Elspeth MaleApril 18, 2012Mrs. CorbettAP LitSenior Speech When my mother first tried to teach me to read it was a long and arduous process. Istubbornly resisted and to this day I am still not sure why. She would try to strike bargains withme by saying, “You read a page and I’ll read a page.” I countered with, “I’ll read a sentence andyou read two pages.” Luckily my mother was persistent and one day a love of reading wasinstilled in me. Somewhere between Junie B. Jones and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoneeverything clicked and I have been passionately reading ever since. For my senior project Iwanted to see if I could take this love of reading a step further. Hello, my name is Elspeth Male and for my senior project I edited and helped to publishmy friend Morgan Hughley’s book. Since I love to read and I would like to translate that into acareer, when my friend announced she was writing a book for her senior project it seemedperfect for me to edit her book and assist her through the steps of publishing. I am the co-editorof our school’s yearbook and although I know what editing a yearbook is like, I wanted to see if Icould transfer and build upon this skill through book editing. I knew this would be a good way totest out if a career in publishing would be appealing to me. Before I started my project I researched how book publication has changed andmodernized over the centuries. From the original printing press of Gutenberg in the 1440s inGermany to the online publications we have today, publishing has grown through leaps andbounds. Now instead of only religious or informative texts being produced, there is mass
production all over the world. Any author can self-publish themself and have their work seen byall without necessarily needing the help of a large publishing house. E-readers and E-books havebecome a focal point of modern day culture. In Britain alone the number of E-books sales rose623% between January and June of 2011. With this proof that publishing electronically was aviable option, Morgan and I set out to finish her book and make it ready for publication. My product for the senior project is the book that I have edited. I love to read but itbothers me when there are errors in books or I feel like something has not been properlydeveloped. I think a career where I edit books and make them the best they can be is a perfectchoice for me. The actual editing that goes into a book is tremendous. First Morgan and I chose aproject facilitator who had experience in the area of book publishing. Farris Yawn owns thebookstore Yawn’s Books & More in downtown Canton. He, along with his wife and mother, hasrun the store along with a small publishing company on the side for almost ten years. They havepublished many books by local authors along with other seniors’ senior projects. Once a month,Mr. Yawn would hold meetings at his store to learn of our progress. He would check to makesure everyone was reaching the deadlines they set for themselves and then introduce us to guestauthors. The guest authors would give us tips on writing, editing and publishing based on theirexperiences with the process. Seeing the development of a book through the author’s eyes wasalways interesting. Next came the actual editing of the book. Morgan would send me sections ofher book, normally about fifteen pages, for me to edit and then send back to her. I developed aroutine as to how I would view the book. I would first re-read the entire story that had comebefore the new section and then I would read the new section to familiarize myself with thestoryline. During this first viewing I would correct any obvious grammar mistakes that I saw.The second time I read through the chapter I was looking for continuity and to make sure there
were no holes in the story line. Everything needed to flow naturally. I would correct awkwardsentences or tell Morgan when situations needed to be explained in greater depth to accuratelyportray what the characters were feeling or experiencing. Also, I corrected any additionalgrammar or spelling mistakes. Morgan and I completed this transaction numerous times until Ihad read all of her book. After doing the book in stages, I read it one additional time in itsentirety to make certain everything flowed. All that was left at this point were the finishingtouches. I took the pictures for the cover and back of the novel and Morgan designed the cover.With this complete, we went to Kinkos and had the book printed and bound. The main problem that I experienced was meeting the deadlines Morgan and I set alongwith Mr. Yawn. Morgan wrote sixty pages during the summer and beginning of the school yearso I was able to get started quickly. I edited the first pages by October. However, once schoolstarted, Morgan was not able to write as much due to class loads and homework. I did notreceive my next set of pages until February. Morgan did not completely finish writing the bookuntil the beginning of April. We had initially wanted to publish the book as a hardcover and anE-book but as the book was not written in time we had to compromise and print the book atStaples. We, however, still uploaded the book to Amazon to be an E-book. My one regret is thatI did not have as much time as I wished to edit the book and spend time doing numerous fullreads. I believe that if I went into editing as a career this could be a problem I would encounter.However, I now have experience dealing with encroaching deadlines and working underpressure. I learned a great deal about the publishing process as a whole throughout my project. Iwas able to see the process of creating a book through the eyes of an editor and an authorwhenever I helped Morgan. Checking facts, storylines and grammar is a much more strenuous
job than I had anticipated. Reading a book for pleasure and reading a book looking for errors aretwo completely different experiences. It becomes your mission to make sure your book does notcontain even one small error. Editing is a painstaking job but I found out I really love to do it. Ithink editing is a definite career option for me. I have always said I would like to read for the restof my life and now it seems like a distinct possibility. I believe the senior project has helped me focus in on what I want my future career to be.Book editing was a lengthy and at times tedious process but it made me even more proud of ourfinal product. Next time I pick up a book I will be even more thankful for all the hard work thathas gone into its creation, not just by the author, but also by the editor. We should all appreciatewhat true works of art books are. Thank you for your time. Are there any questions?