Choosing an editor: Making sure you are on the same page

choosing an editorAcademic authors often feel confident in their subject matter expertise when writing a book or journal article. Many authors, however, feel less secure about their writing and editing skills. In my twenty-five plus years of experience, this assessment is usually off base. Most academic authors actually have solid skills needed to express themselves and their complex material.

Nonetheless, authors many times want editorial support prior to their submission or while they are writing their work. I have previously written about whether to “Go it alone or with a Guide.” If you have decided to utilize an editor, this post will focus on how you go about choosing one. [Read more…]

Insights on working with editors: An interview with Elsa Peterson

Elsa Peterson

Elsa Peterson

Copyright and PermissionsElsa Peterson has more than 20 years of experience in textbook and academic publishing as a freelance permissions editor, picture researcher, and developmental editor. Her most recent in-house position was as a senior developmental editor for psychology with McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Peterson recently authored a brief and accessible guide to copyright in the context of publishing titled Copyright and Permissions: What Every Writer and Editor Should Know (New York: Editorial Freelancers Association, 2012). She has also authored numerous articles about the business and craft of editing, and has presented TAA audio conferences on editing and copyright.

Peterson spoke with TAA about the roles of editors and where they fit within the authoring process.

TAA: Can you describe the different editorial services you provide?

Elsa Peterson: “I primarily do developmental editing, which involves working closely with an author to bring the vision for the book to fruition. Development is a long-term process that usually begins with the author’s proposal and extends through the turnover of the manuscript to production. When I do permissions editing, my task is to identify all the material in a manuscript that is under copyright, find the rights holders, and secure their authorization to use the material. Similarly, picture research involves clearing permission to reproduce photographs and works of art; it also includes a creative dimension in helping the author to select the most effective visuals to convey the concepts being presented.” [Read more…]

How to edit a collective volume of papers from a conference

A collective volume is often a written record of a single conferenceacademic writing or symposium, or a record of the “acta” or proceedings of a series of meetings of an organization, often annual, stretching over a number of years; or, finally, a festschrift offered as an acknowledgement of an individual’s professional impact over a significant period of his life. Festschriften are often occasioned by 65th or 70th birthdays, retirement, or other excuses.

Individuals edit such volumes for a variety of motives, ranging from that of the team player working selflessly to insure the success of a joint venture, to loyalty and devotion to a particular individual, to that of the academic hoping for a raise or promotion as the result of another notch on the CV. As with much of human affairs, you motive is probably a mixed one. [Read more…]

How to maintain a good relationship with your editor

coauthoringIf you develop a good business and personal relationship with your editor, you can get a better feel for how they can provide you with support, said Marilyn “Winkie” Fordney, the author of insurance billing and medical assisting books.

“Find out where the person came from and whether they have been in business for a long time,” she said. “Find out about their personal life. Do they have children? If they do, you’ll know that if sometimes they are unavailable, it might be because their children are sick. When you visit with them, bring toys for their kids. This shows that you remembered about their children.” [Read more…]