Carol Saller: “Finding Our Way: Writing and Editing in the New Publishing Landscape”This was the keynote speech by Carol Saller, the Subversive Copy Editor and senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press. She referred to a report from the Association of American Publishers using BookStats that seemed to show that revenues for print overall were increasing. She also went through an overview of the different kinds of publishing available:
- Conventional: publisher pays production costs, writer gets percentage of the net revenue. A large number of copies of the book are printed together.
- Print on demand (POD): a printing technique that makes it practical to print small batches of books. See the Espresso Book Machine (video).
- Self-publishing: the author handles the whole production process. See CreateSpace, which provides a collection of online tools, both free and paid, to set up a book.
- Subsidy publishing: the author and publisher split the cost of production and the author gets a higher percentage of the royalties than in a conventional publishing system.
E-book panelA panel on e-books that discussed some of the advantages of e-books (authors can continue to sell books that would otherwise not be kept in print) and some of the technical challenges of the formats. Not all e-book publishers eat their own dog food. Panelist Bob Mayer mentioned an overview of e-book formats on his company blog Write it Forward: “Keeping up with e-book technology.”
How to write an effective book proposal by Jennifer Worick and Kerry ColburnSee how to write an effective book proposal for a summary of this presentation.
Marketing for freelancers by Frank CatalanoSee a summary of the marketing presentation at Wandering Muse Salon.
Carol Saller on subversive copy editingThe last session of the day was Carol Saller again, talking about her philosophy for harmonious copy editing: carefulness, transparency, flexibility.
- Carefulness: Before you change something, make sure that it should be changed. An example of lack of carefulness would be meticulously changing every single instance of a misspelling that turns out to be a special term commonly used in the field. To make sure you do no harm, use Google to search for terms that look odd, and if you see an error repeated consistently, query it.
- Transparency: Show your changes. Explain to the author ahead of time what changes they can expect, and if you’re using a word processor, track your changes. Explaining your changes, showing them, and making it easy to roll them back builds trust with the author.
- Flexibility: This is the subversive part. Some styles are really pretty arbitrary (for instance, whether you put a comma between the author and date in a citation). If an author wants to do something that is against the house style but isn’t actually going to hurt readability, maybe it’s OK.
Other notes about the conference
- Search for the Twitter hashtag #RedPen11 for more Red Pencil in the Woods comments and highlights.
- Get some of the session handouts on the Red Pencil site.
- Kyra Freestar’s conference notes at The Editor’s POV. Includes some follow-up and notes on the keynote speech about the future of publishing and the panel on e-books.