WisCon was absolutely fantastic. I had more fun at that con than at anything I’ve done in a long, long time. I got to talk to several of the authors I edit (China Mieville and Ann Zeddies), got to have lunch with Jim Minz of Tor, and got to give my “living room” panel on copyediting. Everything went wonderfully! It seemed that the audience really enjoyed my panel on copyediting, and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to discuss it!

6 thoughts on “WisCon”

  1. Did our potential questions help? Also, what question (and answer) do you think is the best to help a writer understand the copyeditor role?

    Glad you enjoyed Wiscon. I am jealous of all of you who attended!

  2. Boy, it’s a small world. Minz was the in-house editor at Tor for Gathering the Bones. Did you copy-edit that as well?

    Looking forward to reading Ann’s latest. Still not out at the bookstores here. I’ll probably pick up a copy in Toronto if possible.


  3. Sorry for the delay in replying; you must be at Clarion by now, Eli!

    The CE living room was wonderful! Everyone seemed to enjoy finding out more about the copyediting process, and they were all wonderfully nice. Perhaps I’ll get to copyedit some of their books someday!

  4. Hi, John! I’m so sorry I haven’t replied before! Life has been terribly hectic here!

    I think that one of the most useful things for writers to understand is the nature of the querying process. There’s a joke about copyeditors: How many copyeditors does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Copyeditors aren’t allowed to change anything; they just query as to whether the author truly prefers it dark.

    When I return a manuscript, it typically has hundreds of queries on it. Some of them are very detailed notes on plot inconsistencies, while others are simple one-word notations of an item I’ve previously asked the author about changing throughout the book. If I find that I’m querying an item like the latter quite a bit, I often try sending the question to the publisher in order to cut down on the queries the author has to review.

    Unfortunately, the process of querying the publisher is complicated. The person who hires the freelancers (copy editors and proofreaders) is not the editor who bought the author’s book. I have to query the person who hired me(the “managing editor” or “production editor” or “project editor”), and that person then sends the query to the editor. The editor sends it to the author. When the author answers, the whole process has to reverse its way back to me. All the while, I’m continuing with my copyediting because I only have a very set time in which to complete it. Editors and authors are often out of town or very busy, so it is not uncommon for me to finish copyediting a text before I receive a reply. This results in hundreds of the *same* queries all over a manuscript. That many Post-Its can irk even the most patient author; understanding the process might soothe their annoyance.

  5. Which Steve are you? I need names, doggone it! :-)

    I haven’t actually done any work for Tor yet, so I wasn’t the copyeditor for _Gathering the Bones._ Did you work on or have something in that one?

    _Steel Helix_ is out now, and it’s available at Amazon. I enjoyed working on it enormously. Ann Zeddies did a really great job on the pacing in that. It’s always a joy to get to copyedit a book you don’t want to put down. :-)

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