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The Subversive Copy Editor
Advice from Chicago: (Or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself)
[Series] Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing

by Carol Fisher Saller

Carol Fisher Saller, author of The Subversive Copy Editor, is the senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press and the editor of The Chicago Manual of Style Online’s Q&A. Armed with a winsome sense of humor and two decades of copy editing experience, Saller creates a concise guide which sheds light on managing editor-writer-colleague relations.

The Subversive Copy Editor starts with the premise that the editor’s first obligation is to the reader, the second to the writer. It is divided into Part One (Working with the Writer, for the Reader) and Part Two (Working with Your Colleagues and Yourself). In a chapter titled "The Good Launch," Saller reveals three virtues of good copy editors; namely, carefulness, transparency, and flexibility, as well as six habits to cultivate before wielding that red pen.

In addition to lots of realistic, professional relationship advice, the author suggests strategies for "prioritizing, organizing, and documentizing." A chapter designed for writers provides insight into copy editors’ goals. Along the way, Saller provides footnoted URLs to helpful online articles and sites, and a "Further Reading" list at the back.

Who knew a copy editing book could be so much fun to read? More than once, I caught myself laughing out loud. The depth of practical counsel, however, is seriously useful. Writers and copy editors alike will want to add this book to their reference shelf, alongside their Strunk & White, their Plotniks, and, of course, their Chicago Manual of Style.

The Book

University of Chicago Press
Mar 2009
0226734250 / 978-0226734255
Reference / Writing & Editing
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The Reviewer

Deb Kincaid
Reviewed 2009
© 2009