Tag Archives: Professionalism


What is the matter with people that they just flat REFUSE to follow instructions? Please. Don’t be one of “those” people. When a publication has writer’s guidelines, read the GD things. And while you’re at it, try to figure out how to abide by them.

Today I spent a good five hours trying to untangle an unholy mess a contributor to one of our clients’ scholarly journal made of her references section. Page on page on single-spaced page of references: one long, nauseating tangle.

This journal wants accepted papers formatted in Chicago author-date style. Apparently neither of the faculty editors looked carefully at the final copy before accepting Author’s final effort and filing on DropBox for us to clean up.

Chicago author-date looks superficially like APA style. But it is, most decidedly, not APA style.

Author’s “References” section looked superficially like Chicago author-date. But it was,  most decidedly, not Chicago author-date nor APA style.

The only way to describe it is as a kind of half-assed, bastardized version of APA.

Chicago does NOT set titles — any titles — c/lc (“sentence style”).

Chicago does NOT leave quote marks off article titles.

Chicago does NOT insert punctuation between the journal’s title and the volume & number.

No style manual known to Personkind uses two colons in the data for a journal’s volume, number, and inclusive pages. Nowhere does anyone write Wallbanger Quarterly, 26:14: 226-348.  Or better yet, Wallbanger Quarterly, 26:14: (Summer 2014) 226-348. W.T.F.?????

By the time I got about halfway through this endless aggravation, I had to get up and pour myself a bourbon and water. Well before that point, I was so fully launched into swearing and calling upon any number of deities to lay supernatural curses on Author’s head that the cleaning lady asked me if I was all right.

I asked if I could go into business with her, cleaning houses. She pretended not to understand enough English to respond to that one. But she did like the idea that we should both go to school to learn how to drive a forklift.

All of this happened after my associate editor and her underling had gone through the document, supposedly behind me. Because they saw some edits and comments left by one of the faculty editors (or possibly one of Author’s readers or peer reviewers), they jumped to the incorrect conclusion that I’d already edited the copy. No. I had formatted it in the journal’s template but left the edits to the sidekicks, whose skills amply rise to the job.

Going through this bitch absorbed a good five, maybe six hours of my $60-an-hour time that could have been spent editing the copy of a client who does pay my full rate. I charge a cut rate to non-profits, because The Copyeditor’s Desk is interested in supporting good works and because we know full well a scholarly publication can not, on a bet, afford our august services.

Five hours of my time comes to about $300, at my regular rate. That is over a quarter — almost half! — of what we are charging to prepare the entire book for typesetting. And I will have to pay my subcontractors part of that for the work they did on this misbegotten document.

FIVE HOURS taken away from a client who does happen to pay a fair market rate.

All because some bird-brained author couldn’t be bothered to read the writer’s guidelines. Or if she did, she couldn’t be bothered to go to the library to consult a hard-copy Chicago manual or spring for the modest fee to look at the damn thing online…or take the time to look at it for freaking FREE.

This is it. I’m telling Client that when authors submit sh*t like this, we are bouncing it back, and they can kindly tell their magnificent contributors to do the job right.

If you do not want a variety of deities raining curses on your head, dear scribbler, read the goddamn writer’s guidelines!