What are the implications of doing less than your best, even if you met the triage criteria, satisfied the writer/client, and are consoling yourself by rolling on a big pile of cash?
Reality Check: No One Knows the Editor
This question actually comes up a lot in professional circles. It’s a bit of a blow to my ego to admit that probably only my mother looks for my name in a book’s credits. So, while it’s common for editors to worry about being associated with poor work, the associations probably don’t happen that often in the wild. Though, you may want to leave this item out of your portfolio.
Except This Time I Did Know the Editor
There was one time in my quarter-century of work that I did look up who had edited a particularly problematic text that I was working on the second edition of. I happened to know that editor first-hand and admired her work tremendously on past projects. When I ran into her at a conference, I said “tell me about project X.” Her answer was diplomatic and professional, but her expression managed to convey what enormous trouble it had been.
It Was Probably Strong Stet
That experience, and having been the editor on such projects myself, leads me not to judge editors on “their” published work, but to say “the stet was strong with that one.” (Stet is a term of art used by editors—and in such cases, their writers—to mean “let it stand” or “do not make that change.”)
CYA With Contract Terms
Some editors use standard contract language that says being credited in the book is at their discretion, so they know they won’t be embarrassed by a work that rejected all of their edits. As Carol Saller says in The Subversive Copyeditor, being acknowledged is indeed sometimes “the kind of glory we can do without.”
What do you think? Have you asked to NOT be acknowledged for your editing? Do you think it could hurt your reputation? Leave your comments below or join the discussion over on Twitter.
Photo by Pixababy used under CC0 1.0 license.