The Mysteries of the copy edit

I received the copy edit of my manuscript yesterday and quickly realized there’s no way I could be a copy editor.

The attention to detail is phenomenal, almost inhuman. Extra spaces are deleted, words that shouldn’t be capitalized are un-capitalized and ones that should be are, that’s and which’s are used properly, and a host of other grammatical and style issues are corrected. All of this hard work that will make me look much smarter than I am has been done by someone who has remained nameless to this point.

To that nameless someone…

“I’m sorry for all of the oversights. You must think I’m an idiot. Thanks for your hard work.”

The copy edit Style Sheet came with a Word List. I’m not exactly sure what the word list is, but I think that it is made up of words in the manuscript that can be styled in a number of different ways and terms that aren’t typically used like birdman and PO-ed. One thing I can’t quite figure out is that some of the words in the list are words that I don’t use in the book.

For example:

I don’t mention Warren Buffett (on the list) in the book, but I do write about Jimmy Buffett (not on the list).

(Note: My book will likely be found in the Business book section. The above sentence pretty much sums up what kind of business book it is.)

The word list and the copy editors are just two of the mysteries of the copy edit. I’ll be spending most of the next two weeks pouring through the edit, I’ll let you know if I come across any other mysteries.

Until then, here’s a list of the F-words found in the book and here’s a sentence using a few of them:

The Fed flip-flopped friggin’ French toast on Fantasy Island.

Fantasy Island
Federal Reserve System, the Fed
feng shui
first-aid (adj), first aid (n)
flat-screen TV
follow-through (n); follow-through (adj)
follow-up (n); follow up (v)
foreign-invested firms
Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC)
French toast
front-end loading

UPDATE: “Set up” is two words, not one, nor is it hyphenated
UPDATE: There’s no apostrophe in 1970s

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