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Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

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Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:17 pm

What would YOU ask an editor? What do you want to know about the editing process? Are there any tips you'd like? Now's your chance to ask!

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:29 am

Do you have any tips for us when we're editing our own work? Things to keep in mind? Bad habits to break now?

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:24 am

Do you have any tips for us when we're editing our own work? Things to keep in mind? Bad habits to break now?

Hey Lizzy! This one's a bit tricky, since every manuscript has it's quirks and every writer their bad habits. Of course I have my pet peeves, but don't we all!

One thing that I find helpful when I'm editing - and I started doing this when I was in high school, editing my own essays and writing -- is to read sentences and passages aloud. Do you find yourself naturally taking a pause at a certain point. You might need to think about inserting a comma, or other appropriate puncuation, there. Does something sound off? You might want to rephrase. When you're reading a line of dialogue, does it sound like something someone would actually say? If not, maybe you might need to make a couple tweaks.

When we read a book, we hear the text in our heads. (At least, I do!) Actually, taking the step to voice your words can help you identify problems that your eyes skim over because you're so familliar with your work. And ID'ing problems means that you can fix them, which makes your work stronger.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  sammi207 on Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:05 pm

Hi!
Editing is a career that I'm really, really interested in -- and yet, no matter what I look up, I can't seem to figure out what to major in, or how to go about preparing for a job in the field. Do you have any suggestions when it comes to majors or choices for schools?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:38 pm

Thank you! That really helps!

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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:04 pm

Editing is a career that I'm really, really interested in -- and yet, no matter what I look up, I can't seem to figure out what to major in, or how to go about preparing for a job in the field. Do you have any suggestions when it comes to majors or choices for schools?

Hi sammi207. Great question.

Truth is, it doesn't really matter what you major in. Me, I was an English major, because I loved (and still love) literature, and all I wanted to do was read and analyze it. Some people do Creative Writing, especially those who want to pursue both routes - writing and editing. I know someone who was a Psych major, and my lovely colleague and Egmont's Executive Editor was a Russian History major.

What matters more, I think, is that you read. A lot. That you have a sense of good writing (and this comes from reading and experience). You should have a good sense of spelling/grammar, etc. (You don't have to be perfect. That's what copyeditors and proofreaders are for, and even they aren't perfect!) That you pay attention to what's hot in the market, and can both recognize and begin to predict trends. This isn't limited to books - knowing what's hot in film, TV, the news, etc. - can channel into book publishing, too.

Another thing that's particularly smart in this increasingly competitive world of trying to get into publishing, is to take on any opportunity that will give you practical experience with the editorial world. Have the opportunity to intern at a publilshing house, with a literary agent, at a magazine or newspaper? Apply! Take it! Does your school have a literary journal or student-run paper that you can join the staff of? Do! It's really hard to land your first job in publishing - we'd love to give you all the training you need - but in practical terms, it's just not possible. The more skilled you are, and the less time a potential employer is going to have to spend time training you in basic tasks, the better a candidate you appear to be.
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Stephen on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:35 pm

Hello Smile If an author writes a same book himself in two or more languages, what would happen? Would someone check how good the translation(s) are? How would you edit that type of book?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:58 pm

Hello If an author writes a same book himself in two or more languages, what would happen? Would someone check how good the translation(s) are? How would you edit that type of book?

Hi Stephen,

I'm not sure that I fully understand your question. Are you saying the author, independently, is writing the book in more than one language? That's not very common. At least, I haven't come across it. But I would assume that you'd find someone to check it in the other language, as well.

More traditionally, you'd sell translation rights for a particular territory and/or language to another house who would hire someone to translate the text, and then it would be checked by their people.

Hope that helps!

-Alison
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Stephen on Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:30 pm

Editor Alison wrote:
Hello If an author writes a same book himself in two or more languages, what would happen? Would someone check how good the translation(s) are? How would you edit that type of book?

Hi Stephen,

I'm not sure that I fully understand your question. Are you saying the author, independently, is writing the book in more than one language? That's not very common. At least, I haven't come across it. But I would assume that you'd find someone to check it in the other language, as well.

More traditionally, you'd sell translation rights for a particular territory and/or language to another house who would hire someone to translate the text, and then it would be checked by their people.

Hope that helps!

-Alison

so if an author, independently, writes a book in two languages, would he go to 1 or 2 house(s)?
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:43 pm

so if an author, independently, writes a book in two languages, would he go to 1 or 2 house(s)?

Honestly, I've never encountered that. I don't really know. You'd want the versions to be as consistent as possible, so you usually have one house take the lead, but not always. I don't really have a good answer. Embarassed
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Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #4 (right in here!)

Post  Stephen on Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:52 am

Thank you, that is helpful Smile
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