Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Dispatches from the Comma Mines, part 1

It's been a busy fortnight at Comma Central, and promises to be a busy February.

Adventures with Errant Authors
Book A, which is undergoing a complete redesign, goes to press in two weeks. The author is travelling in the southern hemisphere, sending us grumpy, unhelpful notes from Intenet cafés in Patagonia, Antarctica, and other points south of 40, and threatening us with penguins, but not answering our queries. When he does deign to find an Internet café and respond to them, his answers contradict completely what he has previously said.

This is the author who disappeared in Mexico two weeks before the publication date of his last book, getting lost in the mountains, and not giving his editors an address to which to send his proofs.

Eliminating Editorial Hopefuls
We posted a trainee position at the local editorial training ground and received 23 responses from would-be trainees. From 23 resumés, we found only four clean enough to give us any faith in the applicant's editorial abilities. Two cover letters were of marginal literacy. Several more came from applicants who admitted freely that they had not take the basic copy-editing course that we listed as a prerequisite for the job. One cover letter had amusing footnotes.

Note to anyone ever applying for an editorial job: Have someone else edit your resumé. Spell the company's name correctly. Spell the company president's name correctly. Spell everything else correctly. Avoid amusing footnotes. And remember, we deal with writers every day. We can tell when you're padding.

More later...another shipment of prose just arrived and we're struggling to clear it before Friday.

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