What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)
My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.
You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.
Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Saturday, October 25, 2008
copyediting and design
Having said that, for a number of my publishers, part of my job as a copyeditor is to give the designer instructions on how to lay out a book. This is done typically through Word style sheets or a series of codes. Examples:
PN (part number)
PT (part title)
PST (part subtitle)
CN (chapter number)
CT (chapter title)
CST (chapter subtitle)
1 (1-level head)
2 (2-level head)
3 (3-level head)
4 (4-level head)
BL (bulleted list)
NL (numbered list)
UL (unnumbered list)
2C (two-column text)
FM (front matter)
BM (back matter)
PE (prose extract)
VE (verse extract)
BOX (I'll leave this one to you)
Such codes are highlighted, placed in square brackets or angle brackets . . . whatever will catch the designer's attention so that per can search for the codes and apply the proper typographical attributes to that section of text. Whatever is not coded is presumed to be body text.
One publisher in particular has a list of codes that goes way beyond this and gets down to specific characters, such as for an apostrophe at the beginning of a word (for an elided character) that if left uncoded would appear as a single opening quote.
Where am I going with all this? Because of this coding function, the copyeditor becomes a de facto designer -- not in terms of fonts and spacing and the overall look of the book -- but how certain text is to be treated.
For example, paragraphs that begin with numbers: should they be treated as numbered lists, or just as paragraphs that begin with numbers? What about chapter-ending questions in a book of curriculum? Should the header for that list of questions be treated as a 1-level head, or have some different typographical treatment? Should some copy that doesn't apply directly to the running text be treated as a box or as a prose extract (PE)? Should heads for front matter be treated as chapter titles?
These are not life-or-death decisions. Ultimately a page designer is going to work with the in-house editor to determine what looks best. But the first pass at book design is often made by the copyeditor, especially when a publisher does not simply work off a series of templates for all of its books. Even then, deciding what code to apply to a given portion of text can be a conundrum.
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