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Thread: copyediting

    • Join Date: Jan 2010
    • Posts: 1


    Our company now include a new vertical Copyediting.

    What is copy Editing?
    What is required for copyediting.
    Kindly explain.

  1. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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      • UK
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    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,037

    Re: copyediting

    I haven't met the phrase 'vertical copyediting', but it might be a euphemism for 'saving money by getting the author to do more'!

    The most complex model for book production includes many stages:

    1 The commissioning editor approaches a literary agent

    2 The agent approaches a writer

    3 The writer writes a proposal and sample

    4 The commissioning editor discusses possibilities in conjunction with the production and marketing departments

    5 The writer writes the book

    6 The copy-editor reads it and makes proposals about cuts and reworking

    7 The writer revises

    8 The desk-editor 'marks up' the typescript (imposing house style, and clarifying potential problem areas for the type-setter

    9 The type-setter does his thing

    10 The desk-editor receives 'galley proofs' (with no page-breaks) and (with the writer) corrects them

    11 The type-setter implements those corrections and produces page proofs

    12 The desk editor (and writer) correct them and insert page cross-references (entered in the typescript as 'See p. 000')

    13 The printer makes those corrections and delivers final books

    This picture is vastly simplified; the publisher has a rights department, for example, and there is a contract for the author to sign; in addition to Marketing there are Publicity and Sales departments; there is also a Design Department... And throughout the whole process different people have to liaise in various ways with other people in the process. This was the traditional model (not traditional since the time of William Caxton, but the norm when I worked for OUP in the early 1980's).

    Advances in technology have meant that a lot of these people and the bureaucracy that knits them together is unnecessary. Different organizations have made different savings. For example, in my part of OUP ('General Division') I did the work of both Copy-editor and Desk-editor, but in the 'Academic Division' these two roles were separate.

    An author now can use Desktop Publishing to prepare a file that a printer can work from directly; this happens in some cases. More often, a publisher designs a template which automatically imposes house style through the software provided to the writer.

    So, to summarize, my supposition is that my vertical list of steps in a process has been squashed together to make everything quicker and less expensive for the publisher; as a result, much of the checking involved falls to the author. This might be an explanation of 'vertical copyediting'. More context would help (as always).



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