Friday, March 6, 2009
Authors Editing Themselves
I remember how once a large publisher decided its copyediting staff was expendable. A cost-benefit analysis had concluded that no fewer titles would be sold if they went unedited, so dozens of in-house copyeditors were laid off, and staff authors were charged with “editing themselves.” Within a year, many of the copyeditors had been hired back as freelance consultants, sitting in their old cubicle spaces. It turned out that only they knew how to keep the flow of production going from raw manuscript to published title. A jaded editor might be forgiven for suspecting that the publisher knew all along it would rehire the copyeditors and was simply maneuvering to strip them of their benefits packages.