Tuesday, April 19, 2005


For all the newbees out there here is something to learn...This is NOT the case in every book, but it is something to know can happen.
>Galleys are the final call for catching errors. SMALL ERRORS, not big ones. You wonder why there are so many errors seen today? Reason? Money. Someone has to foot the bill for major changes.
>When you sell your book, you have an editor, who does that...edits and changes things to tighter or catch errors. But there is also the copy editor. The CE on occasion makes changes to your writing, too. I am hearing horror stories of CE's changing chapters around, merging chapters, removing scene breaks, inserting scene breaks...inserting their own writing (!), removing historical or locale touches, changing humour. If the writer misses these and they go onto the galley part of the process and then writer at that stage catches big changes and want things put back then - guess what....if you demand changes it will COST you, maybe up to $1000!!!
>If a writer screams about a CE's changed and the editor backs her, then the changes come out of the publisher's pocket. However, if the writer demands changes after it's into galleys, and the editor doesn't go to bat for them saying the CE made drastic changes were not authorised then the changes comes out of the writers royalties! Bottom in - someone will foot the tab.

This is not the case. May people will offer praise for CE, but some may be CE from hell.

I was reading pubs screaming how they had been done, that CE rewrote whole passages. One described her chapter being rearranged, she had several very short chapters and then letters between them, which pushed the plot. That is how she wanted her story to work, and her editor agreed. The CE wrote whole passages, removed many "Regency words", removed the letters between each chapter, and merged bunches of chapters together. She insert several pages of her own writing.

The Nightmare of this, the editor went away on vacation and the pre-galley edits never went back to the writer, instead went on to the gallery process. When the writer got the galley, here was her book totally ruined. She, understandably, screamed to high heaven and demanded they change things back. She got a notice from her editor that it would cost $900 to put things back as she intended and it would come out of her pocket!

Well, I about fell over. I told my agent, I thought they were threatened the writer to make her shut up and accept it. My agent said NO, that either the publisher pays or the writer pays when major changes are called for after it hits the galley.

In this case the agent pushed it to the wall, so they changed the book back without charging the writer, but that they WOULD charge the writer if they demanded big changes after it goes to galley. Small changes such as typos can usually be corrected for "free", but major ones could see the writer holding the bill.

I would think in the instances where CE make really bad editing changes they could risk their job. If a publisher had to pay too many times, they'd get really ticked! Some of the CE's are college students "interning" and many have little or no historical or regional background to make these judgments.

In my case, this really caused me concern. My voice tends to show it's Scottishness, and it's what I wanted. I Americanized my book, but since my story is set in Scotland I wanted people to know what I was writing about. My agent said it would be part of the contract she'd see for me, that my "voice" and "Scottishness" were left untouched.

I just thought it something unpubs should be aware of so they would watch their contract and what the whole process very closely least they have a book they don't know or left with their advance eaten up because of someone else's bad choices.

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