I love this article by Lori Fradkin, “What It’s Really Like to Be a Copy Editor” (TheAwl.com, July 21, 2010), though I take issue with her opening example:
The word is douche bag. Douche space bag. People will insist that it’s one closed-up word—douchebag—but they are wrong. When you cite the dictionary as proof of the division, they will tell you that the entry refers to a product women use to clean themselves and not the guy who thinks it’s impressive to drop $300 on a bottle of vodka. You will calmly point out that, actually, the definition in Merriam-Webster is “an unattractive or offensive person” and not a reference to Summer’s Eve. They will then choose to ignore you and write it as one word anyway.
I know this because, during my three-plus years as a copy editor, I had this argument many, many times.
Me, I would have let “douchebag” stand—though I might have queried it, just as a formality. When Kristin Hersh tweeted re her forthcoming memoir, Rat Girl,
the poor copy editor at Penguin had to tell me that "apeshit" is not one word, but two
I couldn’t help but reply as follows:
I say it depends on how it’s being used. RT @kristinhersh the poor copy editor at Penguin had to tell me that “apeshit” is not 1 word, but 2
Per Wordnik, the closed form of “apeshit” is by far the most common. @kristinhersh Show your CE: http://is.gd/bzHMe vs. http://is.gd/bzHOf.
.@kristinhersh Also, “An experienced copyeditor will recognize and not tamper with unusual figures of speech or idiomatic usage”—CMS 15:2.56
Photo: Putting Kool-Aid in small containers by Breibeest; some rights reserved.
I made myself watch the archived video of the thesis presentation I gave yesterday afternoon, and it’s not as embarrassing as I’d expected, so I’m posting it for your amusement. There’s a full transcript after the jump, including the slides, since you can’t read them in the video; a few citations; and one correction. I probably said some other things that are inaccurate—particularly, I’m thinking, in my answer to Nancy Hechinger’s question about combination audio- and e- books at the very end. All I know about Enhanced
BooksEditions is what I heard in their TOC presentation, to which I arrived late. Smackdowns welcome.
In defense of the presentation’s being, um, a bit vague in parts—like, the last several minutes before the Q&A—I’d like to point out that (1) I was still editing my slides until one minute before I had to step up to get miked, and (2) InDesign decided to crash as I tried to print my talking points cheat-sheet, and I hadn’t been done writing them, anyway, so I didn’t have much to go on, especially toward the end. I wung it. It’s not the most unprepared I’ve ever been for a presentation, but it’s in the top three, I’m pretty sure. Also, (3) I’d had less than two hours of sleep.
You should watch some of my classmates’ presentations, too. I saw only a handful of them—not even all those that took place after mine was over—and I doubt the videos do them justice, but I can attest that in person, the following presenters slew mightily: Neo (Sangzoon) Barc, Sara Bremen, Marco Castro Cosio, Jayoung Chung, Ozge Kirimlioglu, Carolina Vallejo, and Filippo Vanucci.
Continue reading “The India, Ink. comedy show”
I’ve added a sideblog to capture some of the things I come across in my daily lurking on the booktwitternet. It’s tucked in the middle of a lot of other junk right now, but when I have time, I’ll put it in its own sidebar. Should you wish to follow the sideblog via RSS, the address is http://feeds.feedburner.com/indiainkmarginalia.
Photo: Kellermann, Germany 1938 by lord enfield; some rights reserved.
This Thursday at 12:40 p.m., I have to publicly present some sort of something about my vague and fugitive master’s thesis. The talk—about ten minutes’ worth—will be streamed online so you, my friends, can all point and laugh, and the video will be archived somewhere (hopefully somewhere dark and offline) after the event.
In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out what the hell to say and show, and I’ve had to write a short description of my work for a (printed!!) book of my class’s thesis projects—a book that was, of course, laid out by me, who obviously had nothing better to do with my time. The following is the lofty prose I came up with, sometime between birds-tweeting-time and sunrise this morning:
Continue reading “Three More Days”
One of the things I like—a unique feature, as far as I’ve seen—about Kobo’s e-reader software for iPhone OS is that it gives you a choice between vertical scrolling and traditional pagination. Because, really, what do pages mean on a digital reader where the text can reflow according to user preferences? Great. So, I selected vertical scrolling.
Problem is, even if you choose this setting, you will still run into page breaks:
Continue reading “The option that wasn’t”
Okay! I’ve got basically one month left in which to do my thesis project, so I’m thinking I should try to blog about a little something every day, to force myself to process some of this stuff. Perhaps call it BroTheBloPoMo—Brooklyn Thesis Blog Post Month.
Continue reading “Hyphenation in Stanza”
I’ve been reading a lot of e-books in the past ten days or so, and I have seen a lot of messy formatting. But the latest one takes the cake: a McGraw-Hill Professional book in which the first letter of every paragraph appears on a line by itself. Thus:
he quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Hella annoying. And there was an egregious typo in the book, repeated three times in one paragraph. Annoying enough that I dug around on the McGraw-Hill site until I found a place to lodge my complaint.
But then I got to thinking, as I filled out their lengthy incident report form, that if I want to report every fucked-up e-book I come across—which is most of them—I could spend the rest of my life chasing around on publishers’ websites for the buried feedback addresses or forms. And then I thought, Why not set up a sort of Hall of Shame where not only I but anyone else who finds a crappy e-book can post the gory details?
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the E-book Abomination Index submission form?
Continue reading “E-book Abomination Index”
Left: Eirik Newth. Right: Me.
Easy mistake; could happen to anyone, we’re so alike. Except that, y’know, he’s a genius.
Here (with some corrections), in case anybody else interpreted my posts from this weekend in similar ways, is a way-too-long comment I just posted in response to Doyce Testerman’s Publishing, Charlotte, and John. You should start there, or it won’t make much sense. The part of Doyce’s post where poor Eirik gets dragged into things and where my grumbling gets taken somewhat out of context is at the very end:
In the postscript to this piece, Eirik Newth explains why Big Publishing consistently cites costs to create ebooks that fall miles outside my experience and expectation.
Short version: they’re doing it wrong.
Publishers are still producing paper books the “X-Acto–and–wax” way and then outsourcing their e-book production to other companies, which probably automate the conversion process, and then they’re not practicing any kind of QA on what comes back, because nobody gives a shit, because the people who make the decisions don’t read e-books.
No wonder they think making an ebook is an expensive, time-consuming process.
Yes, you read that right. Publishers aren’t producing workable electronic files when they produce a paper book — their product essentially has to be OCR’d by a third party company to get an ebook out of it. They start with a hardcopy and make someone else turn it into an electronic version, which they’ll never read.
Oops. So I sez to him I sez, No, actually, you didn’t read that right:
Continue reading “Clarifications”