New year’s resolution

New year’s resolution

Covers are on my mind. Book covers, specifically. You want your book to have a cover that stands out from the crowd, especially if you are competing for eyes in a retail environment. So it’s understandable that you might want to hire a graphic designer who...
Comma—chameleon

Comma—chameleon

This is a brief technical essay for editors. Writers are free to listen in. Why do we argue, er, debate, er, discuss commas so often? Why do we mostly all agree about one comma and have widely divergent views about another comma? (Okay, there are only three possible...
The lowly speech tag

The lowly speech tag

I think it’s time for a general reconsideration of the convention around commas and speech tags. I’m sensing some grumbling among the ground troops (fellow editors), and I think it may be time for some brave style guide author or three to tackle the...
Judging a book by its . . . no, not just its cover

Judging a book by its . . . no, not just its cover

For most of my life, the public was willing to trust experts—in whatever field—to render judgment on what was better or worse (an argument, a product quality, an artistic work). The zeitgeist has shifted, and now the cultural norm is to distrust experts and reject...
Printers, publishers, and . . .

Printers, publishers, and . . .

Earlier this morning, on a mailing list, someone trying to sort out a list of printers began to ask a question by positing “There are many, many on-demand book printers/publishers online, some with very low prices.” I responded as follows: Stop. Right. There. You’re...