Publishing experiences (2): Do editors read the copy?


Are some editors merely automatons on a production line? And how many are brazen liars? These were the questions that came to mind after receiving the ‘editorial review’nearly two weeks ago.


I had told the initial contact at the publisher’s head office that I had written five (some longish) short stories. I chose a publishing deal that included an editorial review and a sample edit. I told him I use British English which he said would be okay. I paid.
A few days later I was passed to the next contact who told me to complete details on a form including an ‘About The Book’ section in which I clearly stated that only three of the short stories had the same central character.  I included the content of the remaining two. My book was sent off to an editor and I would hear from them in three to five weeks’ time.
Some weeks later I received an email from the ‘Editorial Department’ which included ‘the completed Editorial Assessment’ and a sample edit.
The Editorial Assessment Report consisted of 64 words (69 if you include the title of the book).
He said I had done ‘a great job’ writing a collection of stories centred on one character (false).
He wrote that the characters were ‘intriguing and realistic’ and would ‘capture the readers’ imagination’ and ‘draw them into the stories’, the dialogue was ‘intriguing’, and that the plot of each story would ‘gain the interest of readers’ (tautology anyone?).
This so-called assessment is generic and reads as if it’s been used repeatedly to describe other authors’ work. And an absence of any  reference to the actual stories also shows the editor hasn’t read the book.
The editor added that the publisher preferred American English.
Someone also incorrectly changed an auxilliary verb – in the first sentence of the first story.
Lesson: every organisation has bad apples, pause for breath, and contact the publisher who will sort out any problems.

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About S.A. Aslam

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