Posts Tagged: Lone Pine Publishing

Editorial Standards and Detail Editing at Lone Pine Publishing

 

By Kelsey Dawn Everton

ABSTRACT: This report examines the evolution and current state of detail editing—including copy editing, proofreading, and other fine-level work—at Lone Pine Publishing, a mid-sized book publisher. Though budget and resource limitations and shifting editorial roles have necessitated some editorial changes, detail editing remains paramount to Lone Pine’s books. This report begins with an analysis of detail editing at Lone Pine, including several specific detail-oriented editorial projects, and establishes how detail editing fits into the larger editorial process. Next, it examines wider editorial trends in Canadian trade book editing, and what they mean: some critics have questioned whether texts are as well edited as they used to be. The report concludes with a case study of ebook creation at Lone Pine, and considers where detail editing at Lone Pine will go in the future.

 

 


DEDICATION

For my mom,

who has always been my editor.

 

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

My sincerest thanks to Mary Schendlinger and Rowland Lorimer for their insightful, patient feedback and assistance in shaping this report. I am also grateful to all the students and staff of the Master of Publishing Program for everything I‘ve learned from them.

Thank you to everyone at Lone Pine Publishing and in the offices for sharing their time and expertise with me, especially Nancy Foulds, Sheila Quinlan, Gary Whyte, Nicholle Carrière, Faye Boer, Tracey Comeau, Wendy Pirk, Gene Longson, Ken Davis, Tom Lore, Glen Rollans, and Shane Kennedy.

Andy, Amy and Rick, and the GAP girls: your encouragement has meant so much to me. Thank you.

And thank you to my parents, Rob and Gisela Everton, for all of their love and support, and for always cheering me on.

 

 


CONTENTS

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Introduction: A Brief History of Lone Pine Publishing

Chapter 1: Detail Editing at Lone Pine
++++Detail Editing Projects
++++Detail Editing in Context

Chapter 2: Editing at Lone Pine
++++Editorial Structure
++++The Evolution of Editing at Lone Pine

Chapter 3: Standards of Detail Editing in Canadian Trade Book Publishing

Chapter 4: The Future of Detail Editing at Lone Pine
++++A Case Study: Ebooks at Lone Pine
++++Looking to Lone Pine’s Future

Notes

Bibliography

 

 


INTRODUCTION

A BRIEF HISTORY OF LONE PINE PUBLISHING

Lone Pine Publishing, a trade book publisher in Edmonton, Alberta, was founded in 1980 by Grant Kennedy and Shane Kennedy. Lone Pine’s regional mandate was evident right from the start—its first book published was The Albertans, featuring profiles of noteworthy and influential Albertans. Lone Pine‘s main focus, however, was nature and natural history, and Lone Pine’s early titles focused on outdoor living in Alberta. One early title was the Canadian Rockies Access Guide, which is still in print.

Regional publishing flourished in Alberta during the early 1980s. From Lone Pine’s beginnings as a regional Alberta publisher, it expanded to become a regional publisher in other parts of Canada and the United States: “We have attempted to be a good regional publisher in every region where we are present.”[1] This ultra-regional business model means that Lone Pine can produce book series like Birds of Alberta, Birds of British Columbia, Birds of Ontario, Birds of Washington State, and Birds of Texas—which may have considerable overlap but will also be tailored to specific regions.

Lone Pine’s editorial mandate is market-driven. Titles in a series are developed and selected based on how previous books have sold and in what markets. In the 1990s, Lone Pine published a series of gardening guides by Lois Hole, who went on to become Alberta’s fifteenth Lieutenant Governor; the success of these titles encouraged Lone Pine to develop its own lines of gardening guides.

A characteristic that sets Lone Pine apart from many other regional publishers is that it handles its own sales and distribution. A large percentage of Lone Pine books are distributed through non-traditional distribution channels, including through Lone Pine racks at grocery stores such as Superstore, businesses such as Canadian Tire, and small retail outlets throughout the country. Since Lone Pine has a distribution system in place, it also sells and distributes books for a number of other small publishers.

Lone Pine is a distinctive brand, especially in certain regions such as Alberta. The publisher’s name is known, and Lone Pine books are identifiable by the public as being published by Lone Pine, which is uncommon for book publishers. This brand recognition is in part a result of Lone Pine’s non-traditional distribution.

As of 2010, Lone Pine publishes twelve to twenty new titles per year, including gardening books, nature guides, popular history books, and cookbooks.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

DETAIL EDITING AT LONE PINE

During the summer of 2010, I was an intern at Lone Pine Publishing. My job as an intern was to provide editorial support to the in-house editorial team, particularly with detail editing. During the summer at Lone Pine, most titles are in various stages of editorial development. Most books come out in the spring—for example, in advance of the gardening season—which means that books enter production during the fall so that they are in the warehouse for early spring. When one editor went on maternity leave early in 2010, Lone Pine decided that the addition of a summer editorial intern would free up time for the remaining editorial staff to focus on the bigger-picture work on their spring 2011 titles. My vantage point for this report, therefore, is that of a designated detail editor, a new layer of editorial support at Lone Pine, who was in a good position to both observe and experience firsthand detail editing at Lone Pine.

What is detail editing? It’s not a term found in the Editors’ Association of Canada’s (EAC) Professional Editorial Standards. Nor is it found in many other descriptions of the editorial process, most of which divide editing into roles: acquiring editor, stylistic (line) editor, copy editor, proofreader, managing editor, and so on.[2] But editing is practically synonymous with handling detail. Editors “are people who are good at process…Their jobs are to aggregate information, parse it, restructure it, and make sure it meets standards. They are basically QA [quality assurance] for language and meaning.”[3] Detail editing, then, is an encompassing term that differs slightly in meaning from publisher to publisher and from project to project. It covers the myriad of detail-oriented editorial tasks that are necessary in the completion of a project, which may include copy editing, proofreading, fact checking, and other required fine-level work. Since my internship was during the summer, when few titles are in production, my job involved less copy editing and proofreading than might be expected at other times of the year. But it did involve a number of important detail-oriented tasks that all came down to ensuring the accuracy and reliability of Lone Pine’s books.

Every publisher handles detail editing differently. Normally at Lone Pine, one editor handles all aspects of the editorial process for a specific project, including copy editing, proofreading, and other detail work. Typically there isn’t a designated detail editor who takes on those particular tasks. Some detail tasks—ones that aren’t necessarily specific to one project, for instance, or that are specialized in some way—are divided amongst editors according to their workload, skill set, and specific knowledge. For example, many Lone Pine books rely highly on commissioned illustrations of birds, bugs, mammals, and other species. Many of the illustration-tracking editorial tasks are given to one editor, Gary Whyte, because he has the best understanding of how the illustrations database operates. Other detail tasks, such as quickly checking over a reprint file from production before it is sent to the printer, are assigned to whichever editor is least busy at the time. Everyone in the editorial department at Lone Pine, then, is involved in detail editing.

Detail editing is important to all publishers. Publishers strive to avoid embarrassing typos and mistakes in grammar or usage because those convey a sense of amateurism and incompetence. Publishers want to be taken seriously and want to be seen as expert and capable. Mistakes and errors in all sorts of details suggest sloppiness and unreliability. This is true in more than just publishing: job seekers are nearly always encouraged to make sure there are no misspellings in their cover letters and résumés, because those imply a lack of care and responsibility.[4] The importance of detail editing in publishing goes far beyond correcting typos, however. Ensuring attention to editorial detail adds a mark of professionalism to a publication, and with professionalism comes credibility. Credibility is one of Thomas Woll’s three Cs for successful publishing: “Credibility is a fragile trait that is built over time but it is one you ultimately must have to be successful. To be credible, you must focus on commitment and consistency.”[5] Commitment and consistency are absolutely crucial, but detail editing can go a long way to ensuring a publisher’s credibility as well.

Credibility is particularly important to a publisher like Lone Pine, because their brand and reputation are built on small details being correct and trustworthy. Accuracy in details is especially crucial in the information-based types of books that Lone Pine produces, including guidebooks, gardening books, and cookbooks. A photo caption that misidentifies a bird species could be disastrous in a guidebook, which is supposed to be a dependable source of information; the reader, instead of understanding it was just a mistake, could easily assume the author did not know what he was talking about and discredit the entire book. Seemingly minor (and even unintentional) omissions or errors can seriously compromise the integrity of an entire publication. A 2003 issue of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s PureCanada magazine had a number of such small errors, including leaving out Prince Edward Island and misspelling Nunavut on a map; such infelicities call into question the reliability (and biases) of the entire publication.[6] Similar mistakes have occasionally occurred at Lone Pine—a heading for a “Makkard” instead of “Mallard” that had somehow crept into a fifth edition of a bird book had one reader outraged and demanding his money back. Presumably he not only lost his faith in the book, but also in the publisher and the Lone Pine brand. Books like nature guides and cookbooks need to be reliable in their smallest details in order to be credible and taken seriously in their larger ones. The Lone Pine brand and reputation are built on being reliable and trustworthy, and so detail editing work is essential.

 

Detail Editing Projects

The tasks I performed at Lone Pine were many and diverse, but all were detail-oriented. It should be noted that this discussion of detail editorial work is not limited to what I did as a detail editor, but applies also to all editors at Lone Pine, since editors often perform various detail editing tasks on their own titles. Also, many more reprints than new titles were published during the summer, which is why this conversation may refer more to detail editing in reprints than in new titles. But the tasks and theory of detail editing apply equally to all types of projects, including new titles and reprints.

One detail editing project was to do a preliminary edit of and create a style guide for an upcoming cookbook by the executive chef of a local Italian restaurant group, Sorrentino’s. Cookbooks present a number of genre-specific editorial challenges. Cookbook readers expect consistency and clarity. Ingredients must be included in both the ingredient list and in the directions: a reader would be most irate to discover, halfway through making a dish, that the recipe directions include an ingredient that is not on the list and that she therefore didn‘t pick up on her trip to the grocery store. Directions also must be straightforward and complete; leaving out cooking time or temperature would frustrate readers. Bonnie Stern, a cookbook author, demonstrates the importance of details in a cookbook by explaining how one recipe didn’t work: “In one of my books I included a recipe for a ‘magic’ cake. You put the dry ingredients in a baking pan and make three indentations. In one you put the vanilla, in another the milk, and oil in the third. Somehow, I neglected to say ‘stir.’ And no one did!”[7]

To create a style guide for this new cookbook, I looked first to a previous Lone Pine cookbook style sheet. While it was extremely helpful—explaining, for example, to use both metric and Imperial measurements, and to add an s to the end of 2 lbs but not 2 Tbsp—it did not cover things like exactly how to form the telegraphed, or abbreviated, cookbook direction style (“heat milk in pot over medium” instead of “heat the milk in a pot over medium heat”), likely because previous cookbook editors had internalized the rules for doing so. The previous style guide also didn’t cover how to treat some of the rare Italian ingredients that hadn‘t been featured in previous cookbooks: should it be recioto wine or just recioto? recioto or reciota? capitalized or not? italicized as a foreign word or not? Many new decisions had to be made for the sake of consistency and clarity. Equipped with the previous style guide, I went through the cookbook manuscript. Some changes were obvious—for example, adding metric measurements of millilitres and kilograms in brackets behind the cups and pounds. Others were more debatable, and were added to a list of style guide questions. In particular, in the interest of creating a telegraphed cookbook style, should small words like the and a be used? If so, when?

