This has happened to me so many times that when I found myself ranting about it to the Irishman (who is a saint for listening) the other day, I had the thought that I should blog about it. Now that I’ve calmed down (a little bit), I have. :)
So here’s the thing. There are certain tools publishing professionals use, and if you want to be considered a professional, you should use them too. Chief among these is the word processing software we use. All the publishers I deal with use Microsoft Word. I also have and use Apple Pages, though not as much.
When I send editorial notes back to an author, furthermore, I also tell him how we will work together. In my cover e-mail, I ask him if he knows how to use track changes; just in case, I attach my little homemade tutorial.
So when I get questions like …
I have the version of Word that came loaded free on my Dell, but I can’t seem to turn on track changes. What should I do?
… or …
Can you save this as a .doc instead of .docx? I can’t open it.
… or …
I can’t run track changes on my personal computer (I have a Mac and don’t have Word at home). I can’t do this on my work computer for obvious reasons. Hopefully you can see my changes on your end?
… this is what I think:
Why would you pay me as much as you’re paying me and not be prepared to work with me the way we’ve discussed? It’s on my website and I covered it in my introductory communication with you.
No, that free version does not have all the bells and whistles you need; that’s why it was free.
Sure I can resave it for you, but did you know you can download a little free “fix” that will allow you to open it yourself? It’ll take about three minutes.
No, I cannot track your changes after the fact. If you didn’t do it, it didn’t get done.
And when you say, “The book is so different now I didn’t bother with track changes,” I want to cry.
You don’t want to make Your Editor cry, do you?
You should buy Microsoft Office (for your PC or Mac); at the online Microsoft Store it’s $119.99 but I just found it online for $79.99. It’s an investment in your future as an author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”