Electronic editing means editing on screen with a software program
that can track the editing changes and provide an edit trail for review.
The editor usually has an option of printing a copy of the manuscript
showing every alteration, only substantive changes, or only the revised
version. Decisions regarding this "paper trail" are generally made between
the author and editor: some authors want to see every change; others
prefer clean, flowing copy.
Selecting projects for on-screen editing
The best candidates for electronic editing are:
- Manuscript with no room for editing (single-spaced or with minimal
- Manuscript riddled with handwritten inserts;
- Scannable manuscript without corresponding disks;
- Manuscript needing restructure or heavy editing.
The straightforward manuscript that you expect will be lightly edited
presents few problemswhether edited conventionally or on screen.
Electronic editing offers limited additional benefit.
Poor candidates for on-screen editing are manuscripts in disciplines
requiring frequent use of interlinear symbols unavailable in standard
word processing programs (e.g., chemistry, linguistics, logic), or ones
with elements that cannot be directly translated into typesetting programs
(e.g., projects with built-up equations or those having lots of tables).
Benefits of electronic editing
A major advantage to editing on screen is that alterations can be seen,
approved, and put into the electronic file before any typesetting costs
- Early use of all the files ensures that the disk is usable and complete.
- Authors will not have to learn the shorthand of editing marks.
- Early review of the file by editors and author reduces the need
for subsequent proofreading and correcting by proofreaders, author,
- Confirming the input at an early stage can be especially valuable
if the author will be unavailable later in the production process.
- Editors do their best work when not hampered by a physically disastrous
- Electronic manipulation is a major improvement over cutting and
pasting on projects that require heavy editing or significant rewriting.
The bottom line
When editors edit electronically, they usually complete their task by
reviewing the work approved by the author, removing queries and unapproved
alterations, and reviewing the coded disk for composition.
Part of the advantage of having editors edit on screen is the added
value they provide by bringing their trained eyes and ears, as well
as their familiarity with the project, to the electronic file.
Because of the editor's skills, compositors do not need to make alterations
and can bypass the input department. Pages flow quickly and there is
no need to proofread. Weeks can thus be saved in page makeup and generation.
Cost is another major benefit when using a corrected electronic file.
Although people who edit on disk generally charge more than their paper-and-pencil
colleagues, compositors may charge less when they can run pages from
clean disksreducing the cost of composition by 10 percent on a
book with light corrections to as much as 35 percent on one with heavy
In an attempt to reduce the cost of correcting the file, a publisher
may turn to a service bureau instead of the compositor or the editor.
This masks accountability for the changes being made. The publisher
cannot guarantee the work of this third party and therefore cannot ask
for the best "clean file" discount from the compositor.
Occasionally a publisher may turn to the author to input the editing
as the manuscript is being reviewed. This is an especially dangerous
path because it diverts the author's attention from manuscript approval,
it allows the author to insert unedited changes, it destroys the paper
trail, and it forces the publisher to carefully review the work again
to confirm that all changes are consistent and appropriatean additional
step easily avoided by better alternatives available. The publisher
cannot guarantee the work of the author and therefore cannot ask for
the best discount from the compositor.
The major benefit of editing online is that the editor can input changes
with minimal cost and delay. If the editor is not able to input approved
alterations, the compositor can still provide this task with skill,
experience, speed, and accountability.
At Generic, we are happy to advise on the suitability of a particular
project for electronic editing and to translate disks for editing on
screen into whatever software is most convenient for the editor.
If the manuscript does not have an electronic file, we can scan a clean
manuscript or keyboard a messy one. Traditionally this is the first
stage of the composition process, but it can also be the first stage
in getting a manuscript ready for editing on screen and a good way to
control the schedule and costs of your books.
For further information, please email us, including your name, affiliation, and areas of interest,
and we will get back to you quickly.
152 Starheim Road
Stamford, NY 12167
607 652-BOOK (2665)
815 346-5272 (fax)
Copyright © 2001 Generic Compositors, a Division
of Stonecrest Industries, Inc.
1/27/12 12:27 PM
Generic's Home Page
The Folks Behind Generic
Editing on Galleys
Editing and Copyediting
Editing on Screen (Electronic Editing)
Generic House Styles
Using Author Disks
Never a Charge for Author Alterations
PDF vs. Page
Generic's FTP site
Finding a Publisher