Thursday, April 14, 2011

More on the "New" Editing in Publishing

Yesterday I blogged about re-thinking my decision to go with self-publishing and cease beating my head against a wall of traditional publishers and their gatekeeper infrastructure. I suppose I'm not really rethinking that decision, but rather re-stating it and expanding on the reasons why I made it.

I actually wrote that post some time the day before that and scheduled it to post later. Since then, several other posts to TWV2 have been made. One writer who is under consideration for a contract with a traditional publisher for a Bible study said she received an e-mail from the publisher, saying what they are expecting of her for a platform: so many Facebook followers by a fixed date; so many speaking engagements by a fixed date. More on platform later.

Another writer, who has been at it full time for close to thirty years, told how he has seen the pub house editing function change over the years. Once they had multiple editors assigned to a project. An editor for proof-reading, and editor for checking quotes, a general editor, etc. Five or six different editors touched and tweaked the contents of a book before it went out. But that changed, this writer said:
About 20 years ago I saw a drastic change: Publishers eliminated many of those positions, citing smaller profits. Today the responsibility is on writers. The most I get from a CBA or ABA publisher is what I call a broad-brush editor, who makes a general edit. After I respond, I receive the copyedited manuscript. Sometimes that version is the print proofs, but usually, I receive one final time to catch typos and punctuation errors-and there are always a few.
So again, I ask myself, and the traditional publishers in the world: What is the advantage to the writer to go with you? If you aren't even going to edit our books, not even proof-read them, we might as well publish them ourselves.

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