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Hey, there’s a virtual book floating on the verge of existence here

cover

I have good news and bad news.

The excellent news: I have received the copy-edited manuscript of my book-to-be, The Happy Atheist, from Pantheon. After many delays, it’s finally going to happen for sure! Go pre-order your copy now! Buy buy buy buy buy!

The heart-attack-inducing but not at all unexpected news: I’m supposed to review this manuscript and make any corrections and changes (and I’m on a firm deadline, so have no fear, this will not cause any further delays), and when I opened it up, it was a wall of purple editor’s marks — just page after page of nits picked and wording/grammatical errors hacked into submission. Editors are truly scary people, but I know they have an essential role in the ecosystem — I think they’re kind of like a top predator, poised to cull the herd and feast on the flesh of the weak.

Anyway, I can tell what I’ll be doing this week. Licking wounds. But it’s good for me!

Comments

  1. says

    Also, we’re already arranging promotional stuff. I’ll be doing a book signing in Minneapolis first thing in August, and Melody and Simon are going to arrange something in DC with CFI around then, too.

  2. fastlane says

    If you want to send me an advance copy, my wife would be happy to add a few more marks to it, I’m sure.

    I always have her edit any papers I write…she’s brutal (but very very good at editing).

    Oh, and the advance copy should be signed, of course. :D

  3. eric says

    You have the right attitude, at least. That’s important. I work with lots of people who take offense at the idea of someone editing their work. Its incredibly annoying. A comment that applies to everyone – you, me, and every other Alice Bob or Charlie that writes as part of their job: Stephen King uses an editor, and guess what, you’re no Stephen King.

  4. Owlmirror says

    Your commentators have been pointing out your habit of confusing “its” and “it’s” for years. Did you pay attention? Oh, no… You happily ignored them.

    “Silly pedants. Nits are for kids.”

    For years…!!

    Now the pedants have their purple revenge! BWHAHAHAHAHA!

    But seriously, congrats on moving the book forward!

  5. Ogvorbis says

    Editors are truly scary people, but I know they have an essential role in the ecosystem — I think they’re kind of like a top predator, poised to cull the herd and feast on the flesh of the weak.

    So if we remove the editors, the writers will produce, totally out of control with no predation, and create, what? the internet?

  6. madknitter says

    Having been an editor, I prefer to use red ink. It looks like I’ve bled all over the place after having cut my wrists in despair of finding a single paragraph that doesn’t need editing.

    Bwahahahahaha!

  7. firstapproximation says

    Yay! Waiting a long time for this.

    Any plans to do The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Real Time, etc. when it comes out?

  8. says

    Wait. They edited your book?

    Are you having it published in 1955 or something?

    Editors are truly scary people, but I know they have an essential role in the ecosystem

    and are critically endangered. At least book editors.

  9. says

    Also, we’re already arranging promotional stuff

    You should announce that you’re coming out as “born again” and that there will be a special URL explaining the whole thing, on a certain date. Then, say, “never mind, but here, now that I have generated lots of controversy, buy my book!”

  10. says

    are critically endangered. At least book editors.

    The ones that I know have gone freelance. Now, they correct and improve the mediocre writings of politicians and businesspeople and collect a surcharge to keep quiet about it. The independent editor I worked with on my last book has written several “autobiographies” for the rich and incoherent.

  11. says

    Yeah, they edited it. And they’re going to promote it.

    Those are contributing factors to the delays (also, my first editor went mad): the publishers are taking this all very, very seriously and formally and it is wending its way through many hands and eyes before it gets to see the light of day.

    I think it is the Old School publishing industry, which does have its strengths.

    And yes, I’ve always appreciated editors, even when they cause me pain.

  12. okstop says

    I had a friend who said that using an editor was like hiring a hit man to kill a family member because you couldn’t bring yourself to do it.

    Which he quickly followed up with, “…so, like, smart thinking, you know?”

    Love that guy.

  13. Steve LaBonne says

    Congratulations on finding a publisher that still EMPLOYS copy editors. From what I see in a lot of books these days, most of them evidently don’t.

  14. mjmiller says

    I see the book’s due out in August (am preordering), any plans for a tour? We would love to see you down here in Austin.

  15. says

    Brace yourself. The one-star Amazon reviews from Slymepitter douchenozzles who can’t be bothered to read the book and are just looking for another chance to lob a boatload of ad hominem attacks at you (all the while whining that you’re a “bully”) are coming.

  16. Sastra says

    I just told Amazon I want to read this book on kindle. Which I do.

    One of my favorite features of the kindle is that it saves whatever you highlight into a file which you can then download onto your computer, so that all the lovely quotes and brilliant passages are right there. I used to underline and then painstakingly go back through the finished book and re-type it all into Word. No more, if I can help it.

  17. says

    I will NOT be staking my self-esteem on the reviews, that’s for sure. I expect a wide range, and a large number of comments about my RADFEM ideas.

    It’s never a good idea for an author to try and address the critics. Every time I’ve seen it, it’s been embarrassing…even when I’m on the author’s side.

    As for Kindle…there was a provision in the contract about ebooks. It should happen soon.