Lone Pine’s offices have a collection of literally hundreds of cookbooks, so those were used to do an informal survey of how other publishers handle cookbook directions. Some used both the and a (“put the onions in a pan”), some used neither (“put onions in pan”), and some used one and not the other. While there were exceptions, a pattern emerged: oversized, photo-heavy, glossy cookbooks, the ones that often featured luxurious travel accounts and profiles, gave directions in full sentences, using the and a. Functional, practical cookbooks omitted the small words altogether and gave directions in terse, economical terms. The tone for this Sorrentino’s cookbook was to be somewhere in between: a beautiful gourmet cookbook by a local celebrity of sorts, but one with recipes that were intended to be made at home by real, everyday people. In consultation with the editorial director, Nancy Foulds, we established a new tone that was appropriate for this project, omitting the unless it was absolutely necessary and retaining a: “put onions in a pan.” A similar process was undertaken for every cookbook style question: a survey of what other publishers and sources did and an analysis of the options, followed by in-house discussion and a final decision. In this case, detail editing was crucial not only for consistency and clarity, but also for establishing and formalizing the tone of the entire book.

Another of the editorial support tasks necessary at Lone Pine is to format manuscripts that have come in electronically from their authors. Usually, the project editor will do this at some point during the editorial process, but a detail editor doing some of the formatting up front will save the project editor time. The production department at Lone Pine requires that all files be submitted to them in Microsoft Word .doc files, 12-pt Times (not Times New Roman), with no styles or heading levels applied. Therefore, any styles that the author has introduced must be removed before sending the file to production—or in this case, before passing the file along to its editor. A number of other detail tasks must be done at Lone Pine when formatting an electronic manuscript, all intended to make the job of the next editor and production staff easier. Double word spaces between sentences—which generations of students were taught to do—are replaced with a single space. Paragraphs are separated by a single blank line. Soft returns or carriage returns, which show up as an arrow (↵) when viewing hidden formatting marks, are replaced by hard returns or paragraph breaks (¶). Extra paragraph marks that manually force paragraphs to start a new page are eliminated and, if necessary, page breaks are added. Lists or tables for which the author has lined up columns using tabs or extra word spaces are properly formatted. Non-breaking spaces between numbers and measurements—for example, 15 cm—are added so that the 15 won’t fall at the end of one line and the cm at the beginning of the next. Of course, all of these things will need to be quickly checked again just before the editor sends the file to production, but getting the bulk of it done at the beginning of the editorial process saves time and aggravation. The exact detail editing tasks performed depend on the manuscript. For one cookbook manuscript, I arranged all the elements of each recipe into a consistent order (recipe title, recipe contributor, story about the recipe, number of people the recipe served, ingredient list, and then cooking directions) and moved some material (such as contributors’ contact information and recipe submission numbers) out of the manuscript and into a spreadsheet. For one gardening book, the project editor, Sheila Quinlan, authorized me to fix any spelling or grammatical mistakes I happened to notice while formatting. Detail editing through formatting aims to create a smooth journey in-house for the manuscript, and therefore a clean final product.

Another example of detail editing work at Lone Pine relates to marketing. Editorial and production staff work very closely with marketing at Lone Pine. Many publishers prepare advance book information sheets (ABIs), or tipsheets, early in a book’s life at the publishing house. At Douglas & McIntyre, for example, an ABI “contains such information as the book’s title and physical specifications, as well as a summary of the book, perhaps a table of contents, an author biography, and a list of the author’s previous work. The ABI forms the basis of all jacket and catalogue copy.”[8] At Lone Pine, editorial doesn’t provide a formal ABI that marketing later draws from; instead, marketing creates two sellsheets (one preliminary and one more detailed closer to the book’s release) in consultation with editorial. Instead of functioning as an in-house guide as ABIs do, sellsheets are targeted more at those outside the house, such as booksellers, and include information like title, author bio, and marketing copy. This marketing copy is written based on information about the book sent to marketing by the editorial director and the project’s editor. Before distributing sellsheets, marketing sends them back to editorial for approval. Attention to detail here is important not only to catch typos and use consistent formatting (for example, the first words on each bullet point on Lone Pine sellsheets is to be capitalized, and the last bullet point is to be followed by a period) but also to make sure that the description and its tone are accurate and that the information (such as number of pages) is correct. As a detail editor, I checked over several sellsheets and made corrections and gathered information when necessary—such as tracking down a gardening-related author bio from an author who had written other Lone Pine books, but not other gardening ones.

The detail editing project that this report looks at most closely is the editorial work that goes into reprinting books. At Lone Pine, books are expected to have a long life and several reprints. Books are intended to make money over the long term (on the backlist), which fits very well with the types of books that Lone Pine publishes: a guide to identifying edible and medicinal plants in Canada, for example, will be relevant not only in the year it is published but for many years to come. Accordingly, every year Lone Pine puts out several reprints. Books are reprinted based on projected sales; a database that tracks sales and returns predicts when a reprint will be needed, and production and marketing staff meet to review which books to reprint. In 2009, 27 books were reprinted.[9] After Lone Pine decides what to reprint, production staff locate the most recent electronic version of the book. Depending on when the book was published or last reprinted, the file may have to be converted from one desktop-publishing format to another; for example, some production files need to be converted from Quark, which Lone Pine used previously, to Adobe InDesign. After production converts the file and makes any design changes that are deemed necessary, the file is passed along to editorial, as either a print-out or an electronic file. According to Gary Whyte, a long-time editor at and former editorial director of Lone Pine, it is Lone Pine policy that absolutely everything production does goes back to editorial for approval.[10]

Checking a reprint is similar to proofreading a new book, but condensed. The same types of things are looked for—errors in type size and style, image placement, text flow, etc.—but it is not read word by word as the first proof of a new book would be.[11] If editorial notices any errors or changes that need to be made to a book after it is published, those are written right in the editorial department copy of the book and flagged. After editorial receives a reprint file, it is checked against the editorial house copy of the most recently published edition—a printed copy of the book in which editors mark any changes, mistakes, or inconsistencies that were discovered after the book was printed (or too late in the publishing process to correct). Any changes that were marked in the book are then marked on the reprint. For example, Container Gardening for the Midwest omitted a few of one photographer’s photo credits on the copyright page, so those were added when the book was reprinted. Any typos that were identified after the book was printed are also corrected in the reprint. For example, a reference to a ganzania that should have been gazania was noticed after Annuals of Ontario was published, and so was noted in the editorial copy and fixed for the reprint. Reprints are an opportunity to correct any mistakes in the previous edition and also a chance to keep the book up to date—for example, websites and phone numbers for nature organizations in Compact Guide to British Columbia Birds were updated in the most recent reprint.

While the reprint file is theoretically virtually the same as the file that was sent to the printer for the previous edition (except for revisions), various infelicities creep in on occasion. Conversion from one file type to another, such as from Quark to InDesign, may (or may not) introduce problems that weren’t in the original book. And, since original image files may have been edited or renamed, a photograph of a rose could be substituted with a different flower or missing altogether. Some of the most important things to watch for when checking a reprint at Lone Pine are photos and illustrations (placement, size, cropping), text flow (does the text wrap around images correctly? have bad line breaks or “rivers” of white space been introduced? is the right material on the right page?), page numbers and headings (does each page have a heading and page number, and are they accurate?) and fonts (are they used consistently?). In Lone Pine‘s bird guide books, each bird species gets a one- or two-page account, with an illustration, an overall description, and detailed information about the bird’s size, colour, nesting habits, bird calls, and so on; accounts are divided into sections based on bird types. In the reprint file for Compact Guide to Atlantic Canada Birds, the headings of one section were in a different font than the headings of the other sections, even though the heading fonts had been consistent in the original book. Editorial identified the inconsistency and production easily corrected it before the reprint went to press. In another bird guidebook, the 348-page Birds of Florida, overall descriptions for each species started with a drop cap. Editorial noticed that in the reprint file, whenever the first word of an account started with the letter A, the spacing around the drop cap was incorrect (but curiously, not when the account started with the indefinite article a). Also, when the first letter of the account started with a W, the justification of the line between the heading and the drop cap—the line that contained the italicized scientific name—was altered. It wasn‘t editorial’s job to determine why this was happening, just to point out the pattern that it was. Production was able to change the file settings to correct it.

After production makes the editor’s changes to the reprint file and the editor approves them—occasionally the document goes back and forth several times until everyone is satisfied with the changes—the reprint is sent to the printer. Lone Pine’s black and white titles are printed in Canada, while full-colour books, such as bird guides and gardening titles, are printed in Hong Kong. After the printer receives the file, they set everything up and return a proof, called a plotter, to Lone Pine. The plotter is a copy of the book as they will print it, although not printed on the same stock as the final book will be. (“Wet proofs” are printed on the same stock and with the exact colour as the final book; Lone Pine requests sample wet proof signatures for new titles but not for reprints.) A plotter isn’t bound, but is gathered into signatures. Production checks the plotter, and then gives it to editorial to quickly check for anything that may have gone awry, such as an image missing or pages in the wrong order. Since changes made to the book after it has reached the plotter stage are expensive, minor errors that editorial notices at this stage, such as typos, will likely go uncorrected (but flagged for correction in the next edition). But any mistakes that were caused by the printer, or that are egregious, or that indicate some other problem, will be fixed. For example, editorial noticed that none of the changes they had made to the reprint file of Birds of Texas showed up in the printer’s proof: for whatever reason, a wrong file had been sent to the printer. Without editors to check for the smallest details, the wrong reprint file would have ended up being printed. Detail editing is not just about the details; the details point to and shape the big picture.

Another example demonstrates the big-picture implications of detail editing. At Lone Pine, front and back covers are handled by a different member of production than book interiors, and the reprint files that are passed to editorial for approval usually don’t include the cover: typically no changes are made to the cover, anyway. The plotters from the printer, however, typically do include the cover. In one case, Lone Pine was reprinting a self-help book that had previously been published by another publisher, and so the design and layout were new. The foreword in the previous edition was removed and replaced by a foreword written by a different individual; the original foreword’s author no longer wished to endorse the teachings of the book. But when editorial received the plotter, complete with the cover, they noticed that an excerpt from the original foreword, credited to the author of the now-removed foreword, still appeared on the back cover. Certainly the author who wanted his introduction taken out also wished the complimentary blurb on the cover to be removed. Fortunately, this oversight could be corrected before the book was reprinted.

