When the pen bows before egos and the Internet

They make corrections to the text in their dreams and then in office. These are the unsung editors in known publishing houses of the Capital, who edit copies of known and new authors and poets.

Be it books on marketing, college books, distance learning books or those on creative writing, they edit everything.

Damini, an editor for over two decades and author of three books, including a book on Hindi poems called Tal Thok Ke, said: “Of late, people’s interest in writing has increased immensely, more so in seeing themselves published. Copies of such writers have goofy grammatical mistakes, apart from paragraphs not connecting in terms of thought. So we end up nearly re-writing the entire copy to make it palatable.”

“Ego” issues

With established writers, an editor also has to deal with ‘ego’ issues.

Many established authors don’t allow removal or addition of even a comma.

Notably, publishers often bow before known writers and push editors not to touch the copies at all.

“A series of books was penned by a known author during the reign of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The author kept repeated one point across eight pages, making it seem like a sycophant’s account of the PM, but the publisher asked me not to ‘touch’ the matter,” recalled Damini.

In addition, plagiarism is another trouble editors face from both unknown and established names.


Neha Surya (named changed), an editor with a publishing house on marketing and academic books, said she came across plagiarised bits in almost all copies these days.

“Two of our best-selling authors on marketing and management, who don’t allow us to edit their copies, have landed us in a legal soup because they copied a good portion of their work from two well-known international authors. These authors, on discovering the same, filed legal suits against us. We are involved in many such cases because of such established writers.”

She added that unless editors surf the Internet, they cannot determine the amount of copying done and its source.

However, not all the editors face this problem. Chetan Kranti of Raj Kamal Prakashan said: “Such editing issues usually arise with freelance editors.”

However, most editors also agree that they are not paid well for the “thankless job” they do.

“There is barely any acknowledgement,” said Damini.

Neha added: “We come out with nearly 1,000 books a year. With increasing competition, focus on e-books and stringent deadlines, we are paid just a third of fair wages.”

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 10:51:20 AM |

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