The Copy Editor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, 3rd edition, is a comprehensive resource for both new and experienced editors. The preface acknowledges the author’s intent to help new copyeditors: “This handbook is addressed to new and aspiring copyeditors who will be working on nonfiction books, journal articles, newsletters, and corporate publications. . . [because style manuals] assume that their readers already understand what copyeditors do, why the rules matter, and how and when to apply, bend, or break the rules.”
I would argue, however, that even established editors would benefit from this text as an overview and reminder of our complex tasks and decisions. It was good to see an acknowledgment of the intricacies of editorial judgment and to watch a professional walk through the research that informs her judgments. Even after years of editing, I learned something in every chapter I read.
My other argument with Amy Einsohn, the author, is that she has based the book on The Chicago Manual of Style, whose explicit purpose is to set style for academic publishing (specifically at the University of Chicago), not necessarily for “book publishing and corporate communications” as Einsohn has specified. I also wonder why she fails to mention The Gregg Reference Manual, my favorite style manual for all things business because it addresses far more relevant issues than does Chicago.
Nevertheless, Einsohn redeems herself with 15 editing exercises sprinkled throughout the chapters (the answers alone take up 66 pages). The richness of this book almost makes me wish that I would experience a very minor injury or illness that would sideline me for just one day so that I could curl up, finish the book, and take the quizzes.
The Copy Editor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, 3rd Edition
University of California Press