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Showing posts from July, 2012

The Apostle's Screed

screed/skrēd/Noun:A long speech or piece of writing, typically one regarded as tedious.A lengthy piece of writing; a discourse or harangue.
The majority of my editing assignments are academic works, generally masters theses or doctoral dissertations by students with minimal writing skills and/or have English as their second language. Though these works keep me adequately employed, they are not exactly enjoyable, particularly the ones about science or technology. Let's just say I drink a lot of coffee for those.

But every now and again I will be blessed with editing someone's "book" they want published. These are generally poorly written works of non-fiction that can be described as screeds, that is, long diatribes on what they see as wrong with the world. If only people would listen to the author, the world would be all better. Some of the screed topics I have had the pleasure of editing are:

Miscegenation and interracial marriages are entirely to blame for poverty, …

You think you don't need me, but you're wrong

I was reading an article on Time Magazine's site the other day. Yes, Time Magazine, that bastion of proper journalistic integrity and professionalism. The following section appeared:

They had 181 women with young children take a survey specifically designed to test the degree of the mothers’ adherence to “intensive mothering beliefs” – i.e. the general notion that a woman should ideally devote her ideally herself heart, body and brain to her children, at each and every moment of each and every day.
Can you spot the errors? I sure can and it's probably not because I am a professional editor. It is simply because I can read. This type of laziness (or frugality, I'm not sure which) has become rampant on the websites of professional news organizations. MSNBC, CNN, Daily Beast, Huffington Post—they are all guilty of publishing items that have clearly not received even the most cursory of glances from a second pair of eyes. Yes, spell check is awesome. Yes, the writers…

Vanity, thy name is Writer

Yesterday I was perusing the website of Patrick Rothfuss, the author of the Kingkiller Chronicles. I was noticing how fantastic his website was and I decided to check into who designed it for him. As luck would have it, there was a link at the bottom of his homepage to Authors on the Web. Once I get ready to publish my book, I will be in need of a snazzy website, so I thought I would take a look to see if I could avail myself of their services. So when I got to the form for people to fill out, there was a box for the author to fill in his/her publisher. Underneath that box was this sentence: "Please note we are not accepting inquiries from self-published/vanity authors at this time."

 There may have been a time when "self-published" was exactly the same thing as "vanity publishing." But, in my view, those days are past. While getting published by one of the big six certainly does lend an air of credibility, we have also seen many self-published works go on…