IVP - Andy Unedited - Don't Tick Off Your Copyeditor

June 19, 2012

Don't Tick Off Your Copyeditor

At the end of last month Postmedia Network, Canada’s largest newspaper publisher, announced layoffs that targeted copyeditors. The next day, Canada’s National Post published a crossword puzzle that was completely filled in.

This is publishing terrorism at its worst. Clearly copyeditors have a vicious, violent temperament ready to explode in nuclear bloodlust at the slightest provocation. Here´s some other wild, wicked and sadistic tricks your copyeditor might pull on you if you aren´t nice:

  • Ignore a request to reword an awkward sentence—and a devilish, scheming copy editor might spell out all the numbers in your manuscript. (Oooh, that’s bad!)
  • Complain about heavy editing—the revengeful copy editor might replace the preferred spelling of a word with the accepted second choice. (That’s just mean!)
  • Forget to fill in all the required bibliographic data—the fiendish copy editor could allow your inconsistent capitalization of “garden of Eden” to stand. (Clearly outside the bounds of all that we call sacred in our civilization!)

What other unconscionable acts of random ungrammaticality can you think of that copyeditors might launch?

Now you know: Hell hath no fury like a copyeditor scorned. So if you don’t want to be responsible for triggering someone going editorial, remember: Don’t tick off your copyeditor.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at June 19, 2012 9:01 AM Bookmark and Share


Shane Joy, yes. Frustration, no. The way I see it, the errors are mine, so the only prsoen I can legitimately get annoyed at is me! Not that I don't get annoyed with myself quite often, come to think of it . . .Wordhelper You know, I could write an entire dissertation on why writers need editors, but my small post will have to do for now. (Thanks for suggesting it's enough!) As for the issue of authors needing to be published . . . hmmm, a tricky one that. I have a PhD in composition, but the only piece of music of mine that ever got published was something I wrote in high school. I hate to think that it is that piece that qualifies me to call myself a composer, you know? (Not that I compose anymore, but you get the idea.) At the same time, I have met a lot of people who have started (and never finished) writing a book, so there's definitely a hurdle to be overcome there. I'm just grateful I'm at the published end of the equation, as life is definitely better here!Editdebs I'm so sorry to hear that you're ever referred to as the enemy of the writer. That's the polar opposite of my experience. Perhaps, being immersed in children's literature, I've got a slightly warped notion of the writer-editor relationship, but all my fellow YA authors seem to adore their editors too. Certainly, I think it should be a vital and energizing relationship, as long as there is trust and openness, and (from time to time) gratitude for what each other brings to the table. Or maybe I've just been lucky in my editor, copyeditor, cover designer, etc! Anyway, thank you for doing your best to improve the work of my fellow authors I appreciate it every time I read someone else's books.

Comment by: Gerson at July 20, 2012 6:53 PM

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book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.