On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Electronic Editing and Contracts

Yes, I loathe and despise electronic editing, especially since it's in Word...which I won't be doing anything in except these nasty things. I can't tell why some paragraphs when I close them WON'T indent, so I just delete them and live with the letter of last sentence, period, letter of next sentence. Let those who are expert with word sort it out. As far as I can tell, it's very, very messy.

I had 3 documents open at all times. The copy edits where text was deleted in little swatches that showed up in the margins that I could neither read nor undelete nor copy and paste back into the documents. A file that showed me exactly what was deleted by strikeout, and an original file with the stuff not deleted at all so I could cut and paste what I wanted back in. I tended to paste the original scene in and then cut from there.

But electronic editing is here to stay and I won't be a Luddite. This is a tide that can't be turned and that I can't stand against.

I am concerned about some things. First, it is easier for me to judge stuff on the page, what could be cut and how it will look.

Mostly I'm worried about my author's rights. This is contractual. I can do a certain amount of cutting and inserting and changing at the copy edit stage. I was also allowed to do some in the page proof/galleys stage. My contracts stated 6%, which, in a 500 page ms. is 6 pages worth, and if I wanted to change a word at this stage, I would do so, or a sentence, or a paragraph or three.

I've been warned now that only correcting typographical mistakes will be allowed in the final stage, and I think that is because of the formatting. This electronic document will be what is printed.

So now am I not only NOT seeing any of this on actual paper unless I print it out so I can't visualize it in a way I'm accustomed to, but the formatting of the document itself is limiting my creativity, my wish to make the best book possible.

Limiting my contractual rights. I now really have only one shot at making the book good, so I'd better hope nothing is terribly distracting in real life at the copy edit stage or else.

This is something I may have to talk to my agent about -- and double check my contracts for. This is something other writers need to consider.

May you learn more about your work every day.


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