From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Longtime editor of the Chicago Manual of Style Online's deft, humorous Q&A page, Saller writes with wisdom and a great generosity of spirit in this singular survival guide to the copy editor's trade. Addressing issues essential to these professional perfectionists, who can easily develop compulsive or inflexible practices, Saller's improbably fun text also makes a cagey introduction to the field. Framing each chapter with a choice Q&A from her column (Q: "Is it ever proper to put a question mark and an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence in formal writing?"), Saller offers thorough advice on common obstacles, like an adversarial writer-editor relationship, or a seemingly endless task. Tried, somewhat obvious solutions-cultivating positive work habits, examining your motives, organizing your priorities-are thoughtfully re-established for overworked, under-appreciated editors. Practical considerations include the minefield of e-mail etiquette, understanding version control, maintaining transparency and the indispensability of back-up copies. With entire chapters devoted to the freelancer and the writer, and an extensive guide for further reading, this is an ideal complement to any style guide: practical, relentlessly supportive and full of ed-head laughs (A: "Only in the the event that the author was being physically assaulted while writing").
The editor of the Chicago Manual of Style’s monthly Q&A offers a wonderfully concise yet nuanced guide for the working (or would-be-working) copy editor. Starting with her dictum, “Do no harm,” Saller explains the modern-day role of the copy editor, good habits to cultivate, how to develop a solid working relationship with an author, handling deadlines, and many other specifics of the profession. She wears her experience well, urging flexibility, transparency, and tact—along with, obviously, consistency and reason—in working with authors and their copy. And, wisely, she’s included a useful chapter for writers who might pick up the book. Less “subversive” than sensible, the advice here, which leans toward book-manuscript editing, is a good companion to the more austere CMOS, but it can work well with other style guides. And a nice bonus: since the book is also produced by the University of Chicago Press, it’s a fine example of the CMOS in action throughout the publishing process. --Alan Moores
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