Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


Are Some Editors Too F**king Uppity?

Slash & Burn Editor

It seems some editors have admitted to canning a complete manuscript sent to them because they found a “technical” (grammatical) error on the first page!…Damn! Christ, in his second coming, wouldn’t stand a chance of surviving another crucifixion with these excessively puckered wordsmiths. 

I feel that correcting these type of technical, grammatical errors is actually part of the goddamned editors job. Hell, editors that judge the whole manuscript content based on an incorrect word structure or phrasing mistake (of which, by the way, all the past, great authors were guilty) are simply lousy at their perceived function in life.

Having said that…here is an editors view by Ann Patty in Publishing Perspectives that cocked my trigger and with which I respectfully disagree in part:   

Learn the F**king Rules! 

Dumb errors in books and e-books are becoming more commonplace — but do overstretched publishers give a damn?

I was delighted to see the New York Times article last week about Johnny Temple’s success with Go the F*ck to Sleep. In this era of groupthink at the large publishers, it’s cause for celebration when a small house such as Akashic Books not only succeeds with a bold bet, but even manages to hang on to the property when the corporate sharks circle. Alas, my delight turned to consternation when I read the verse quoted in the article.

“The cats nestle close to their kittens,

The lambs have laid down with the sheep.

You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.

Please go the ____ to sleep.”

Even my Word program, as I typed the above, knows that the second line should read “The lambs have lain down with the sheep.” Such a mistake, with a word whose meter and rhyme is incidental in the line, in poetry!

In my many years as an editor, the most frequent lesson I’ve had to impart to writers — from fledglings to award winners to mega-bestsellers — is about the difference between the transitive verb lay, laid, laid and the intransitive verb lie, lay, lain. Some authors get it; some never do, even after eight or nine books. That’s why there are editors and copy editors and proofreaders, right?

Where was the editor on Go the F*ck to Sleep? Where was the copy editor, the proofreader? How did that laid slip by them? Isn’t it their job to protect the writer from such an embarrassing mistake?

Read and learn more


John Austin Replies:

Filed under: editoring,editors,manuscript reviews — gator1965 @ 7:11 pm

I’m with you 100%…I made up my mind some time back that I was going to try to get your professional input on my book when I finish the first draft…I have had a complete book proposal and a query letter completed for some time (my book is a narrative nonfiction) but, I have not sent anything to anybody yet. I have chapter one (6,710 words) completed and some of chapter two…I wanted to write more on this project, Havana Harvest…When Cuba Was Naughty!, before I sent it out to professionals…But, perhaps you could give me a little constructive input just by reviewing what I already have…I am having trouble getting any work done lately…Seems like there’s always something!

The only thing I have done with my work is submit excerpts to writers’ sites like and , etc for “some” feedback.

I am also thinking of submitting chapter one, Key West…Erotic Awakenings in Paradise, to a magazine for possible publication…If that materialized it would certainly give my motivation a shot in the arm!

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