While reprints are not typically checked word by word, in some instances certain books, or parts of books, are checked more closely. In one book, a problem in file conversion meant that production had to re-create and rekey an entire table that featured many rows and columns of temperature highs, lows, and averages for different cities. In that case, editorial methodically checked every single word and number on the table against the original in the published book. This example demonstrates that communication between production and editorial is imperative. Had production not informed editorial that the table had been rekeyed, editorial wouldn’t have known to check it so closely and likely would not have done so. While it would be ideal to have each reprint checked word by word and line by line against the original, that would not be practical at Lone Pine (or most any publisher). Nor would it be the most efficient way of doing things. Instead, Lone Pine relies on editors who look for the most common things that can go wrong in a reprint, and on communication between production staff and editors to locate anything that might be an exception to the norm. It’s a balancing situation that speaks to detail editing in general: trying to achieve the best-quality product with the most efficient use of time and resources.

Editorial is a necessary step (or several necessary steps) in the reprint process at Lone Pine. Even though the reprint should theoretically be the same as the original book, which was already approved by editorial before it was printed, the above examples show that it is rarely so straightforward. While most elements of a reprint are correct and do not need adjustment, there are nearly always some details—from the relatively minor to the quite significant—to fix or improve. And whether the details are small or weighty, they are important and worthwhile.

Detail-oriented projects at Lone Pine, whether creating cookbook style guides, formatting manuscripts, evaluating marketing copy, checking reprints, or doing one of the dozens of other everyday detail tasks, reveal much about Lone Pine’s editorial priorities. Because reliability and trustworthiness are essential to Lone Pine’s brand, there must be good quality detail editing. But the company has had to adapt detail editing processes and priorities as new realities have emerged. When Lone Pine had a larger editorial staff, style guide updating was constantly in progress; now it is done more infrequently on an as-needed basis. This practice has disadvantages, as any editor would agree—for one, decisions that aren’t written down can be forgotten and need to be made all over again. But updating style guides less often is also an attempt to address the shrinking time and other resources available for detail editing, and to focus on the tasks that are most crucial. Overall, detail editing at Lone Pine demonstrates the company’s priority for a balance between quality and efficiency, ideally achieving both.

 

Detail Editing in Context

The Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC), a non-profit organization of in-house and freelance Canadian editors, has compiled and published a guide of Professional Editorial Standards, most recently updated in 2009. As its name suggests, this guide provides a list of standards that professional editors will live up to, and details what editorial tasks are carried out at different stages of editing. The first part of the EAC document, The Fundamentals of Editing, explains what all editors should know and do. Among other things, they will have knowledge of the publishing process and the editor’s role within it, and be able to determine and perform the appropriate editorial involvement. Above all, they understand what editing is and what the implications of the editing process are.

The remaining four parts of Professional Editorial Standards establish what needs to be done in the editing process, and divides editing into four stages: structural editing, stylistic editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Structural editing is “assessing and shaping material to improve its organization and content.”[12] In this stage, the editor evaluates a manuscript’s organization and restructures material as necessary. The structural editor may suggest deleting some parts of the manuscript that are repetitive or that detract from the overall argument or narrative, or suggest adding new sections that would enhance the overall work.

Stylistic editing is “editing to clarify meaning, improve flow, and smooth language.”[13] Focus here is on the tone and style of writing, making sure that the sentences and paragraphs clearly communicate the author’s meaning. Stylistic editing can include rearranging sentence order, changing words to be more precise, and eliminating wordiness, all while retaining the author’s voice and an appropriate tone.

Copy editing seeks “to ensure correctness, consistency, accuracy, and completeness.”[14] This stage involves correcting errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage, and identifying errors in logic or fact. The copy editor applies editorial style consistently—for example, when to use Roman numerals and when to spell out numbers—and either works from a previous editor’s style sheet or starts a new one. The copy editor checks and confirms details and information, such as website links and material presented in tables.

The final stage of the EAC document is proofreading, which is “examining material after layout to correct errors in textual and visual elements.”[15] The proofreader reads the first proof word by word, and ensures that all material is there—headings, paragraphs, images—and that it is presented consistently. This can entail checking the layout against the original manuscript to ensure all content is there and accurate. The proofreader marks changes that need to be made (for example, bad end-of-line word breaks) and then ensures on subsequent proofs that those changes have been made, and that those changes don’t create further layout problems. A crucial part of proofreading is not overstepping one’s boundaries, and not performing other editorial tasks (structural, stylistic, or copy editing) unless otherwise instructed.

There is no category in the EAC guidelines called detail editing, but the difference is only one in naming: different parts of detail editing are found in the EAC‘s categories of copy editing, proofreading, and (to a slightly lesser extent) stylistic editing. Every publisher must handle details somehow, but will approach how to handle detail editing, and how to apply editorial standards, differently. The EAC guidelines themselves, which are very clear about dividing the editorial process into stages, acknowledge that “not all publications go through [all stages separately]…The exact editorial process followed for a given publication will vary, depending on factors such as the quality of the original material, the intended audience and purpose, set practices within the company or organization, production methods and tools, schedule, and budget.”[16] Just as all publishers have different ways of handling the editorial processes detailed in the EAC guidelines, publishers have different ways of handling details, which are most closely aligned with the EAC stages of copy editing and proofreading. Harbour Publishing, a regional publisher in British Columbia, relied on freelancers to perform nearly all of the editorial duties for Birds of the Raincoast (a title quite similar to something that Lone Pine might produce). The project was controlled centrally by in-house personnel, but copy editing, for example, was done by a freelancer; proofing was also done by freelance editorial staff, although the layout was also closely and repeatedly checked by in-house staff.[17] Folklore Publishing, a small history publisher in Alberta with an in-house staff of only two, relies almost entirely on freelance staff to edit manuscripts: one freelancer does a substantive edit and another does a proofread before the manuscript is sent to contract production staff.[18] Proofs in the layout stage at Folklore are usually checked by administrative staff in-house. The University of Alberta Press (UAP), a scholarly publisher that also publishes trade titles (including fiction and poetry), also relies largely on freelance staff, who sometimes do more than one step of editing at a time—such as combining stylistic editing with copy editing. “As for what kind of editing is done, and when, it depends entirely on the project and on the skill level of the editor,” says Peter Midgley, Senior Editor (Acquisitions) at UAP.[19] Final detail work (approving and checking the freelancer’s work, and then proofing after layout) is done in-house. Others, such as Lone Pine, use mainly in-house staff with one editor handling all stages of editing on a project. There is no one correct editing method: “[t]he EAC standards outline tasks that must be done, but I’ve never heard of any company that follows it literally, with different people for each layer, on every project.”[20] Each of these publishers—and indeed, every publisher—has a slightly different way of applying editorial standards in general, including with detail editing.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

EDITING AT LONE PINE

Drawing from the explanation of detail editing at Lone Pine set out in the previous chapter, this chapter examines the overall editorial process at Lone Pine in order to establish how detail editing fits into that process. Rather than a task-oriented structure of editing, in which different editors perform different duties on the same manuscript, Lone Pine prefers a project-oriented structure, in which one editor has ownership of a project and works on it from start to finish. At Lone Pine, an editor usually works on a book from the time the manuscript is delivered to the publisher to the time the layout is sent to the printer: reordering the text (structural editing), smoothing out the language and tone (stylistic editing), ensuring accuracy in cross-references and information (copy editing), and checking the composed pages (proofreading). Instead of dividing tasks among editors, Lone Pine divides projects among editors, often by category: for example, Sheila Quinlan edits most of Lone Pine’s gardening books.

There are always exceptions to how a project-oriented structure is employed in reality. At Lone Pine, a few big books are the collaborative efforts of more than one editor. The 448-page Mammals of Canada, which was undergoing editorial work during the summer of 2010, was so complicated that multiple editors (and external reviewers) were involved, working on the text, coordinating illustrations, and consulting on design. Occasionally, editors might share other manuscripts in response to workload and availability. Even manuscripts that are handled entirely by one editor get some input from another member of the editorial team: Sheila Quinlan says that the editorial director will still do “a quick read-through” near the end of the editorial process and offer some final suggestions and corrections.[21] But largely, editing at Lone Pine is done on a complete project basis.

 

Editorial Structure

Lone Pine retains an in-house editorial structure, composed of an editorial director (Nancy Foulds) and three or four full-time editors. During the summer of 2010, the full-time editorial staff members were Gary Whyte, Nicholle Carrière, and Sheila Quinlan; I was filling in for Wendy Pirk, who was on maternity leave. A few part-time staff members (usually former full-time editorial employees) and freelance editors supplement the editorial team whenever necessary.

Lone Pine does not accept unsolicited submissions, but does accept book proposals on the topics of natural history, gardening, and outdoor recreation.[22] Most book concepts, however, are developed in-house, with consultation among the editorial department, the publisher, and marketing. Books at Lone Pine are very publisher- and marketing-driven. Shane Kennedy, the publisher of Lone Pine, has a very important and active role in determining the shape and direction of Lone Pine’s books. Often he will see a book in a bookstore that is within Lone Pine’s purview and know that Lone Pine could do a better job on the topic; a wild game and fish cookbook project entered development during the summer of 2010 as a result of Kennedy’s direction. Marketing also provides valuable direction; for example, if a guide for perennial flowers in a certain region has done well, maybe Lone Pine should consider developing a book for annual flowers for the same region. After a book concept is established and developed by editorial, the publisher, and marketing, the editorial director locates an author or authors to write the book. If it is a regional title, as many of Lone Pine’s titles are, Lone Pine will seek to engage at least one author who is a subject expert from within that region. For example, of the three authors of Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook, one (Becky Selengut) is a chef and culinary instructor who lives in Washington; the other two authors contribute to other titles in the series.

Book concepts and ideas have a long life at Lone Pine. When Nancy Foulds joined Lone Pine in 1995, a book called Wildlife and Trees in British Columbia was in development.[23] It was a massive undertaking, billed as a bible for the forestry people of the province, and Lone Pine saw it as an important and worthwhile project. Because it covered such a wide range of species and locations, several different authors, who were experts in different fields, were working on it simultaneously. As with any large and complicated project, there were difficulties. There was no consistent authorial voice: parts written by different authors took on different tones; even some sentences within a single paragraph sounded vastly different. Contributions from one author in particular were written in an archaic, outdated style that did not fit in with the rest. Even though computer use and publishing technology had come a long way by the mid-’90s, it was still a significant editorial challenge to bring all these different contributions and voices together into one unified whole. One delay led to another, but Lone Pine never shelved the project, and advances in technology made it progressively more possible to compile and edit text electronically. Wildlife and Trees in British Columbia was finally published in 2006, after being actively in development for over a decade. Similarly, an idea introduced in an editorial concept meeting might not fit in with the current list or priorities, but could resurface years later and undergo development.

