We All Float Down Here, Georgie…
Dat Wascawy Copee Editoh
Your best friend in publishing, next to your agent (should you have one), is not the publisher. Nor is it the guy who stands at the counter and is buying your book. It’s not your mom, nor that one fan who follows you around to EVERY con you might attend. Egads, right?
No, your best friend is the never acclaimed and always left in the shadows copy editor. That individual who lurks in the dark, eats nothing but children and typos, and swills a ton of alcohol while screaming into their locked cages about the author’s four hundred and sixty-sixth typo. It’s that person who keeps your YA book PG and reminds you with mirthless laughter that it’s his shirt which is red and nothing else. It’s that person you rely on the most to fix those little typos that seem to pop up in your book that you never notice. And trust me, you won’t notice… unless you have an English degree, of course. Or are one of those people who actually sees what is there and not what should be there.
Good ones, like Nancy Hanger of Windhaven, will remind you periodically with lighthearted emails that your characters do NOT need to as chew the risks for the necessary goals. They will know what typos to look for constantly by the tenth page, and also help straighten out the meaning of your best lines (“[He] walked down the steps . . . to where his brother awaited him, already saddled and mounted.” is straight from her website) which, for some unknown reason (snort), came out a bit pornographic.
Good publishers keep good staff. You can always figure out which publishers are the best by how well their books are proofed and copy edited.