Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Often when I talk to authors about a publisher’s editorial process, somebody responds with the “fact” that publishers no longer edit. Others talk about the terrible mistakes they find in published books, and decry the publishing industry’s lack of standards.
From my perspective, having been in the trenches for 20 years now, I believe this is an erroneous generalization.
Publishers vary widely in their approach to editing.
There are publishers who spend an incredible amount of time and money on editorial excellence, even these days. I know because most of my authors have had to sweat through rigorous edits.
There are other publishers who give a manuscript a quick once-over and call it good. Authors who are with these publishers might have an easier road, but it can be a disappointment in the long run.
And of course, there are publishers who are somewhere in between.
Have budget cuts affected editing?
Many publishers, regardless of where they started on the “editorial spectrum,” have had to cut their budgets, and so there may be less attention to detail. It’s an unfortunate by-product of the difficult financial structure of publishing. But in my experience, the publishers that have always had a commitment to editorial excellence retain that commitment even today, amidst budget cuts.
What about mistakes in published books?
You’re always going to find a mistake here and there in a published book. Most of us can’t afford perfection. And I agree there are more mistakes now than there used to be. (See “budget cuts” above.)
So is it true that “publishers no longer edit”?
I don’t think so. Many are needing to spend less time and money on editing than they used to. But overall, I think most publishers maintain a commitment to editorial excellence.
If there’s something that makes you think “publishers no longer edit,” what is it? What have you personally observed? If you’re published, tell us about your editorial experience with your publisher.