The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Aug 1, 2009 - Reference - 148 pages
15 Reviews

Each year writers and editors submit over three thousand grammar and style questions to the Q&A page at The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Some are arcane, some simply hilarious—and one editor, Carol Fisher Saller, reads every single one of them. All too often she notes a classic author-editor standoff, wherein both parties refuse to compromise on the "rights" and "wrongs" of prose styling: "This author is giving me a fit." "I wish that I could just DEMAND the use of the serial comma at all times." "My author wants his preface to come at the end of the book. This just seems ridiculous to me. I mean, it’s not a post-face."

In The Subversive Copy Editor, Saller casts aside this adversarial view and suggests new strategies for keeping the peace. Emphasizing habits of carefulness, transparency, and flexibility, she shows copy editors how to build an environment of trust and cooperation. One chapter takes on the difficult author; another speaks to writers themselves. Throughout, the focus is on serving the reader, even if it means breaking "rules" along the way. Saller’s own foibles and misadventures provide ample material: "I mess up all the time," she confesses. "It’s how I know things."

Writers, Saller acknowledges, are only half the challenge, as copy editors can also make trouble for themselves. (Does any other book have an index entry that says "terrorists. See copy editors"?) The book includes helpful sections on e-mail etiquette, work-flow management, prioritizing, and organizing computer files. One chapter even addresses the special concerns of freelance editors.

Saller’s emphasis on negotiation and flexibility will surprise many copy editors who have absorbed, along with the dos and don’ts of their stylebooks, an attitude that their way is the right way. In encouraging copy editors to banish their ignorance and disorganization, insecurities and compulsions, the Chicago Q&A presents itself as a kind of alter ego to the comparatively staid Manual of Style. In The Subversive Copy Editor, Saller continues her mission with audacity and good humor.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
10
3 stars
0
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself)

User Review  - Eveningstar2 - Goodreads

Ostensibly a book by editors, for editors, about becoming a better editor. The book is not about style or grammar, but professionalism, negotiation, and the art of getting along with your client. A ... Read full review

Review: The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself)

User Review  - Goodreads

I don't give a lot of five star ratings, but I loved this. It was perfect for me. I've been a fan of Chicago's Q&A for years, and here it is in boom format! And I found lots of ideas I am going to start using. Read full review

Contents

Part One Working with the Writer for the Reader
1
Part Two Working with Your Colleagues and with Yourself
55
You Still Want to Be a Copy Editor? Breaking In
117
Acknowledgments
121

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Carol Fisher Saller is a senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press and the editor of TheChicago Manual of Style Online’s Q&A.

Bibliographic information