They are 100% right, and I could not agree with them more. )
“Yes, my editor [:: prepares to brag a little ::] sent me a tin of cookies she baked … shaped like BIRDS, with a little cut-out of the book cover art taped to the tin. How freakin’ cool is that?”
Patrick never bakes me cookies. Damn it, I want editor cookies too!
I actually finished my copyedit last night, so I’ll be getting to 4&20 real soon now. I actually sneaked the first chapter last night, and so far, so good.
John: Well, er, OMW’s copy-edit job wasn’t *quite* perfect. You’ve no doubt been alerted to this already, since I’m rather late to the Old Man’s War party, but just in case it’s managed to slip by the radar:
On the bottom of page 72 of the 1st edition hardback, 2nd- and 3rd-to-last lines on the page:
“If any of us were still thinking Earth was the center of the human universe,” Harry said, “now would be an excellent time to revise that theory,” Harry said.
Currently on page 164 and thoroughly enjoying it.