Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Publishers and Technology

Perhaps Kelly has already had this experience (as we share the same editor), but I was just asked if I could do my copy editing electronically. Electronically!!!

You're probably thinking: so what, Lyda? Doesn't everyone use Word's track changes feature to do that? Well, maybe most modern businesses do, but, in my experience, big New York publishers (at least mine) didn't...until now. Everything had always been about the paper with Penguin. Lots and lots of trees sacrificed their lives in service to the post-production phase of novel making.

It used to baffle my students when I showed them the huge stack of paper that was my novel with all the writing on it from various editors, copy-editors, and me. Many looked at me with wonder... "Don't they just use the electronic copy you send them?" No, I explained. I wasn't sure what that was for, because paper was clearly paramount.

Ah, it is the ending of an era, but I salute the publishing industry's footsteps into the 21st century of technology!


Kelly McCullough said...

Hasn't happened to me yet, but I can hope. I actually much prefer editing and the like on the electronic document. Very cool.

Douglas Hulick said...

I prefer paper. Something about the writing in the margins and the flipping the pages and chapters in collated piles around the room. Plus all the notes and changes I mark on the backs of the pages for further reference.

Ah well. I suppose I need to get an up-to-date copy of Word at some point down the road, anyhow. (We hates the MS Word, my precious -- stupid little Gateses used his tricksies to market it better than Word Perfect!)

Anonymous said...

Am still very much learning how to edit from electronic copy (e-copy?). I find that I don't catch as many mistakes as I do with hard copy, though. Sounds like I tend to edit similar to Douglas. ;)

lydamorehouse said...

Well, these are the rather small copy-editing bits. I think it makes more sense, if only because you can search and I tended to worry that I was missing the various notes in the margins or post-it notes that were scribbled and pasted in the margins.

Anonymous said...

I can still remember the novelty of sending one of my articles to a magazine editor as an email attachment. They were surprised by it but willing to give it a try. Soon after that it became their standard.

I find it odd that many magazines still require that manuscripts be sent in paper format. Resistance is futile.