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.