The relationships that editorial at Lone Pine has with its authors are very hands-on. The editor has a lot of leeway to craft and shape the book, and there is not much back and forth between editor and author. Typically, the author sees the manuscript twice more after submitting it: once after the editor has nearly completed editing, to resolve any queries and make any final changes, and once after the book has gone to production and pages have been composed. The author does see the edited text, but in a final version; that is, the author normally doesn‘t see the marked-up manuscript in either paper or electronic form. The author still has the chance to question and disagree with the editor’s work, but negotiation between editor and author about every change and decision does not take place. One of the points in the Professional Editorial Standards is that editors should “[u]se judgment about when to query the author…and when to resolve problems without consultation,”[24] and at Lone Pine editors certainly have greater authority to resolve problems independently than at some other publishing houses.

Lone Pine’s editorial practices—that books are mainly publisher- or editor-driven, and that little author–editor negotiation is expected—are defined by the type of books that Lone Pine publishes. Most titles are information-based, such as guidebooks, and all are non-fiction. In non-literary non-fiction publishing, many authors are subject experts rather than professional writers; they write books based on their authority and knowledge on certain topics, rather than their skills as writers. Such non-fiction projects require different types of editing than, say, a novel by an established writer. According to what is termed a conservative estimate, 50% of Canadian trade non-fiction books are in practice, if not in name, a collaboration to some degree between the author and the editor (in the United States, the percentage may be as high as 80%).[25] While some of Lone Pine’s authors are full-time professional writers, others are subject experts who are passionate about a particular topic. The nature of non-fiction editing lends itself quite easily to a project-based editorial approach, with a high degree of editorial authority and autonomy and the editor very invested in and responsible for all stages of a manuscript.

 

The Evolution of Editing at Lone Pine

Editing at Lone Pine has changed over the last few years. Five or six years ago, Lone Pine had a much larger in-house editorial team, which included about six in-house editors and four or five in-house authors. Three of these authors wrote Lone Pine’s gardening guides, and two were ghost writers: ghost writers in this case referring not to those who write or rewrite a book that is credited to another author (the usual meaning), but writers who wrote actual ghost stories for an imprint of Lone Pine called Ghost House Books. When Lone Pine had in-house authors, the relationships between editors and authors were very strong; it was easy to have good communication about deadlines and editing suggestions when the two groups saw each other every day. Today, there is a smaller editorial staff and there are no in-house authors, although some of the authors who formerly worked in-house still write books for Lone Pine.

There are a few possible reasons for the smaller in-house editorial department (both editors and authors) over the last few years. A number of existing book series have neared completion, such as the Birds of… series, which consists of around 50 titles for different cities, provinces, states, and regions. There are still ways to repurpose material and continue with bird guidebooks (for example, with books such as Compact Guide to Atlantic Canada Birds; there are currently around 15 Compact Guide bird books), but books in the series are not being turned out as quickly as they were in past years. This slowdown likely also relates to the economic situation in the United States, which has been a huge expansion market for Lone Pine. It was no longer practical to produce as many regional titles for US markets when book sales there were slowing. So a combination of a wrap-up of existing series, slower sales in the US, and a smaller editorial staff—which have likely influenced each other—has resulted in fewer books being published per year: from a high of thirty to thirty-five in the past to around twelve to twenty today.

Since some of the existing series are nearing completion, Lone Pine will be looking to develop some new series to continue their publishing model, and this could demand considerable staff time. When Lone Pine started developing its gardening series in the mid-’90s, it took a lot of time and effort to get started: they had to develop the concept and design, build up a library of photographs, and cultivate relationships with garden writers and photographers. The first two gardening titles published were Perennials of British Columbia (2000) and Perennials of Ontario (2001), and after those years of prep work were done for the first few titles, it became much easier to continue with that series (e.g., Perennials for Northern California) and to expand the concept to other series (e.g., Annuals for Ontario, Best Garden Plants for British Columbia, Tree and Shrub Gardening for Northern California). The latest addition to the gardening series is Vegetable Gardening for…, of which three titles were in development in 2010. So if Lone Pine looks to develop completely new series in the coming years, as the gardening field was new in the 1990s, there could be another increase in editorial staff.

However, even though there could be a high demand on editorial, it‘s likely that the in-house department won’t increase considerably. Lone Pine’s use of technology has made editing much more portable. Editing is done almost exclusively electronically today, rather than on paper. As noted earlier, electronic editing made it much easier to edit a multi-contributor project like Wildlife and Trees in British Columbia in 2006 than it was in 1995. Since technology has made editing more portable, it is possible for personnel to work remotely, which has both pros and cons for Lone Pine and for the editors themselves.

For example, in 2007 and 2008, two editors, Sheila Quinlan and Wendy Pirk, worked for Lone Pine as full-time employees from Barbados. They did virtually the same editorial tasks that they would have done at the office in Edmonton, but did absolutely everything electronically, emailing files and questions and checking in with the office daily via Skype. After files were laid out, the editors worked from PDFs and marked up any changes electronically, rather than shipping paper back and forth. The pros for the editors were that they had the flexibility to set their own hours and the opportunity to experience life in another country, and they were also able to travel to and work from other international destinations during their time abroad. The company benefited because it had a two-year commitment from the editors and a staff presence in Barbados, where some of the company’s international arrangements are based. But there were difficulties as well. Even though it is possible to do nearly all editorial work electronically, some tasks are best done in-house, by hand, such a quickly checking over a reprint, as detailed in chapter 1. While production would have been able to email the reprint file to the editors in Barbados, the editors wouldn‘t have had the marked-up editorial department copy of the original printing, or any copy of the book, for that matter. The tight turnaround times necessary when producing reprints would have made it impractical to ship a copy of the originally printed book to Barbados to be checked against the proofs. Also, Sheila Quinlan notes that communication to and from the office definitely suffered: “sometimes it’s nice to just be able to go over to production and talk to whoever is doing your book about what needs to be done. Email isn’t always ideal when you just have a quick question or comment.”[26]

Even if it isn’t always efficient, technology has made remote editing more possible for Lone Pine than it has ever been before. It has also made it possible to keep the in-house editorial staff smaller: while it is still important for Lone Pine to have a core team in-house, some projects and tasks can be assigned to part-time or freelance staff working outside the office. According to Gary Whyte, one of the major ongoing changes in editing at Lone Pine is that they are trying to make more use of external resources (i.e., freelancers), while retaining central control and communication in-house.[27] Some projects are more easily edited out-of-house than others. Projects that highly depend on illustrations and a lot of technical details are kept in-house, while other, relatively straightforward projects are more likely to be sent to a freelancer. For example, during the summer of 2010, a gardening question-and-answer guide called Just Ask Jerry was assigned to Kathy van Denderen, a regular Lone Pine freelance editor. She worked from outside the office, but would occasionally stop by the office for editorial meetings. It is telling that even though technology makes it possible for editorial work to be done from anywhere in the world, nearly all of Lone Pine’s freelance editors live in Edmonton; it makes it that much easier to pick things up at the office or consult in person.

The smaller in-house editorial staff at Lone Pine has necessitated some changes in editing process, and some sacrifices. Only a few years ago, nearly every book was worked on by at least two editors, or had a “second set of eyes read-through” by a second, separate editor.[28] Having a fresh set of eyes on a manuscript has obvious advantages. When an editor has been closely working on a manuscript for weeks or months, it can be very helpful to have input from someone further removed from the project. The second editor will catch things the first editor did not, and will raise different concerns. The luxury of having a second editor work on a manuscript has largely had to be surrendered now that there are fewer editors. However, Lone Pine‘s commitment to having a core in-house editorial team somewhat mitigates the effect of having only one editor work on a manuscript—there are always other editors around to consult with or get feedback from on tricky points. Freelance editors often feel isolated because they don’t have the opportunity to work closely with other editors. A strong in-house editorial core benefits not only the in-house staff, but freelancers as well if there is solid communication.

Lone Pine’s smaller in-house staff has also meant that there is less time for long-term, forward-looking projects. As discussed previously, house style sheets are updated less frequently than they once were. Another editorial department project that has been long in development is the upgrading of Lone Pine’s illustrations database. For nature guidebooks, Lone Pine commissions illustrations of each featured species, both plants and animals: trees, flowers, berries, birds, bugs, butterflies, mammals, and so on. By commissioning illustrations rather than renting or using stock sources, Lone Pine owns the images and is able to reuse them in whatever manner they wish. With over 5,000 images, Lone Pine’s illustrations collection is a huge and extremely valuable resource for the company. Naturally, it is very important that editors and production staff be able to search for and locate illustrations, which are identified by an in-house numbering system related to the species’ scientific family name. The illustrations database was created around fifteen years ago using FileMaker 2; in 2010, the current version of FileMaker is 11. The illustrations database has been updated with new illustration listings, but databases have changed considerably in the past fifteen years, and the database structure itself is outdated. Maintaining the database requires considerable work-arounds. Possibly the biggest drawback of the current illustrations database is that it does not contain all forms of visual media; photographs are catalogued elsewhere in a separate system. Lone Pine prefers to own photographs outright as well so they can be reused, but in many cases that has not been possible. The current database cannot accommodate details like restrictions on image usage since it was not set up to include that. Also, the database helps only to store information; if it were set up as a relational database, with pieces of text (for example, information about bird habitat and nesting habits), it could be used to assist with production.[29] The task of upgrading the database has long been in development, but more short-term projects take priority, especially with a smaller in-house editorial staff. The current system still works, even though it is not as efficient as it could be, and so upgrading to a new system (and then adapting editorial workflow to the implications of that system) has less urgency.

A final recent change in editing at Lone Pine is a move away from so much paper. Nearly all text is edited electronically with Microsoft Word’s Track Changes function, instead of marking up paper. Also, Lone Pine used to print out a colour copy of a book once it was laid out, and courier it to the author for approval and for any changes; now, the author is emailed a PDF version of the layout, along with instructions for how to mark any changes electronically. Production at Lone Pine typically still prints out layouts for editorial to proof and approve, but increasingly more of that work is done on-screen as well. Working electronically seems relatively straightforward and intuitive today, but the effect it has had on editorial processes and efficiencies should not be underestimated.

