My collaborators – strangers – probably read my email about edit approval, shook their collective heads, and muttered, There’s one in every group. Hope she’s not going to be a problem.
And on my end, I was cringing a bit myself. There are only so many emojis you can use in an email to convey a light-hearted nature. Hey guys, I’m not a jerk. I’m just slightly anal about some issues. Editing being one.
I insisted on final approval of all edits. I didn’t insist immediately. I threw it out there, sort of. Then I felt a pat on the top of my head. Not literally, of course. But it was as if they were saying, Don’t worry. This guy knows what he’s doing. Understand that I’m writing this without looking back on months of emails. These are my impressions.
I had the feeling they didn’t take my request as seriously as I meant it. Well, later they did. But, not at first. They probably wondered why I would question Steve’s (you’ll meet him later and you’ll like him) qualifications and capability. But I wasn’t.
No, it was nothing like that. I’d been burned badly on edits. How badly, you ask? Well, two years after receiving my submission, a national magazine contacted me. They were going to run my story. No mention of edits. That should have been my first thought – instead of Holy Crap, they’re publishing my story… When I held the glossy edition and excitedly flipped to my byline, the changes they made left me breathless – not in a good way.
Another magazine decided my article was too long. Instead of contacting me, they arbitrarily cut out several paragraphs. I say arbitrarily because if they had read them first, they’d have realized that without these paragraphs much of what I wrote made no sense. Once it’s in print, there’s no fixing it.
Then there was the time I worked with an editor who refused to accept fragmented sentences. You can imagine how that ended.
And another time a publisher missed the last page of my work. The final paragraphs. They actually said they didn’t understand why I was so upset. So, trust me, there are reasons I insist on seeing the final manuscript draft.
On the other hand, good editing has saved me from some serious grammar gaffes amongst other unintended mistakes. Editing is a tedious but necessary job. In my opinion, the editor for this anthology (stay tuned for the title in a future blog) was conscientious and respectful. He knew his stuff, too.
Yes, indeed, a good editor is worth their weight in gold. What do you mean, that’s a cliché?