Making TED (The Editing Decision) in 1998

July 1997
by Bill Becker

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The typical small press prospecting for useful freelance editing work, I have found, can strike either a mother lode of critical input or worthless rock. Professional outside editing is not warranted for every manuscript. In many cases, publishers would be better advised to apply the money that would be spent on editing to marketing even passably written nonfiction works. But in many other cases, editing is crucial — it’s an important part of answering the special needs and intended purposes of a manuscript.

How convenient it would be if TED could be based on a book’s subject matter alone. Alas, it cannot: Professional editing can be critically important even for works of “casual” content and general focus like The New Mexico Trivia Book (Gem Guides Book Company, Baldwin Park, California), which I corrected and polished recently.

Nowadays, with so much electronic media accessible for any author’s message, the content within the covers of any professionally printed and bound work, intended to be replicated thousands of times, must not be considered trivial. How trivial, for example, is even “trivia” when there are trivia books on at least a score of topics and locales (my favorites are The Best of the Bible Trivia and Nashville Trivia), along with the sisters of trivia—scores of fact books and almanacs—on shelves in bookstores, libraries, and homes across the land?

Not to mention that typically the unit cost of print production alon…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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