Monday, June 30, 2008

When copy edits attack

A couple of weeks ago, I got copy edits in the mail. My first set of copy edits, mind you. I got instructions via e-mail to address the notes and change them in the colored pencil of my choice. So, I picked a pretty purple pencil and stalked the mailman until they arrived.

And then...IT happened.

I tore open the package with glee and noted sticky notes on the side and then I saw them. Lots of weird marks on every page. Marks I hadn't seen when I'd worked at a newspaper. What did these mean? OMG. I had failed at publishing because I didn't know what these meant! Eeek! I hopped online and researched copy editing marks. But these were weird ones. Did I miss the class at school that taught these?

Did I really have to, gulp, address the zillion strange marks in 24 hours before sending back the manuscript?

I emailed Agent A and it went something like this: "Um, hi. Got the copy edits. Errr...what do I do, exactly?" What I really should have said was "OMG! What's all of this stuff?! Help!!" But I didn't want to convey the extent of my freak out.

To sum this up (because it could go on for a while) I talked to Editor K first and while trying not to sound like a total newbie idiot I asked her if I was supposed to address every mark on every page and type that up in a new draft and send it back to her.

Here's why she's the best editor ever--she did not snort in disgust or hang up on me and tear up my contract. No. Through laughter from both of us, she explained I was to address the sticky notes only. Ooooohhhh. The rest of the marks were for the keyboarder.

Then I remembered Lauren Barnholdt's copy edit vid that I'd watched weeks before. Yeah. Sticky notes only. Ugh.

That e-mail to Agent A? She never got it and we both had a good laugh. So, here's the lesson. Next time you get super-panicky about something--use the phone. E-mail--no.

Now, I'll be one of those author stories at conferences. You know, those nightmare author stories? "Yeah, I've got this client and she got copy edits and..." LOL

And that sums up Copy Editing for Complete Dummies, Idiots and Other Derogatory Names. :) If this saves one new author from thinking he/she has to play the role of keyboarder than this post was a success.

In other news...

We've got big changes over at Teen Fiction Cafe! We've added super-cool authors Stephanie Kuehnert and Sara Zarr! Welcome, ladies, and we're glad to have you! :)

Also, a little while ago (on my blog vacay) I posted an extended version of my "How to Become a Freelancer" video. I had to post it on MySpace because it was too long for YouTube. In the first 2 minutes, it has new footage of my acceptance letters, magazine credits, rejections and more. Check it out here!


Diary of a Debut Author: How to Become a Freelance Writer


Reading today: Chasing Harry Winston and Lock and Key

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