I’ve been reading a book titled The Chicago Manual of Style.
For those who don’t know, it’s basically everything you need to know about the technicalities of being a Professional Editor.
Seeing as this is a highly likely career choice, I read this book with much gusto. As such, many times I made this face while reading:
And said this:
And when people asked if I enjoyed reading it i’d respond:
Now if you thought goofed around more than I read you might not be far from the truth. However, like a good student, I did in fact glean some useful information. The lesson that stood out the most is, in a nutshell, what an Editor is supposed to do.
Mind you, I did not say what an Editor is “expected” to do. If I were to do that I’d probably render half the book moot due to stereotypes. So, for the sake of my fellow readers and anyone else who dares to read this poor excuse for a blog, I shall list:
Things Your Editor is NOT Going To, Allowed To, or Will Do.
1) Your editor is NOT in it for the money.
-For some reason people my age think Editing is a lucrative job. They think that editors pull out their expensive quill pens from the 15th century, lean back on their authentic Shakespearean recliners, and draw strands of red ink across a page while huge stacks of money get delivered to them by the dump truck.
Hate to say it but editing is not the most high paying profession. If you’re an editor, chances are you’re paid by commission. Pay on commission means: you get paid whenever someone wants you to work for them, and you charge for your services. I don’t know about you guys, but living on $30-50 a commission doesn’t sound as glamorous when you only get 2-3 commissions a week, if they come that often.
2) Your editor is NOT out to steal your work.
-As someone who works via commission, getting work in the first place means your name needs to be known. When you business spreads via word of mouth/internet/smoke signal/etc. the most important facet is your reputation. The better it is, the more commissions you get: plain and simple.
So if an Editor, for some reason, thinks it’s a good idea to disregard International Copyright Laws and steal ideas from patrons, chances are they won’t being working for long.
3) Your editor is NOT out to get you.
-Remember what I said about reputation? In a way being an Editor is a lot like being a server in a restaurant. One who cares about their job only wants to serve and see other people do well. It’s this kind of selfless delusion that implies that some people might, for some strange reason, consider that the happiness of others is somewhat important. However, while a server may end up getting tips from stroking your ego, an editor’s job is much different. In fact, editors get by on constructive criticism, which is basically the same as your server telling you not to eat that steak because of your cholesterol.
Actually being an editor is a lot like being a coach: and I’ve yet to know of a good coach that doesn’t yell at his/her team every once in a while. If you don’t like it, you can always go to a different one, but please don’t expect them to lie and stroke egos if your work sucks. Being critical is their way of helping you succeed.
I could go on, but I find this list is sufficient. Besides, I have a lot more material to cover this month, especially before I head out for Denver on the 12th. Anyone with any follow up opinions or comments is more than welcome to contribute. If I got something wrong please don’t hesitate to scold me down below. And with that, I bid thee all adieu.
Until next time.