Tuesday, April 18, 2006


As readers at Fernham well know, there is the kind of copyediting hell that I just emerged from, and then there is normal—or even fun—copyediting. So it goes for editing, too. Here, I’m talking about the comments one receives from peers early in the publication process. They really run the gamut. I once got a reader’s report that went into great detail about how insufficiently Marxist my piece was. That puzzled me: I’m not one bit Marxist at all, so it’s hard to argue with the charge of insufficient Marxism. If you’re looking for a Marxist reading of literature, I’d recommend you look elsewhere.

About a month ago, a reader’s report sat, radioactive, on my desk for a couple weeks. It began: “I think there are some good things in this essay, but that in its present form it doesn't seem publishable to me.”

“Geez, hon, what are you reading? Someone must have sent you some real junk,” laughed my beloved husband.

“Um…that’s about my writing.”


So, after sending my manuscript off to India, I looked at emails from two editors for two forthcoming short pieces with trepidation and irritation: what now?

Email #1 requested that I please send us an updated contributor’s note and sign the attached copyright agreement. #2 is pleased with my contribution but wonders if I could make it 250 words shorter.


1 comment:

Sarahlynn said...

My dad once got back a chapter he'd written for a contributed book with the word "infantile" scrawled across it (from the lead author). Ouch.