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

STANDARDS OF DETAIL EDITING IN CANADIAN TRADE BOOK PUBLISHING

Over the past five to ten years, there has been much debate over the supposedly declining state of editing in Canadian trade book publishing—and in particular, detail editing. In 2006, Rawi Hage’s debut novel, De Niro’s Game, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. The Giller is Canada’s most prestigious fiction prize, and can be extremely influential on sales for the finalists and particularly the winner. But critics were quick to point out that De Niro’s Game, published by House of Anansi Press, contained several noticeable typographical and grammatical errors: “[t]he possessive word ‘children’s’ is spelled with the apostrophe after the ‘s’ instead of before it. Led, the past tense of lead, is spelt l-e-a-d. The word lying is written as ‘laying.’ Letters and words are missing from sentences.”[30] These are the types of things that are usually corrected in the copy-editing or proofreading stages, but a certain number of such errors go unnoticed in virtually any publication. However, these mistakes were not only publicly pointed out, but “some seriously raised the issue of whether [De Niro’s Game] deserved to be considered for a major literary award” as a result of those mistakes.[31] Do grammatical or syntactic oversights on the part of the editorial team compromise a book’s merit? The 2006 Giller jury evidently was willing to overlook them, but others disagreed. Indeed, when a reader is constantly pulled out of the world of a novel by glaring typos and mistakes, it can diminish the story’s impact and emotional power.

Debates on detail editing are not limited to literary fiction or to Canada. After the release of each new Harry Potter book, newspaper articles, magazine features, and blogs popped up decrying a lack of attention to detail in the books. “It’s nice to know that despite the billions of dollars involved in JK Rowling’s creation, they still manage to botch things up like proofreading,” one blogger concluded, after pointing out a reference to a “site” in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that should have been “sight.”[32] Fans also pointed out detail errors in content: for example, a minor character, Marcus Flint, is said to be in his sixth year of school in the first book, but appears again in school in book three, by which time he should have graduated.[33] Editors in the U.K., the U.S., and Canada worked to tailor the books for the markets in their countries, both for language and for continuity, and so different detail editing concerns were raised with each different edition.

In 2010, Penguin Group Australia destroyed and reprinted 7,000 copies of The Pasta Bible for a single typo: a recipe that called for “salt and freshly ground black people” instead of “pepper.” It was called the “worst typo ever”[34] and received significant media attention. An automated spellchecker was officially blamed for the error, and the publishers said they regretted the error but they realized it was extremely difficult for editors to catch absolutely everything. Later in 2010, 8,000 copies of the UK edition of Jonathan Franzen’s highly acclaimed novel Freedom had to be reprinted because an earlier version of the manuscript had inadvertently gone to press. It was “an early draft manuscript, and contains hundreds of mistakes in spelling, grammar and characterisation.”[35] The errors in Freedom were attributed to the typesetters sending a wrong version of the file to the printer, not the editors overlooking some errors as was the case with De Niro’s Game, but it still speaks to the importance of detail editing and detail editors. Effectively, editors ultimately give approval to the quality of what is published.

It could be suggested that editors today rely too much on technology for detail editing. Spellcheckers are common in today’s word processors—and even online, with Google gently asking “did you mean…?” when a word or phrase is typed incorrectly. But spellcheckers are not infallible; whether or not an automated spellchecker actually was responsible for substituting “people” for “pepper” in The Pasta Bible, it’s plausible that it could have been. Automated spellcheckers don’t know the difference between “here” and “hear” and so can’t correct homophones to tell you that you‘ve used the wrong version of their/there/they’re. Likewise, automatic grammar checks can identify some problems, such as subject/verb disagreement: a sentence such as “Bob and Jim was in the room” can automatically be marked as incorrect. But other times a perfectly grammatical sentence will be flagged as incorrect, or an instance of incorrect grammar will go unnoticed. Automated tools have their limitations, as editors are well aware. Besides, even a perfectly grammatical sentence can be very bad writing, requiring an editor to smooth out the words manually. Spellcheckers and the like can be useful tools for editors, catching that one time in a manuscript that a word is spelled incorrectly. But they cannot be relied upon to do an editor’s job, and most of the time, they are not.

Electronic tools can also present new opportunities for editors. Using Find and Replace, an editor can easily switch all occurrences of “color” to “colour” and be confident that all instances of the word have been changed. When editing on paper, an editor would have to go through the manuscript manually to locate each usage—which could be extremely time-consuming, especially if the decision to change from American to Canadian spelling was made at the last minute, requiring a pass through the manuscript dedicated solely to checking for that one thing. Similarly, electronic editing tools make it possible to reverse a bad editing decision quickly and comprehensively: “searching a document [on paper] to undo a bad style decision takes a long time and risks missing a few instances.”[36] Of course, there are downsides to these tools as well. Attempting to automatically change every use of the suffix “-ise” to “-ize” will also create improperly spelled words like “compromize” or “raized” or “dizease.” Once again, nothing automatic is foolproof.

Publishers also increasingly use automated conversion programs to change files from one form to another. Automated conversion from print files to EPUB, along with the editor’s role in ebook creation, is examined further in chapter 4.

Some have suggested that less attention to detail editing and higher reliance on editing technology is having a net negative effect on our society. Responding to the “ground black people” debacle, one copy editor asserted that “cutbacks on editing and increased reliance on technology will result in a decrease in quality and an increase in errors…these measures are helping to make ours a less literate culture.”[37] To call us “a less literate culture” based on trends in detail editing is a strong statement indeed. While it is an extreme viewpoint, there are legitimate concerns about the current state—and future—of detail editing. Why has its role in publishing changed?

There has undoubtedly been a shift in editorial priorities—responding to technological changes and opportunities, certainly, but also reacting to the publishing culture at large. In the past, editors were able to look for manuscripts they felt had potential, and then were able to spend time working with the author on improving them. This process was sometimes extensive, with dedicated, unswervingly committed editors drawing out (or reshaping) the very best from their authors, such as T.S. Eliot with his editor Ezra Pound. The editorial focus was on finding promise and developing it. Today, the focus is increasingly on acquisitions. With smaller budgets for editorial departments, publishers and editors have to look for manuscripts that are cleaner: already well developed in concept and smooth in execution. Editors, then, look to acquire already-polished manuscripts. Also, marketing departments have a much larger role in what is acquired and published than they did in the past. Publishers understandably want and need to sell what they publish, and marketing departments look for books that they can sell and make a profit from. Books that require less developmental editing require less of an investment of time, money, and other resources by the publisher, therefore leading to a greater opportunity for profit. The combination of increased importance of marketing and smaller editorial budgets has causally influenced the shift from development to acquisitions. Similarly, editors have seen acquiring a good title as being potentially more profitable career-wise than editing a good title,[38] and so there is pressure to focus on acquisitions from inside the editing profession itself.

In some types of trade publishing, agents have undoubtedly also affected this shift as they assume some of the responsibilities formerly ascribed to editors: “[t]oday’s agents nurture authors, work closely with them in development of their work, perform a great many editorial tasks, and lend strong emotional and psychological support…agents have become the islands of stability and reliability that were once the province of editors.”[39] Editors rely on agents to send them polished work that meets the publisher’s established criteria; the agent then increasingly plays the role of filter, screening manuscripts before they are seen by the publishing house. It is easy to see how agents have taken on some of the traditional editorial tasks in such a case. But the increased emphasis on acquisitions in editorial departments is not limited to publishing houses that find their manuscripts through the slush pile (or submissions from agents). Most of Lone Pine’s titles are publisher-driven: ideas are conceived and developed in-house and then authors are located and contracted to write them. But while ideas are developed in-house—which requires editorial time and effort—the submitted manuscript does have to conform to the publisher’s expectations. Authors whose manuscripts require considerable extra editorial time to be organized and smoothed out are less likely to be rehired than authors who submit dependably solid, polished works. Even in publisher-driven books, selective acquisitions work is crucial.

Some have bemoaned the loss of editors like Maxwell Perkins, the devoted, compassionate editor of the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in the early part of the twentieth century. Perkins is known for the thoughtfulness and care he put into working with authors to truly draw out their potential, evidenced in his well-crafted editorial letters. “‘Where are today’s Maxwell Perkinses?’ is the plaintive cry of authors who discover horrifying grammatical, syntactic, factual, and typographic errors in their freshly minted books, or, worse, have them gleefully pointed out by friends and critics.”[40] Indeed, this same refrain arises again and again when errors are found, such as in Rawi Hage’s De Niro’s Game. The question really being asked is what has happened to the editors of yesteryear, the editors who were nurturing to authors while at the same time ruthlessly conscientious about ensuring accuracy. The reality is that editing today is very different than it was at the beginning of the twentieth century. The editing profession has taken on a myriad of tasks, including developing book concepts and outlines, meeting with sales and marketing personnel and writing marketing materials, tracking copyright information and permissions, applying for Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) listings, coordinating with production staff, corresponding with authors and agents…and somewhere in there, actually doing what is most commonly thought of as editing—working with the text itself. Constantly questioning what has happened to editors like Maxwell Perkins “oversimplifies editing both now and then, and fails to take into account that today’s editors simply don‘t perform the same tasks as their forebears did.”[41]

Stuart Woods quotes an agent as referring to today’s editors as “glorified ‘project managers.'”[42] Woods describes how in-house editors have been increasingly forced to focus on managing projects, with the editors and the publishing company having little or no time or inclination to actually edit the manuscript. To get that editorial attention to the text, authors have had to hire freelancers themselves, without having any certainty of eventual publication. This editing model has been affected by publishers’ desire for more polished manuscripts, and illustrates a significant change in the editorial priorities of publishing houses. The project manager designation, however, does not have to be as pejorative to editors as Woods’s comment suggests. Editors often do have to manage all stages of a project, and they assume a much wider range of responsibility than did editors of previous generations. Hinting that editors are not doing as good a job as they used to does oversimplify the evolving role of editors. It also assumes that editors’ primary responsibility is detail work, when in reality there may only be the time and budget for that to be a very small part of the job.

However, these concerns about shifting editorial priorities are nothing new. In the 1970s and ’80s, publishing houses increasingly employed freelance editors to do tasks like copy editing and proofreading, since the work could be done more inexpensively by freelancers than by in-house staff—not necessarily because in-house staff make more money than freelancers, but because freelancers can be engaged on a project-by-project basis, only when they are needed. As a result, in-house editorial departments shrunk. This shift was also in part a result of a shift in focus to acquisitions and to the editor’s increasing role as a project manager. According to most sources, the biggest things that editorial departments lost as more and more work was sent out-of-house were cohesion and continuity: there was a “loss of personal, day-to-day communication” that comes from people interacting in person on a daily basis.[43] Since these explanations for evolving editorial priorities have been around for at least the past thirty years, what—if anything—is different in the more recent past? Why are publishers, in Canada and around the world, accused of giving lower priority to detail editing in the past five to ten years?

