Maintaining the attitude of a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist when editing, particularly for fiction and memoir, is crucial to preserving an author’s voice.
It is no secret that some authors prefer their solitude when working, and an author’s work is never done. With the ever-expanding digital world, they now have more opportunities to connect with their readers without ever leaving their writing caves.
These same celebrities we watch on TV, whose lives seem to be occupied with drama, business ventures, bad grammar, fashion shows, shopping trips, and traveling across the country that you have no choice but to wonder when, if ever, do they find the time to write a 200-300 page novel?
The design department in a publishing press is absolutely one of the most important aspects in the publication process. Design furthers the production of a book by working on its interior as well as its exterior—the book’s cover or, in some cases, a jacket. The cover is the very first thing readers will see as they browse their favorite bookstores in search of their next binge. Although no one should judge a book by its cover, it’s okay (and completely human) to be guilty of this at one point or another. Unfortunately, this can make a designer’s job a little more strenuous as they want to ensure the book’s success and maximum potential—not only for the author, but also for the press. In order for the designers to create a successful exterior, they will need to take into account various characteristics of the written piece.
Opinions are like . . . you know: everybody’s got one. House editing style guides and preferences are no different. Browse through any random collection of imprint house publications, periodicals, or online articles, and you’ll witness a menagerie of guides, including The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), the Associated Press Stylebook(AP), and a smattering of personal preferences seemingly chosen at random. The resulting style format can resemble an amalgamation of spare parts—something akin to a Frankenstein’s monster of house style. The curious aspect is the specific, obscure details individual editors decide to take a stand on—the hills upon which they choose to fight and die.
Given that there is overlap between the different stages of editing, and the fact that some smaller presses forgo line editing altogether, why should we even care about it? It’s a legitimate question. I think the line edit holds an important place in the publishing process, even if it doesn’t get the benefit of being a distinct procedure.