  18. says

    A lot of editors just have to lift their leg on stuff to justify their existence. You’ll often find that the rationale behind the purple marks are fragile at best.

  19. Susan says

    Editors, good ones, are gods. I say this as a novelist of 20 years. So many of my books have been vastly improved by GOOD editors and though of course I hate being told something really needs fixing, I also know that I can’t get any kind of distance on a book without quite a few months away from it … unlikely in this business. I’ve had bad editors and editors who don’t edit at all. Fortunately, my current is perfect. She is no authoritarian and offers up “suggestions” which usually end up being right on the mark.

    A good editor is a gift from the FSM.

  20. Susan says

    And I never, ever read my amazon reviews, or anywhere else for that matter, unless someone sends me a good one.

  21. d.f.manno says

    Yeah, editors suck – until you realize that they improved your copy (most of the time).

  22. says

    Well I just did some serious 2013 holiday shopping. I just ordered 5 copies at the low, low pre-order price: 2 for my co-bloggers, 2 for atheist friends – and one for meeeeee!

  23. thecalmone says

    You might find this weird, but I would be interested in reading a piece on how you wrote the book, complete with your interactions with your editors – if you could be bothered writing it.

  24. David Marjanović says

    Yaaay! But (again) what happened to the subtitle? No more dancing on the graves of the gods?

    Also, I add to the praise of good editors.

  25. qwerty says

    Looking forward to collecting your signature at the Minneapolis book signing. I am sure they’ll be a post closer to the event with the time and place.

  26. says

    My editor was mostly helpful in pulling my book together. His suggestions/recommendations tended to focus on shortening and tightening things up. I was sorry to sacrifice some bits of which I was fond, but the end result was a story with fewer digressions and distractions. And my editor was nice enough to sprinkle his recommendations with generous praise for things he spared. (Clever man.)

    By the way, I’m doing a book event in San Francisco on Friday, February 15. Bay Area residents should consider showing up at Opera Plaza at 7:00!

  27. Kyle says

    Pre-ordered with pleasure on Amazon. As a west-coaster with a new baby, I barely have the time to make it out to a movie, let alone a promotional tour. Is there any other way to get it signed?

  28. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    Fangirl squees and is suddenly extremely happy I replaced my stolen Kindle Fire. (I also got back my e-copy of Liars for Jesus when I set up my new Kindle. Yay!)

  29. says

    At least it’s not dripping red ink.

    I love an editor who will mark thing by seriousness, too, even using perhaps red, blue, and green: “THIS is ungrammatical or confusing and must be fixed; *this* is awkward or ambiguous and should be fixed; _this_ could perhaps be improved, thus.”

    When the dust clears, your prose should be better and stronger and your fire should show through the smoke and dust.

    Dawkins needs an editor–he rambles on so.

  30. RFW says

    I’ve read more than one book that would have been much better had a really strict editor been involved in it — books that had in them the makings of much better books than they actually were, books that were disfigured by clumsy writing, poor organization, and many other sins.

    While your editor is certainly paid for the work involved, you still owe her or him an expression of gratitude over and above that. A large box of high grade chocolates is often suitable or a bottle of expensive spirits or a case of good wine, but it’s best if you phone your editor and simply ask what they would like. This is particularly true if you anticipate writing other books that may be edited by the same hands. Encouraged by your generosity and solicitousness this time round, your editor will pull out all the stops and do an even better job next time. This is good.

  31. John Morales says

    [OT]

    RFW,

    While your editor is certainly paid for the work involved, you still owe her or him an expression of gratitude over and above that.
    [...]
    Encouraged by your generosity and solicitousness this time round, your editor will pull out all the stops and do an even better job next time.

    I find your advocacy of baksheesh as necessary to be offensive to the editor.

  32. The Mellow Monkey says

    Pre-ordered! I might even crawl out of my hermit hole and head over into Minneapolis to get it signed.

  33. Rodney Nelson says

    Another book to put on the ever larger stack of “I’m going to read this really soon” books.

  34. copernico says

    Hey! How come it is 40% discounted ALREADY?? Do they do the same with D’Souza’s books?

  35. molly7 says

    I propose a contest to name the actor whose voice would most do justice to PZ’s prose. I nominate Javier Bardem.

  36. nanocephalic says

    @52 Gilbert Gottfried? Bobcat Goldthwaite? How about John Pinette?

    I think Leslie Nielsen would be my real choice except for one little problem.

  37. says

    I don’t know that I have the voice for an audio book.

    Meh. If you can lecture, you can read. Still, I imagine you probably don’t have the time for an audiobook, given all that you post here about your schedule.

    FWIW, I clicked the “let us know if you’d like to have this title on audio” link on the book’s Amazon page.

  38. David Marjanović says

    I find your advocacy of baksheesh as necessary to be offensive to the editor.

    Heh. Methinks that RFW is an editor and would like such lavish gifts themself.

    On the horror of editors.

    I’m laughing so hard…

    “Diagrams are helpful!”

  39. twincats says

    I don’t know that I have the voice for an audio book.

    Why do you say that? Do students leave your lectures with bleeding ears?