The answer is undoubtedly in part because publishers have given lower priority to detail editing. For all the reasons discussed earlier—lower editorial budgets, a greater priority on acquisitions, diversifying job responsibilities, and a move to freelance editors—some changes necessarily had to be made. And a lower priority on detail editing has been one of these sacrifices. Like good businesspeople, publishers have tightened their budgets and improved their bottom lines by putting less time and attention into tasks that are deemed dispensable, including detail editing. This trend has been seen in publishers large and small; according to Mary Schendlinger, some of the companies that were traditionally “yardsticks” for detail editing standards, such as Penguin, have been “slipping in the proofing department too.”[44] A “sea change in editorial priorities” at Penguin Canada in the mid-2000s replaced most in-house editors skilled at line editing with acquisitions editors.[45] When such a change occurs, the publishing house necessarily relies on freelance editors to work with the text itself, and to conduct many different levels of editing. Detail editing can often then suffer. This is not at all to suggest that in-house editors are better than freelancers; even though in-house editors have access to more training, knowledge, and experience, there is no guarantee that they will be better editors. Nor does it suggest that freelance editors are inferior in skill or ability than in-house editors. Most publishing houses no longer have the resources to train editors in-house, so editors learn the business through training programs, courses, and on-the-job freelance experience. These freelance editors treat editing very professionally, as the creation of the EAC’s Professional Editorial Standards demonstrates. The two editors who were awarded the EAC’s Tom Fairley Award for Editorial Excellence in 2002, David Peebles and Susan Goldberg, were both freelance editors who had not had the opportunity to learn the editing profession from inside a publishing house. Instead, they had taken editing courses and been mentored by experienced editors from within the publishing house; Dennis Bockus refers to this approach to using freelancers as “the new model of publishing in action.”[46] But using freelancers for detail editing (a cost-saving measure) can also result in less detail editing. For example, a freelance proofreader might mark up a laid-out text so that it can go back to production, but the corrected proof might not get back to that proofreader to double-check, because of time limitations or budget concerns. Or that proofreader could fail to notice style inconsistencies that had been discussed at length in-house; for example, in a gardening book, how should the names of varieties of plants be handled—in single quotations, or double, or none? Of course, both situations can also occur with in-house editors—the quality of both in-house and freelance editors can be uneven—but physical distance makes oversights more likely to happen.

Detail editing, then, has been given lower priority largely for economic reasons: some things have just had to be cut. The more interesting question is how publishers have been able to justify deeming detail editing as dispensable—or at least more dispensable than other tasks. After all, there are several good reasons why detail editing is important, such as reliability, professionalism, and credibility (as discussed in chapter 1). Perhaps there are fewer readers (and editors) who are as fastidious about the rules of grammar and word usage than there once were. Quill and Quire points out that “[t]he line between the relaxed grammar of conversation and formal grammar of the printed word is blurring,” and so general readers can often easily make sense of what are technically prescriptive mistakes in language use.[47] It is not uncommon to hear that today’s generation places less importance on things like grammar, but this argument isn’t new, either: in 1986, an editor for Harper and Row stated that “there simply isn’t the old interest in grammatical precision among young people anymore.”[48] What is new today is the cultural influence of, and the opportunities afforded by, technology. Tools like email, text messaging, and Twitter have brought relaxed grammar and language use to the mainstream, with their focus on immediacy, brevity, and communication, not necessarily grammatical correctness. Creative and playful use of language has been around for centuries; it is not the result of new technologies. However, new technologies do make relaxed language use more prevalent and widespread, and they accelerate the speed at which it gains acceptance.

What is different today is that current technologies make correcting many errors simple, and at least theoretically instant. It is common to see articles or news stories posted online along with messages like “This article has been edited to correct a previously published version.”[49] The focus is on getting out content quickly. And it can be made available quickly partly because there is time to fix things later. When an error is discovered in a print newspaper, the newspaper can‘t prevent its readership from seeing the error; all it can do is print a correction in the next issue. Online, however, if an editor or author discovers an infelicity after a piece is posted—or if a reader notices and leaves a comment about it—it can be corrected immediately, and every future reader of the piece will see the corrected version. This ability means that more errors can be fixed, because technology makes it so straightforward, but it could also lead to some editors being less careful, knowing that instant fixes can be made afterward. A similar application of content-first, correction-second can be seen in informal communication habits. A study on the language and literacies of messaging reported that instant messaging users will often fix a spelling mistake made in one message in the next, preceding the corrected spelling with an asterisk, although the reasons behind the development of this convention are unclear.[50] I can anecdotally confirm that although I have no idea how I learned the standard, over the years I have corrected my own typos in MSN Messenger and Gmail Chat in such a fashion. Today’s technology mediates a culture that allows for small errors because they can be instantly corrected.

But how does this culture affect book publishers? Even though ebooks and other forms of digital publishing are becoming increasingly important, print publishing is still the priority of most Canadian book publishers in 2010. Accordingly, the nature of print makes books more like the printed newspapers discussed previously: printed mistakes can’t be retracted immediately so that no one else will see them. But developments in printing technology make it considerably easier than it used to be to fix mistakes late in the publishing process. Not that long ago, in the days before desktop publishing, if necessary changes were discovered after a manuscript had gone to production, editors had to communicate the changes to typesetters, who had to create new hot lead casts for every single change. Fixing mistakes late in the process was a major ordeal—and very costly. At that stage, it was only economically feasible to correct the most serious errors, and so great attention had to be paid to catching detail errors before the manuscript reached the typesetter. Today, it can be quite expensive to make changes after a book has gone to the printer—as seen with Lone Pine’s philosophy to make only the most critical changes after a book progresses to the plotter stage—but before that, it is more straightforward. In electronic layouts, typos can be corrected, text reflowed, or images switched for only the cost of the production staff’s time and perhaps some pages printed out. Not insignificant expenses to be sure, but not nearly as costly or time-consuming as recasting hot lead. As a result, editorial staffs have become accustomed to making last-minute adjustments and changes. Hearing an editor say “We‘ll catch that after it goes to layout” is not uncommon today. In such a climate, detail editing can easily become an afterthought, not a primary focus.

Printing technology has also helped to reduce the number of errors in books. Accidental typos rarely require a publisher to do a whole reprinting; exceptions are made only in special circumstances, such as when the mistake is extremely offensive (e.g., the “ground black people” incident) or when an author commands that type of influence (e.g., the best-selling and critically acclaimed Jonathan Franzen). Most of the time, however, any mistakes discovered are merely corrected in subsequent reprints and editions. Printing technology has influenced this practice; print runs can be more conservative thanks to the use of print-on-demand (POD). There are many possible ways for publishers to use POD; one is to mitigate the impact of a shortage of books by running off POD copies, keeping the book in stock temporarily while reprinting more offset copies (which are cheaper to print, but take more time). Most publishers hope for a second printing of their books—especially if the first can be a smaller printing—and anticipate that any mistakes discovered can be fixed at that point. The much-decried mistakes in De Niro’s Game, for instance, were fixed in the next printing.

Technology has both influenced and made possible an overall tolerance for detail errors. There are undoubtedly still groups that fervently plea for correctness in the written and published word; books like Lynne Trusse’s Eats, Shoots and Leaves prove that some people care about grammar and punctuation, and care about it passionately. Overall, though, many people have become more tolerant of minor errors because electronic communications technology (such as email and text messaging) and online sources (such as news websites) have made them regular, accepted, and easy to fix. Publishers have perhaps capitalized on this overall trend by giving detail editing a lower priority, knowing that things can be changed further down the line—it is one of many ways to justify seeing detail editing as dispensable. Also, editors know that they are able to make changes throughout the publishing process, so it is no longer necessary to catch everything all at once; this can be a cost-effective measure and ensure very high-quality detail editing, but can also result in detail errors if something that the editor meant to review on the next proof is forgotten. These more recent technology-related changes combine with changes in overall editorial priorities over the past thirty to forty years—such as a shift to acquisitions and to editors as project managers—to make detail editing less central than it used to be. Quite simply, detail editing is less central in trade book publishing today because it no longer has to be.

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

THE FUTURE OF DETAIL EDITING AT LONE PINE

Lone Pine today faces several detail editing concerns and constraints. There is the same amount of detail work to be done by a smaller in-house editorial staff; there is an overall trend in publishing that detail editing is one of the first things to be cut back to reduce costs; there are uncertainties about how to involve editorial in the ebook/digital content creation process (and how to handle that extra workload). None of these concerns are unique to Lone Pine; they are also being faced by other trade book publishers across Canada, the U.S., the U.K., and beyond. The types of publications that Lone Pine produces, however, set it apart from many other trade publishers. Lone Pine produces guidebooks and books that are heavily information-based; minor errors in that information undercut the credibility of all of the information. It is likely that for the information-based publishing that Lone Pine does, detail editing will remain a priority, because it will distinguish the company to its readers as a professional and trustworthy publisher.

If detail editing is to stay as important as it has been, Lone Pine may have to find other ways to reduce editorial time, and/or find other areas to cut back. It is possible that detail editing will continue at the expense of some substantive work. However, for trade publishers of fiction, poetry, narrative non-fiction, and so on, substantive editing will likely continue to have a higher priority than detail work. This is not to say that substantive editing is not important to a guidebook; it is. For example, a guidebook must include the appropriate animals for a region and not leave out any notable ones. But just as a considerable amount of developmental and structural editing of novels has shifted over to agents, the substantive editing needed for Lone Pine’s information-based texts may increasingly shift over to authors and technical reviewers. The substantive work will still get done, but in a slightly different way.

In spite of the trends in the larger publishing industry and the pressures from within the company to reduce costs and eliminate expendable tasks, Lone Pine intends—and needs—to keep detail editing central. Its future depends in part on the quality and credibility of the products it produces, whatever form those products take. As digital reading and publishing become more common, book publishers have to consider other ways to use their content. Lone Pine is already well accustomed to repurposing content in different print capacities (much of the content in Vegetable Gardening for Ontario, for example, is reused in Vegetable Gardening for British Columbia; content from Lone Pine’s full-length bird books is compiled and condensed in the Compact Guide series), but developing content for different, multiple mediums brings new complexities. The concerns are not only production-related (i.e., how do we actually create an ebook?) but also editorial-related (i.e., how do we develop and curate content for ebooks?). The following case study examines some of the practical and theoretical challenges in ebook creation at Lone Pine.

 

A Case Study: Ebooks at Lone Pine

Ebooks are becoming increasingly important for readers and publishers. Statistics released from the Association of American Publishers (AAP) show that in the United States, ebooks generated 9.03% of trade book sales in the first three-quarters of 2010, compared to 3.31% of sales in 2009. In dollars, ebooks account for $263 million so far in 2010, compared to $89.8 million over the same period in 2009—a 193% increase.[51] These are American figures, but the Canadian percentages are likely comparable (if a little lower, owing to several factors such as the Kindle ereader not being available in Canada at all until late 2009). But publishers in Canada (and elsewhere) have faced difficulties in making the transition to digital publishing. When the Giller Prize shortlist was announced on October 5, 2010, Twitter users were quick to point out that only two of the five shortlisted titles were available as ebooks.[52] Adapting to ebooks has not been a fast process for publishing houses, not least because of a confusing tangle of file formats, distribution channels, and price points to navigate. Ebook production has made publishers rethink their entire production processes.

