Editors, Publishing and Intellectual Property Rights
There are approximately 6 types of editors:
1. Content Editor or Developmental Editor
Someone who provides guidance and critiquing for the overall manuscript.
Many specialize in specific genres and/or subgenres as publishers also tend to specialize in those things and have distinct requirements for key elements of manuscripts. Good developmental editors help authors tailor their manuscripts to meet the style sheet requirements of their publishers.
• All editor comments are suggestions. Authors do not have to make any changes they do not wish to make. This should be a clear understanding from the outset. Authors have the final say on their own work; however, they should seriously consider all professional editorial suggestions before choosing to institute or ignore those suggestions.
• Reputable editors will offer to edit the first chapter or first 10 pages of a manuscript for free. This allows both editor and author the opportunity to gauge each other’s work, and assess whether they are a good fit for each other.
• Contracts should be based on the page count of a manuscript submitted in standard format: 8.5” x 11” with 1” margins, in 12-pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced. The editor may have additional formatting specific to them, or based on the author’s publishing house style sheets. The contract should have distinct time limits for the first round of edits – 90 days is typical, up to a maximum of 6 months for exceptionally lengthy works. The contract should include a specified number of subsequent edits beyond the initial one as the manuscript will need to be re-edited for quality, consistency and structure every time the author incorporates changes.
2. Buying Editor for a Publishing House
Representatives of a publishing house, looking for new material to publish.
These editors make the publishing contracts and sign royalty checks. They look for the following:
• The audience and market for the finished product, including age group and reading level.
• Writing style: sentence structure; vocabulary; length and complexity of the story.
3. Periodical Editors (magazine/newspapers/journals – electronic or print)
Editors seeking content for their publications.
Authors should research each venue to determine the appropriate department and editor/contact person to whom they should submit their articles. Every publication has its own set of strict submission guidelines for theme, word count, publication deadlines and rate of pay. Pay for articles can vary greatly, but is generally modest. Having articles published on a regular basis helps to establish an author’s writing career and public persona.
4. Web Content Editors (online social media and information sites)
Editors seeking columnists for various sites.
These editors approve any and all written content. Compensation to the writer is based on traffic driven to the site as well as any advertising on the site, which can vary greatly.
5. Advertising/Marketing Copy Editors
Editors seeking to purchase copy for marketing purposes.
Copy written for advertising material may range from tag lines to blog posts. Payment is minimal (as in pennies per word) and one-time. Writers do not maintain any intellectual property rights to such work for hire.
6. Line/Copy Editor
Someone who combs over text for basic technical and formatting errors.
Line editors do not suggest improvements to the content or overall style, but check for errors (spelling, grammar, punctuation, computer interpretation errors, etc.) based on the style sheets of the publishers they work with. An author may want to use the editors attached to their publishers, to ensure adherence to required styles.
Publishing and Intellectual Property Rights
An author creates intellectual property – a manuscript. Intellectual property is normally registered with the Library of Congress, and the creator of that property is recorded with the LOC. If an author uses a pseudonym (i.e. a “pen name”), the LOC records both the pen name and the legal name of the author.
Publishing houses negotiate for certain rights to the intellectual property, for which the author receives a specified form of compensation. An author who chooses to sell various rights to their intellectual property will always be the creator of record for that property.