“People don’t publish books to make money.” Those were some of the first words the instructor said in my very first Publishing 101 course at Ryerson University. We’ve all seen some miraculous authors hurdle over the roadblocks of the book business and make their fortunes. JK Rowling just might be the literary world’s equivalent to The Beatles and I’m sure Stephen King isn’t worrying too much about his retirement income. But out of the 500,000 titles published in English every year, not many of those are true bestsellers.
I love the deep, probing, evidence-based thinking that goes into academic papers and so this is one of the areas of editing that reaps a lot of rewards for me as an editor. When it comes to editing university papers - one of the main tools for assessing student performance - careful attention must be paid to the limits of what an editor can do to improve a student's work. Editors Canada recently published ethical guidelines for editing student papers. These guidelines are essential to take on board before an editor and student begin to work together. Here are the links:
Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Undergraduate Student Texts
Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Graduate Student Texts
Permission form to confirm editing services for student texts
Back in 2014 and 2015 I interviewed a handful of writers for a series I called Pre-authorized. The idea was to offer some validation to the writers who were toiling away at their craft but didn't yet have a lot of recognition within the book industry. Each of them had already worked for years to complete a manuscript, and when I spoke with them their books were unpublished.
Now we're a few years on, and I am so pleased that every one of these writers has either found an agent, a book deal, a publisher, or beautifully bound copies of their books in bookstores.
The life of a writer is quiet. If only thoughts made noise. The streams that go through a writer’s mind would work up into a torrent. Rivers, tides, waterfalls, a bursting aquifer.
As a writer works out what to put down on paper—which word, which character, which fact, which heading—the thoughts often move along many simultaneous paths. Connected ideas and tangents flow as the writer labours—the chronology of unfolding events, the tension of the story’s main conflict, the relationships between characters, dialogue and scenes, descriptions of setting, the climax, the ending, and all the paths that must be travelled to take readers to a satisfying conclusion. Almost all of this work takes place in silence.
Naturally it’s difficult to get into the flow of writing when surrounded by noise and interruptions, so writers tend to work alone where it’s quiet. But I’ve been trying something different lately, as I edit, and it’s based on an idea I got from A.L. Kennedy’s book On Writing.