Ebooks present editors with challenges as well. Many ebook file formats reflow text, which makes some traditional editorial proofing tasks, such as looking for bad end-of-line breaks, no longer entirely relevant (because the line breaks will change depending on the screen size, how zoomed-in the reader is, and what font is selected). Until recently, many publishers have treated ebooks as an add-on to their existing print publishing; print production files were converted to a format such as PDF or EPUB and instantly made available for distribution. In such a scenario, editors often don’t have the opportunity to edit the file after it has been converted and “laid out” as an ebook. Sometimes they don‘t have the opportunity to see the ebook at all, or so it seems. For example, in the preface to Brandon Sanderson’s novel The Way of Kings, the author explains that the illustrations in the book are very important to the story—but the illustrations are illegible in the ebook version. Since the illustrations are so important in this case, containing information that is not replicated in the text, the question arises: did anyone—the publisher, the editor, the author—see the ebook before it was made available for purchase? According to Rich Adin, an editor, the publishing industry “treat[s ebooks] as Cinderella stepchildren—as a way to do the work of increasing revenues without being given an opportunity to shine on their own.”[53] The process of ebook development will become more organic with time as publishers adapt, but it is currently a complicated (and groundbreaking) time for editors and editorial departments.

In 2009 and 2010, Lone Pine participated in an ebook conversion project coordinated by the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP). A number of Canadian publishers worked co-operatively to secure discount ebook conversion pricing from an overseas company; since there would be so many publications sent for conversion at the same time, rates would be cheaper. Lone Pine had recognized the need to participate in the ebook publishing industry but hadn’t been able to devote considerable time to it, especially with a decrease in production staff around the same time. So with the multiple-publisher conversion project and the reasonable rates, Lone Pine decided to convert a significant portion of its backlist and current books, some 350 titles, to ebooks. The conversion company said that they could convert files from any format into EPUB, and so Lone Pine sent files in a number of different formats (InDesign, Quark, PDF, etc.). Some books were so old that there were no electronic files, only film; for conversion to ebooks, film is transferred to what is called copy-dots by using a camera to take a photo of each page. Lone Pine production staff located the 350 final book files (or the file of the most recent reprint) and sent those to the conversion company.

The results of the ebook conversion were extremely disappointing. Many of Lone Pine’s books depend heavily on illustrations and photos. A bird guide, for example, is printed in full colour, with at least one large illustration, and sometimes two, per species account (every one or two pages). In some of the bird books there is also a photograph of a bird’s egg to go along with each species account. The main purpose of a guidebook is to identify species, so illustrations are as crucial as text. In Lone Pine’s print books, illustrations are roughly consistent in size throughout the book—about half to three-quarters of a page is normal. But in the ebook version of Birds of the Rocky Mountains, for example, illustrations are inconsistently sized. Sometimes they take up an entire screen on the iPad or on a computer screen using Adobe Digital Editions, which bumps the caption to the next screen, which contains no other text. When the images are oversized, they are very pixelated and unclear. In other entries, the main account illustrations are just tiny rectangles amongst the text. Some images are correctly sized: they look appropriately balanced and placed with the text, and the image quality is good and clear. But in this ebook, there appears to have been no consistent way of treating the images, and the blurred and stretched images especially give the ebook an amateur and unpolished appearance.

Also, the front of the print book Birds of the Rocky Mountains contains an illustrated reference guide, showing thumbnail images of each bird discussed in the book and what page it can be found on for easy reference. In the ebook, the reference guide images and text were resized and stretched to the point of being practically illegible, rendering the reference guide useless. The reference guide is also not clickable: you can’t click on an image or bird name and be taken directly to that account. Instead, each bird account refers to a barely legible page number that corresponds to the print version, and print page numbers have no meaning in an ebook that reflows according to screen and font size. Even if the images had been properly sized and clear, the reference guide would have been a feature of very limited relevance in an ebook unless it were redesigned.

The images are not the only area of concern in the Lone Pine ebooks: errors were also introduced in the text. Headers in particular are an area of difficulty—which is a big problem, because headers are some of the largest, most noticeable features in the book, and important to readers. In Birds of the Rocky Mountains, “Pied-billed Grebe” becomes “Pieb-billeb Grebe” in the large header at the top of the page, even though just below in the main body text it is spelled correctly. Similarly, “Semipalmated Sandpiper” becomes “Simipalmatid” and “Swainson’s Thrush” becomes “Th1ush” in the headers; in another book, Rocky Mountain Nature Guide, there are listings for “Turkey Valture,” “Rea-napea Sapsucker,” “TownsBnd’S Solitaire,” and “House Spaarow,” among others. None of these misspellings were present in the original print versions; they were somehow introduced during the conversion process. Lone Pine production staff doesn’t have a definitive explanation for how these types of errors were introduced. It could be that in the conversion process, character recognition software misidentified some letters, especially in the particular fonts that were used for headers. It is also possible that certain portions of the text were rekeyed manually for the ebooks: it is easy to imagine that happening where there are headers with missed letters (e.g., “Eurpean Starling”) or where there are periods behind the occasional header (e.g. “Broad-tailed Hummingbird.”) when no other headers are followed by a period.

There are other problems with the text. Extra paragraph breaks appear in the middle of paragraphs; some blocks of text are left-justified while others are centred; italics are not used consistently; hyphens, en-dashes, and em-dashes are often misused; certain character combinations appear incorrectly or don’t appear at all. The most serious problems are ones that can lead to inaccuracy and (in a guidebook) misidentification. For example, a number is inexplicably replaced with a question mark in at least one entry in Rocky Mountain Nature Guide, showing one berry measurement as “?-. in.”

As discussed in chapter 1, Lone Pine has a policy that everything production does must return to editorial for approval. Even reprints, which theoretically should be virtually identical to the previously published book, are proofed and approved by an editor before being printed. In this ebook project, however, the editorial department was completely uninvolved. Production gathered the titles and sent them to the conversion company, and the ebooks were returned in an unacceptable state. There was no opportunity for editorial to review and make corrections; Nancy Foulds says it was almost “like editorial had never happened.”[54] As a result, none of the 350 titles that were converted to ebooks are available to the public; as of late 2010, Lone Pine has no ebook titles available for purchase.

This case study illustrates the evolving role and retained importance of detail editing at Lone Pine. In hindsight, Lone Pine could have converted fewer titles in the ACP project and learned lessons on a small scale from that process.[55] Either way, however, editorial would definitely need to be involved. Editors need to be part of the ebook creation process, the same as they are with new titles and reprints and every other process of publishing. Also, in most cases, ebooks are not—or at least should not be—merely electronic replications of print books. They are their own medium and need to be thought of as their own entity with their own organization and resources; for example, the page number–based reference guide of a print book doesn’t work verbatim in an ebook. In addition, detail editing cannot be fully automated. Just as spellcheckers do not catch everything, ebook conversion software does not recognize and correctly handle everything either. Lone Pine (and other publishers) needs to maintain a commitment to detail editing as publishing transitions continue, keeping it a priority.

 

Looking to Lone Pine’s Future

In today’s quickly adapting publishing climate, there are many changes ahead for Lone Pine. One priority for the near future is to enter the ebook arena. While ebooks are not yet being actively created, production processes have begun to shift in anticipation: print books are designed with later conversion into ebooks in mind, and styles and formatting are applied accordingly. Undoubtedly, the editorial department will become more involved in developing and organizing content as ebooks are given their own status. Information-based texts such as nature guides lend themselves well to new renditions in ebook form, but new media is also not limited to ebooks: publishers have begun to create digital content in other forms. Travel guides are a good example of the innovation publishers are experimenting with. At a very simple level, some travel publishers provide audio tours that augment their print guides: for example, you can download a Rick Steves podcast to your iPod that will guide you through a walking tour of a neighbourhood in Paris. Digital content can also become much more complex: the travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet offers ebooks and apps (for the iPhone/iPad, Nokia, and Android) that provide city guides with information on accommodations, restaurants, and recommended experiences, all tied to GPS coordinates that pinpoint and respond to your location. Many travel details, such as restaurant information, can change frequently, and travel guides benefit from being able to update that information frequently and instantly in a digital publication or app; also, travellers enjoy the portability—and up-to-date information—of electronic media.

Travel guides are more ephemeral than nature guides, but some of the same principles of digital content apply. It is easy to imagine that a bird guidebook could be a very functional ebook or app, incorporating not only illustrations and text but also audio and video clips of bird calls and flight patterns and interactive maps of birds seen in the area. The National Audubon Society, a nature guide publisher (and a direct competitor of Lone Pine in some markets), has partnered with a digital publishing company called Green Mountain Digital to produce the Audubon Guides—”a comprehensive series of digital field guide apps to North American nature.”[56] There are currently over twenty titles in the Audubon Guide app series, ranging from narrowly focused (Audubon Birds of Central Park, $4.99, and Audubon Birds Texas, $6.99) to all-encompassing (the North America–wide Audubon Guides: A Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Wildflowers and Trees, $39.99). These apps offer the standard information one would expect to find in a nature guide, plus a library of bird calls and the ability to search for a bird based on characteristics like wing shape and colour, making it even more useful than a print book for identifying different species. These apps also offer the ability to track where the reader has seen certain birds and when; reviewers have pointed out that the function would be even more useful if that information could be shared with other app users, so that birders could see exactly where a fellow enthusiast spotted a rarely seen bird. Developing apps such as the Audubon Guides requires significant investment, and Lone Pine is still a while away from seriously committing to a project of that magnitude. It is likely that Lone Pine will test the digital nature guide world with a few ebooks and proceed from there. But the possibilities that digital media present for nature guides (and other information-based books) are intriguing, and they showcase how much room there is for the guidebook genre to enhance and add to its print form.

Many different publishing alternatives lie ahead for Lone Pine, but what does all this mean for detail editing? The case study of ebooks at Lone Pine demonstrates that the role of editors will continue to adapt and evolve—and even grow—as book publishing expands into other mediums. It won’t be enough for print books to be transferred automatically into digital media: the curatorial role of editors will be magnified as digital content becomes thought of as its own legitimate and separate entity, not just a spin-off. Editors will need to rethink the experience of a book as they develop digital content, and detail editors will be the ones compiling and repurposing content and navigation devices, ensuring internal consistency and thinking through the minutiae behind reader experience. As readers continue to become accustomed to interacting with digital content, the role of the detail editor will incorporate new responsibilities—and perhaps even see an increase in perceived importance. There is an opportunity for detail editors, as those who are skilled and meticulous enough to pull content together in a unified way, to become essential in proper digital content creation and curation.

