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You would be surprised at the number of submissions I receive that still have all of their tracked changes in them. We're talking edits, comments and all those other wonderful things that the "Track Changes" function in WORD does.

The way my WORD is set up, all documents are opened to the "Final Showing Markup" setting. That means I get to see every comment of the reader asking questions, every edit... and in the case of writing contracts (yes, this has happened) who had this contract before me and how much they were paid.

Yes, this is even happening on my invite-only anthology for the Apex Book Company. Shocked the heck out of me. But, as I have learned, we professionals still make mistakes. Some are worse than others. As this one goes, it's not that bad in the overall scheme of things.

But really, people, this should never happen. It not only looks unprofessional, it could be detrimental to your publishing house if it is a contract. Also, I don't want to know what you are paying someone else. I don't want to know you had a discussion of lip gloss color with your first round reader. I don't want to know it took you a couple of tries to get a particular sentence right. All I really want to see is your finished product or the contract that is specific to me.

Please do yourself and your submission editor a favor and always go back to your document and accept all changes before you send your story out. That way, I don't have to wonder if you sent me the wrong version or see your literary equivalent to a visible panty line.

NOTE: "Track Changes" is a function you must deliberately turn on for it to be on for each individual document. Or you must receive a document with it already turned on.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
naamah_darling
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear. I didn't even know that function existed.
jennifer_brozek
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
You have to purposely turn it on. Or, if you receive a document saved with it turned on, it is a feature turned on for all of your edits, too. It is under the "review" tab.
filamena
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
I had never even thought of this. What good advice! (Of course, I went back and checked my own document.)

I will totally watch for that.
jennifer_brozek
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
I rarely, if ever, use "Track Changes" unless it is part of the professional editing. However, my Mom uses it all the time and I must be very careful to turn it off and then accept her changes (one by one if I agree). But it is amazing to see some of the edits in a story. Still, I don't want to see that. I should not see it.
spitphyre
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
... I don't even know about this function or how to use it...
spitphyre
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
And I'm not sure I get how to turn it off....
spitphyre
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
I figured out that apparently it's not turned on on my computer.
jennifer_brozek
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
To turn it on. you go to the Review tab and click "Track Changes" - it will be highlighted. To turn it off, you have to click it again so it is not highlighted. (Office 2007)
eyezofwolf
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
I admit - I use this funciton all the time and love it, but that is because I have to use it at work so I am very conditioned to working with it. What I do is I ALWAYS open EVERY document with Final Showing Markup. That is my default setting so I can always check for the changes. And I use the "Next change" button until it says "no more changes".
balothejester
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
Just to make sure I understand: If I do not at any point switch on "Track Changes" in a document, then this won't be an issue for me? Like you I only use it when I'm doing editing work for somebody, but I want to be sure I'm not accidentally sending out docs with notes to myself and deleted paragraphs hanging around in the margins.
jennifer_brozek
Sep. 10th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
This is correct. You must actively start it up. (or as above, receive a document with it already turned on)
cuddlycthulhu
Sep. 10th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
Here's a question for you (especially as you now have me deeply paranoid):

My readers use track changes to do edits but when I go through to do the edits I turn the feature off and accept/delete their changes and comments as I think necessary. Do those changes, even though I've accepted/deleted them and turned of change tracking, still show up in the final revision tab?

I don't use track changes myself and now I'm concerned I might be one of the above mentioned noobs.
jennifer_brozek
Sep. 10th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
Your document was fine.
cuddlycthulhu
Sep. 10th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Ok, thank you!
shaharazad
Sep. 11th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Still using Word '97, so not an issue here. It's "improvements" like that that keep me from upgrading. More trouble than they're worth.
covenantscave
Sep. 11th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
I am constantly shocked - shocked I say! - at how many authors (and publishers, and editors) don't know how to use Word properly. For a tool that you live in, day in day, out, a professional really should know how to use Word.

You don't know how to use Word if you don't know how to:

- Use styles/stylesheets
- Paste something without formatting
- Use the document map
- Set up a table of contents
- Set up a single landscape page in the middle of a portrait document
- Use cross-references to update figures, table of contents, and index automatically
- Use the track changes feature

Also, as an indispensable tool, I strongly recommend using a PDF print-driver generator (http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/) for all legal documents and "final" products, in particular anything you send to a printer.

Word has built-in tutorials for all of the features above (and the 2007 version is much cleaner and easier to use). I recommend that people take an hour a day over a two week period and go through each of these features - and by the end you'll really LOVE Word.
dqg_neal
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
I fail on this one often enough. Mostly due to Word hiccups. Strangely I've found that comments made in Microsoft Word 2008, don't show up when you use a much older version of Word or in other clone software. (Or comes across in a garbled format... Microsoft and their special functions.)
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )