Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Author or editor

Have you ever been surprised by something that is totally different from what you believe it to be? I've always thought that the author of a book has the ultimate say over the text, images and layout. Little did I know that the real decision maker is the editor!

An idea for a book not necessarily come from authors' book proposal. Very often, editors and sales reprentatives are the ones who brought the ideas to the table. Once the editorial board agrees on a book proposal, editor in charge will decide on the most suitable author to assign to.

Besides making suggestions for revisions on the manuscript, it is the editor's choice of images to accompany the text; author has nothing to do with the selection (unless she raises strong objection to any of the images selected). However, the author is the one to put a caption for each of the image selected : ).

Another interesting thing about the editorial process is the number of people involved. Besides the author and editor, there are the 'expert' (to verify the accuracy of the concept presented), the photo researcher, the copyeditor (to check basic grammer, punctuation, consistency, logic, sense and typesetting features), the keyboarder, the designer, proofreader, indexer and last but not least the production manager.

Have I told you that each of the role above does overlap? Besides the proofreader, the copyeditor, keyboarder, and editor proofread whenever the manuscript lands on their hands. People involved in and enjoyed the editorial process are normally 'perfectionists' - meticulous and detailed. Changes can still take place even when the manuscript is on the way to the printing press (as long as not printed) !!