There is another forthcoming change that will affect editorial processes at Lone Pine. The company plans to implement Adobe InCopy to streamline editing—and detail editing in particular. InCopy works with InDesign to “[e]nable a parallel workflow between design and editorial staff, precisely fit copy to layout, and efficiently meet editorial deadlines.”[57] Twenty years ago, every single editorial change noted after a document went to layout had to be made manually by a typesetter. Today, every single editorial change at Lone Pine has to be marked up manually and returned to production staff, who then make the change and return it to editorial for approval; editorial and production must occasionally go back and forth numerous times over one single little change. InCopy aims to eliminate the need for this laborious process by allowing editors to make editorial changes and corrections to the layout themselves. Lone Pine editors are hopeful that when this software is put into place, it will save them considerable time: detail editing processes should be faster, and editors should have more control. It should also allow editors the opportunity to make small, fiddly, improving but non-essential corrections that might not otherwise be made when one is working with a designer; this could ensure even more accuracy and precision in detail editing. InCopy could even improve collaboration between editors and authors: authors (and editors) would have much greater ability to edit and rewrite text after seeing it in a laid-out, final-looking form. It may be difficult to implement major changes that adjust editorial and production workflow—and that blur the boundaries between editorial and production staff. Publishers have traditionally kept these roles divided, but editorial and production staff have always worked closely together by necessity to finish a publication; with current technologies, the collaboration between the two roles could be increased and be more efficient. The process to incorporate InCopy at Lone Pine could be complex and require some redefining of staff roles, but it could also be a major turning point in editorial processes.

Many contextual and technological changes are currently underway in publishing and at Lone Pine. Given all of these changes, it seems that while editorial processes at Lone Pine will necessarily evolve and adapt, detail editing will remain central as a way to convey the brand’s professionalism and reliability to its readers. Currently many of Lone Pine’s books are edited from start to finish primarily by one editor, and with a trend toward a smaller in-house editorial staff, it doesn‘t seem likely that will change. Perhaps, since the smaller in-house staff simply cannot do everything, freelancers can be brought in more frequently to do task-oriented projects. For example, a freelancer could do an early proofread of a layout before it was returned to the project editor; manuscripts benefit from a fresh set of eyes, and some time would be freed up for the project editor. Freelance editors could become more central to detail editing at Lone Pine than they are currently.

The detail editing that is most important to Lone Pine today has less to do with spelling and grammar and more to do with accuracy of information; these characteristics are absolutely essential to its publishing model. In that way, perhaps Lone Pine is more similar to the overall trends in the evolution of detail editing than it would first appear, and it is possible that some forms of detail editing will take on a lower priority in the years and months to come. However, details like spelling and word usage remain important because they help to ensure that all-important accuracy. In the future, Lone Pine will have to continue devising detail editing practices that balance quality and reliability with the resources available. As well, for Lone Pine and all trade book publishers, new detail editing processes and opportunities will develop and adapt in response to new technologies and publishing mediums.

 

 


NOTES

1 Shane Kennedy and Grant Kennedy, “About Lone Pine Publishing,” Lone Pine Publishing, http://www.lonepinepublishing.com/about (accessed September 17, 2010). RETURN

2 Leslie T. Sharpe and Irene Gunther, Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 8–22. RETURN

3 Paul Ford, “Real Editors Ship,” Ftrain.com, July 20, 2010, http://www.ftrain.com/editors-ship-dammit.html (accessed July 22, 2010). RETURN

4 For example, see Youth Canada, “Writing a Resume,” Government of Canada, http://www.youth.gc.ca/eng/topics/jobs/resume.shtml (accessed September 25, 2010). RETURN

5 Thomas Woll, Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers, 3rd ed. (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2006), 5. RETURN

6 Douglas Johnston, “By the Look of Things, This Land Isn‘t My Land,” The Globe and Mail, July 14, 2003. RETURN

7 Bonnie Stern, “Recipe for Success: For Cookbook Authors, Cooking is the Easy Part,” Quill and Quire, October 2003, 46. RETURN

8 Iva W. Cheung, “The Editorial Handbook: A Comprehensive Document to Guide Authors through the Editorial Process at Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group” (Master of Publishing project report, Simon Fraser University, 2005), 29. RETURN

9 Gene Longson, interview by author, Edmonton, October 7, 2010. RETURN

10 Gary Whyte, interview by author, Edmonton, August 30, 2010. RETURN

11 All of these things to watch for while proofreading are listed in Professional Editorial Standards. Editors‘ Association of Canada, Professional Editorial Standards (Toronto: EAC, 2009), 12–13. RETURN

12 EAC, Professional Editorial Standards, 6. RETURN

13 Ibid., 8. RETURN

14 Ibid., 10. RETURN

15 Ibid., 12. RETURN

16 Ibid., 1. RETURN

17 Peter Frederick Read, “Birds of the Raincoast: Some Reflections on Production and Process Management” (Master of Publishing Project Report, Simon Fraser University, 2005), 30, 45, 53. RETURN

18 Tracey Comeau (Administrative Assistant, Folklore Publishing), email message to author, October 12, 2010. RETURN

19 Peter Midgley, email message to author, October 5, 2010. RETURN

20 Mary Schendlinger, email message to author, September 19, 2010. RETURN

21 Sheila Quinlan, email message to author, September 8, 2010. RETURN

22 Lone Pine Publishing, “Book Proposal Guidelines,” http://www.lonepinepublishing.com/about/book_proposals (accessed October 2, 2010). RETURN

23 Nancy Foulds, interview by author, Edmonton, August 25, 2010. RETURN

24 EAC, Professional Editorial Standards, 11. RETURN

25 Rick Archbold, “Who Really Wrote It? The Nature of the Author–Editor Relationship Makes It Sometimes Hard to Tell,” Quill and Quire, September 2008, 11. RETURN

26 Sheila Quinlan, email message to author, September 6, 2010. RETURN

27 Gary Whyte, interview by author, Edmonton, August 30, 2010. RETURN

28 Sheila Quinlan, email message to author, September 8, 2010. RETURN

29 Gary Whyte, interview by author, Edmonton, August 30, 2010. RETURN

30 CBC Arts, “Awards Spotlight Novel‘s Proofreading Errors,” CBC News, November 7, 2006, http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2006/11/07/hage-proofreading.html (accessed August 15, 2010). RETURN

31 Brian Bethune, “Notes from a Glass House,” Macleans.ca, January 4, 2007, http://www2.macleans.ca/2007/01/ (accessed August 15, 2010). RETURN

32 mcg[pseud.], “Harry Potter and the Search for a Proofreader,” A Pinoy Blog about Nothing, July 17, 2005, http://clickmomukhamo.com/blog/archives/2005/07/17/harry-potter-and-the-typo-error/ (accessed September 3, 2010). RETURN

33 Jennifer Vineyard, “Have You Found a ‘Flint’? ‘Harry Potter’ Editor on How Fans Shaped the Series,” MTV, September 23, 2008, http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1595414/20080922/story.jhtml (accessed October 6, 2010). RETURN

34 Huffington Post, “‘Freshly Ground Black People’: World‘s Worst Typo Leaves Publisher Reeling,” April 17, 2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/17/ground-black-people-cookb_n_541817.html (accessed October 14, 2010). RETURN

35 Rowenna Davis and Alison Flood, “Jonathan Franzen‘s Book Freedom Suffers UK Recall,” The Guardian, October 1, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/01/jonathan-franzen-freedom-uk-recall (accessed October 4, 2010). RETURN

36 Carol Fisher Saller, “Best Practices in Copyediting: Paper vs. Plastic,” The Subversive Copy Editor, June 3, 2010, http://www.subversivecopyeditor.com/blog/2010/06/copyeditors-who-are-allowed-to-edit-on-paper-are-dwindling-in-number-but-judging-from-my-mail-copyeditors-who-would-like-to.html (accessed October 16, 2010). RETURN

37 Peter Rozovsky, comment on “Publisher Attacks Readers Who Complain about Sloppy Editing,” Detectives Beyond Borders, comment posted April 19, 2010, http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/2010/04/publisher-makes-mistake-then-attacks.html#7894700019804803455 (accessed August 15, 2010). RETURN

38 Sharpe and Gunther, Editing Fact and Fiction, 3. RETURN

39 Richard Curtis, “Are Editors Necessary?” in Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know about What Editors Do, 3rd ed., edited by Gerald Gross (New York: Grove Press, 1993), 33. RETURN

40 Ibid., 30. RETURN

41 Ibid., 30. RETURN

42 Stuart Woods, “Editors-for-Hire,” Quill and Quire, June 2009, 24. RETURN

43 Allegra Robinson, “Strength in Numbers: Should Publishers Hire More In-House Editors and Fewer Freelancers?” Quill and Quire, November 2005, 9. RETURN

44 Mary Schendlinger, email message to author, September 11, 2010. RETURN

45 Stuart Woods, “Editors for Hire,” 24. RETURN

46 Dennis Bockus, “Caution: Falling Standards: Why Editorial Quality is Suffering,” Quill and Quire, November 2003, 13. RETURN

47 Bryony Lewicki, “Canadian Books Communicate Real Good,” Quill and Quire QuillBlog, January 16, 2007, http://www.quillandquire.com/blog/index.php/2007/01/16/985 (accessed August 15, 2010). RETURN

48 Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, “Vanishing Breed of Editors with an Instinct for Order,” New York Times, November 3, 1986, http://www.proquest.com.proxy.lib.sfu.ca (accessed October 14, 2010). RETURN

49 For example, see Greg Quill, “Money Squeeze Forces CBC to Cancel 2 Shows,” thestar.com, March 11, 2009, http://www.thestar.com/Entertainment/article/600071 (accessed October 16, 2010). RETURN

50 Gloria E. Jacobs, “Complicating Contexts: Issues of Methodology in Researching the Language and Literacies of Instant Messaging,” Reading Research Quarterly 39, no. 4 (2004): 402. RETURN

51 Association of American Publishers, “AAP Reports Publisher Book Sales for August,” October 14, 2010, http://www.publishers.org/main/PressCenter/Archicves/2010_Oct/AugustStatsPressRelease.htm (accessed October 17, 2010). RETURN

52 Ten days later, Kobo announced that all five nominees were available as ebooks through their store. RETURN

53 Rich Adin, “The Problem Is: Publishers Don‘t Read Ebooks!” An American Editor, September 15, 2010, http://americaneditor.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/the-problem-is-publishers-dont-read-ebooks/ (accessed September 18, 2010). RETURN

54 Nancy Foulds, interview by author, Edmonton, August 25, 2010. RETURN

55 Gene Longson, Production Manager, suggests that converting three or four titles to EPUB would have been a useful and manageable project. RETURN

56 Green Mountain Digital, “Audubon Guides,” http://www.greenmountaindigital.com/products/audubon/ (accessed November 7, 2010). RETURN

57 Adobe, “What is InCopy?” http://www.adobe.com/products/incopy/ (accessed October 20, 2010). RETURN


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