Monday, July 5, 2010

Tech editing

Tech Editing is shorthand for "technical editing". Crochet patterns should be "tech edited" before they are published. Magazines and books, yarn companies and most self-publishers, hire a technical editor to re-check all the math in a pattern. They look for and fix errors. They look for the pattern to be written consistently in terms of layout, punctuation and language. The technical editor makes sure the pattern is written in the "style" of the buyer (bold in the right spots, italics in the right spot, items presented in the correct order, etc). For garments, they compare the gauge presented with the measurements that are offered to make sure that the math works. When I self-publish a pattern and say that it has been "professionally tech edited", it means that I hired a person to check all this for me. Usually, unfortunately, it costs more than I am going to make on the pattern. I go "in the hole" with the pattern, but I'm hoping over time and with the quality and timelessness of the design that eventually I will make a profit. So far, that has not happened, but it's critical that a pattern that is for sale be as accurate as I (with help!) can make it.

Thank you dear tech editors, there should be a National "Tech Editor" day in your honor. I have once written an ode to one of my tech editors. The best tech editors are the ones who take the time to teach the designer in addition to "fixing". The more the designer learns, the better pattern is from the beginning the less the tech editor has to "fix" later. When my tech editors take the time to "teach" by offering a tip or note I save those in a file so that I can refer to those notes the next time I write a pattern. Tech editors usually work for magazines and books either 'by the hour' or 'by the project'. If a tech editor submits as huge hourly bill to the magazine because it took so long to "fix" a pattern, that's bad. The magazine/editor/yarn company will notice a trend if the tech editor has to spend gobs of time on a particular designer's work. Moral of the story? Always make your work the best it can be. Mistakes happen, but attempt to keep it to a minimum.

Above is a photo I got off the internet photo search for the Indigo Bunting bird. I have been seeing these little jewels flying around in our area. They are just amazing to see. They zip by so fast all that is left is a streak of electric blue so startling that it makes you say, "Wow, what was THAT?"

Happy 4th of July!

1 comment:

Vivian said...

Thanks for the explanation! How fascinating. I see that a tech editor has to be extremely proficient in crochet (or knitting, if the editor's editing a knitting pattern), pattern reading, and should also have a good eye for typos and those sorts of errors. (Your blog is so well-written that simple typos are surely not ever part of the corrections!)