Mission accomplished

The Happy Atheist

I am relieved to announce that this book thingie has been edited and shipped back to the publisher. Next step is some arcane process called “typesetting”.

The best thing about it: I really, really love editors. They have a skill that they apply well, and they make everything twinkle sninily that they touch. I wish I could take this one and make her copy edit all my blog posts from now on (even though she’d probably correct “sninily” and tell me I have to explain these weird terms.)

The worst thing: this book has been moldering at the publishers for so long that I really felt this terrible urge to rewrite the whole thing from the ground up…an act both temporally impossible and contradictory, because then it would take even longer to get out.

Also, I’ve got other deadlines stacked up awaiting my service right now.


  1. lexie says

    Congratulations PZ! I look forward to reading your book when it comes out. Speaking of which I should probably find some money and pre-order one.

  2. says

    It’s true. If I did have an editor for the blog, they’d have a nervous breakdown and collapse in the first day. Either that or they’d only allow me to post one thoroughly vetted sentence a week.

  3. robro says

    Editors are great. I’ve always enjoyed working with them and I’ve been fortunate to work with some really fantastic technical editors. Of course, after multiple edits, untold numbers of reviewers, etc, the final printed book would land on my desk and on the first flip through…arrgh! How did we miss that!?

  4. jaybee says

    I’ve had the opposite experience with patent attorneys. What comes out doesn’t look much like what I described, not just legalese, eg, the emphasis is completely wrong. In a patent disclosure there is a lot of description around the invention before explaining why the invention helps the situation just described. In my mind, there should be a dramatic build up to the key idea, with a spotlight on it. Instead, out comes 23 claims and attempts to broaden the patent to cover everything within five miles of the key idea, and the key idea ends up just a few sentences among the 23 claims. Of course they accept any suggestions or corrections I have, but they want “change this phrase from this to that”, not “rewrite it.”

  5. shouldbeworking says

    Perhaps you could find an editor, but the salary may be too high for mere mortal bloggers to afford. Biology profs do not fall into this category according to my colleagues.

  6. paulburnett says

    PZ mentioned “typesetting” – breathing all those hot lead fumes is hazardous to your health – be glad somebody else gets to do it.

  7. frog says

    A good copyeditor, on seeing a third use of “sniny,” would stop fixing it and instead put a note in the margin inquiring if it is a specialized term that the target audience will understand. She would flag every instance thereafter.

    Or a clever writer could supply a copyeditor with a list of made-up or jargon words. Most copyeditors I know are glad to get clear directions so they don’t have to try reading an author’s mind about this sort of thing. This is a very good idea for both academic authors and writers of speculative fiction.

  8. moarscienceplz says

    “The Happy Atheist”? Who the hell came up with that title?
    Wouldn’t a more apropos title be something like, “Professor PoopyHead Bursts All Your Bubbles”?

  9. yazikus says

    @jaybee, you comment reminded me of Galley Slave from Robot Visions, where the scientist is worried the robot will rewrite and edit to the point where humans are obsolete. I’m looking forward to ordering the book from my local book store, and also to the inevitably dirty looks I’ll get when I pick it up!

  10. prfesser says

    Editors *can* be great. And some are horse’s asses. I’ve had both types in 13 years of publishing textbooks.

  11. says

    I’m glad that the book is one step closer to being ready, because I’m eager to read it.

    In my opinion, your blog writing is excellent for nonce writing and does not need an editor. You can clean up any little issues when articles are selected for a book.

  12. paulburnett says

    Margaret (#17) asks “Will there be an audiobook version?”

    My Kindle will read it out loud to me.

  13. jose says

    Nice to see progress. I hope you’re aware when the book hits Amazon you’re going to get around 50 1-star scores within the first day from atheist haters. Are you concerned?