The compilation edit is unique to the operations of our teaching press, but coordinating this type of edit has been an invaluable learning experience for me as an editing professional. Editorial work is often more of a flexible art than a task that follows a standard procedure, as there are many ways to work with an author to bring out the best in their work.
At Ooligan, we only publish three books a year. Every manuscript we acquire is treated with extra special love and care, and receives developmental edits, line edits, and several rounds of copyedits.
As the publishing industry evolves, media and publishing independents have witnessed the dissolution of the full-time copy editor. Among magazine, news media, and book publishing entities, an in-house copy chief is often considered a luxury of days gone by. The expense of the full-time position is often too difficult to justify, and the responsibility of clean copy can fall on in-house production teams.
English is hard. According to the Oxford Royale Academy, it’s one of the top five most difficult languages in the world today. So why do we, as writers and especially as editors, accept making our jobs that much more difficult by using so many different style guides?
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.
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.