Monday, May 8, 2006

Say Hello to Mr. Published Author Guy

That’s right. For the first time in my life, someone accepted something of mine for publication. For the moment let’s overlook the fact that the someone in question is a brand-new student journal and that they were a little short on submissions; the fact is that they really liked my piece and were eager to put it in print.

Let’s also overlook the fact that it’s not much of an article, weighing in at approximately two pages. It started off as a short paper that I dashed off one day for a writing class after feeling for some time that no one had any idea what my major was. I titled it “I Am Not an English Major” and proceeded to whine about trials of being one of those tortured, misunderstood types. Then I transitioned into a more angsty “What am I going to do with my life?” section and wrapped it up with a moving statement about the joys of being an editor.

So, of course, what’s the first thing I notice about my article? The editing.

I should’ve known there’d be problems. I have very high standards, and I’d been in the program long enough to know that many people who fancy themselves editors are in fact terrible at the job they hope to do for the rest of their lives (see this recent post for more on that).

Fortunately, they sent me their edit of my article so that I could review it before it was published. Unfortunately, they made far more mistakes than they caught, and apparently stetting their changes and citing appropriate references in The Chicago Manual of Style was simply not enough to alert them to the error of their ways. It seems like they made most of my changes (or unchanges, as they were), but they were resolute in their belief that the names of academic fields should be capitalized. Thus “I’m an English language major” became “I’m an English Language major.”

If it had been something petty like a comma or a particular wording, I wouldn’t mind so much. This error, however, simply makes me look stupid. How can I claim to be an editor in the same piece wherein I appear to demonstrate my ignorance of a very basic rule of capitalization?

Ah, well. It’s only a student journal, after all. Hopefully no one will think less of me for it. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that most of the readers won’t even notice the problem at all.

Update: You can read the article here.

Editing, Writing 11 Replies to “Say Hello to Mr. Published Author Guy”
Jonathon Owen


11 thoughts on “Say Hello to Mr. Published Author Guy

    Author’s gravatar

    Congratulations on getting published. And condolences on getting published by people who don’t quite realize the quality of what they’re getting.

    Author’s gravatar

    I think you should find out where every copy of Schwa ended up and contact each reader to explain that you’re not really as stupid as the editors make you seem.

    (Okay, not really.)

    Author’s gravatar

    Oh, is there any way that those of us who won’t be able to find a copy of Schwa would be able to read your article?

    Author’s gravatar

    I think I’ll post it over in the English section, but maybe I should make sure that I’m not violating copyright laws or anything if I do that.

    Author’s gravatar

    I’d look forward to seeing it. Good luck figuring out the whole copyright thing.

    Author’s gravatar

    So I decided to not bother looking into the copyright issue for the following reasons: (1) it’s a nonprofit journal—what possible objection could they have? and (2) I never signed a contract or anything. It is now posted here.

    Author’s gravatar

    Congratulations, and many happy returns. Monetary ones, for instance.

    Author’s gravatar

    Jon Boy – (you may not read this since I’m a few days late responding).
    I sent this to a young girl who is a friend of my daughter’s, who just graduated HS and is heading off to “be an English major”. She really enjoyed it (the article itself that I linked her to). She wants to be an author, not a teacher.

    Author’s gravatar

    I read all the comments; I get an e-mail every time someone posts one.

    I’m glad your friend’s daughter liked it. :)

    Author’s gravatar

    Okay – yeah – you caught me with really bad punctuation /word usage there, didn’t you? I just realized that as I re-read it. I’m so ashamed! ;)

    Author’s gravatar

    No, I think that was my mistake (unless, of course, you actually meant “friend’s daughter” and not “daughter’s friend”).

Comments are closed.