Footprints in the text

In the past I’ve talked about the editing process, and how whenever I edit someone else’s work I seem to leave footprints in their text.

Well, I think I’ve finally conquered that problem.

Today I received an advanced copy of “A practical guide to Information Architecture”, the book I spend a month or so editing for my friend Donna Spencer. (It gets officially released on the 8th of June.) And as I started reading it I saw my name in the list of credits. “Editor: Bill Harper”

It was an incredibly satisfying feeling. I worked really hard on the manuscript, and it was great to see my name along with the rest of the production crew. (The publishers have since asked if I’d be interested in working on other projects. Two words: “Hell yeah!”)

But then I read the acknowledgements page, and I was blown away. Here’s what Donna said about me:

“My editor Bill Harper was amazing. I looked at the first chapters he sent back and thought he hadn’t done anything – I couldn’t see any differences. But he had done tons of work – he’d managed to improve my writing out of sight and still keep it sounding just like me. Bill, I hope you can edit for me for every other book I write (and I’m glad you’re my friend).”

Now I’ll admit I was lucky: Donna and I have very similar writing styles, and so it was nowhere near as difficult as it could have been. But still, it was great to see she couldn’t even see where I’d been until she actually compared the two versions. Not a footprint in sight.

If you’re reading this Donna, I can’t thank you enough. For your friendship, for your faith in my abilities, and for your kind words that have done more for me than you can possibly imagine. And I would be honoured to edit every other book you write.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Liss June 7, 2010, 10:49 am

    That is the art of a good editor though Bill, keep the writer’s voice. That’s their tool. It’s like a a voice coach will only enhance the sound of a fine singer.

    Kudos to you! 🙂

  • Debra June 7, 2010, 10:54 am

    What amazing comments on your work! That’s great. You are not only supportive but also respectful in your editing. I hope you two are able to work together often in the future, sounds like you have a great rapport.

  • altait June 7, 2010, 10:58 am

    Hooray! It’s hard to do Bill and it looks as though you do it well. Well done!

  • Seraphimsp June 7, 2010, 11:14 am

    I cannot tell you how good it made me feel to read your post.It gives me hope. Good on you Bill. You should feel incredibly proud of yourself.

  • Anj (@anjwrites) June 7, 2010, 2:09 pm

    Incredible – congratulations, Bill 🙂 Nothing like seeing your name in a book and sounds like you got the appreciation you deserve for such a great job!! Now if I get another non-fiction book going I’m sure to send it to you for editing 😉

  • Bronnie Marquardt September 23, 2010, 7:42 am

    Yay for you Bill. There are editors who change things for the sake of it, or because they believe ‘their’ way is better. It is rare to get an editor who manages to keep the writer’s voice AND make it better, so that the writer is grateful to the editor and the two work in sync. I’d say that’s a really heartfelt endorsement for your work.


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