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Influencer I

Some notes on publishing

Well, I finished and turned in the text of my latest book at the end of August.  (As I always say to those who want advice on getting published, that's the easy part done.)  It won't actually be available in hard copy for about another four months now, but. shortly thereafter, I did a search on Amazon (using the title, "Cybersecurity Lessons from CoVID-19") and found that the publisher had already announced it, and even given it an ISBN.  It was (unsurprisingly) the first item that popped up when I searched using the title.

 

(A note on titles: the title is not my fault.  It's the publisher who gets the final say on titles.)

 

So, in the ongoing process of getting to print, I got the galley proofs yesterday.  (I have to answer questions, check that they haven't added any errors, and do the index.)  An error reminded me to check on Amazon again, and see if the error was reproduced there.

 

I searched on the title again, and the results were quite different.  A number of titles have had SEO (Search Engine Optimization) done on them in the month or so since I first checked, and a number of titles having nothing to do with security and CoVID popped up, even before mine.  In addition, someone has produced a pamphlet entitled "Cybersecurity Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic," which seems to be merely a "stay safe online" article.

 

There's more than one type of plagiarism in the publishing world these days ...


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Influencer I

Re: Some notes on publishing

I'm going over the page proofs of "Cybersecurity Lessons from CoVID-19."

 

One of the notes I sent, along with the text, was that I had, very deliberately, used both US and SI units of measure, particularly in regard to “two metres” and “six feet” of distancing separation.  The publishers decided to add that as a note in the book.  Except that they spelled it "[a word I can't use because of the stupid pr0n filter] feet" ...

 

(Since it was not in my original text, and they added it, this is one error that I can definitively say is the fault of the typesetters ...)


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Advocate III

Re: Some notes on publishing


@rslade wrote:

... The publishers decided to add that as a note in the book.  Except that they spelled it "[a word I can't use because of the stupid pr0n filter] feet"


Rob,

Are you referring to a typesetter with a foot fetish?

 

\(*^*)/

 

Craig

 

D. Cragin Shelton, DSc
Dr.Cragin@iCloud.com
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Influencer I

Re: Some notes on publishing

Eviscerate.

 

That's a big word, boys and girls. Can you say it?

 

(I knew you could!)

 

Oh, my brothers and only friends ...

 

Over the decades, and a number of books, and a number of publishers, I have learned many lessons, a number of them quite bitter. (I mean, the first one you learn is simply being editted. Somebody looks at your perfectly crafted wordsmithing and suggests that you make a change! How dare they? And then the unkindest cut of all: you realize that they are correct, and that the modification makes what you said better and clearer, and you learn you're not perfect, after all. But Gloria taught me that one.)

 

(For an amusing example, see: http://victoria.tc.ca/int-grps/books/techrev/bkbugwrt.rvw )

 

With the first book, I learned about titles. First off, I had what I considered an acceptable and clever title for a book about computer viruses: The Binary Hydra. Classical allusion, implication of reproduction, note of the difficulty of killing something that copies itself. Secondly, I was well into the book review project, and I had noted that when someone's name appeared in the title, it was a guarantee that this was an ego project by some who thought that they were important. So when Springer-Verlag suggested "Robert Slade's Guide to Computer Viruses," I was NOT a happy author. Turns out that, unless you actually are famous, the publisher gets to choose. I'm a non-entity. So, if I wanted my book published ...

 

Then there was the difference in editting between publishers. That first book? Three rounds of copy edits. Three rounds of galley proofs (aka page proofs). Fighting all the way. (My favourite was when the typesetters changed the Intel 80x86 family of CPUs to "80[multiplication sign]86.") I use the OED, so I learned to hate Websters and "The Chicago Manual of Style." By the time I got to the dictionary? Well, it's a good thing that Gloria editted all my stuff, because Syngress just took whatever I gave them, and printed it. Period.

 

But this? This is a new one.

 

When I signed on with Taylor and Francis, I really didn't know anything about them, despite all the book reviews. So, when I found that I was going to be published under the CRC Press imprint, I was pretty chuffed. I've had their physics handbook on my shelves for decades. Their publishing process seems to fall mid-range. They seem to be really strict about their process, and keep stressing their deadlines. I can understand: even though I have a habit of finishing before time, I know that most authors, along with Douglas Adams, love the whooshing sound deadlines make as they go by. So I wasn't too concerned with a strict adherence to process.

 

I was a little concerned about not getting any copy edits back. But then, Gloria is the best copy editor I have ever known, so I figured that they just accepted that she had made sure there were no errors. I should have known better.

 

I was a little perturbed to finally receive the page proofs with only 13 days to go before the final deadline. In that 13 days I had to a) answer about forty "author questions," b) do a review of the page proofs, and c) create the index. When I did the first book, three decades ago, Word Perfect had an indexing function. Thirty years on, word processing has advanced to the point where--nothing does any more. (What?) Producing an index manually is a non-trivial task, so, with less than two weeks to get everything done, and lots of other things to do, I tried to get the first two tasks out of the way pretty quickly.

 

I should have noticed when one of the author questions asked who "Martin" was, since my acknowledgments note Dr. Martin Wehlou, who had kindly (and very quickly!) reviewed the book for medical errors. But, I was in a hurry. As I went through, I noted some odd editting they did [for example, pretty much every reference to my home province was changed to "British Columbia (BC)"], but I just accepted that. I didn't have time to do a thorough edit. I did have a vague feeling that some things were missing, but I just accepted that, too.

 

But it wasn't until I had turned in the review of the page proofs, and started on the index, that I finally realized the scope of the problem. I was searching for ammonium nitrate. Didn't find it. I knew I had written about ammonium nitrate. Or ANFO. Didn't find it. Well, I'd written a lot of stuff this year. Some online. Some for the ISSA magazine column. Maybe I had just meant to put that in the book, but forgotten. Too late now. (Very strict injunctions from Taylor and Francis that nothing major was to be added at this point.) On we go. Gary Hinson. Not in the book. What? I knew I had written up a section on metrics, and I was pretty sure I had included it, but, what with CoVID pressures, lack of sleep, Zoom fatigue, and all that, maybe I was just more affected than I thought.

 

Then I came to the Ms, and Martin. No Martin. OK, I knew, absolutely, that I had included Martin in the acknowledgments. So I went back to the end of the introduction in the page proofs. No Martin. No acknowledgments. I know that my grasp on reality was pretty tenuous, but had I gone completely round the bend? (You do, sometimes, get a better view from there ...)

 

So, I went back to my original submission of the manuscript. And lo! I am not completely crazy! I did have acknowledgments in the original manuscript. And Taylor and Francis took them out. Without mentioning it. I did have a lengthy paragraph describing the Beirut explosion, and pointing out various security fundamentals that should have been followed, and the chapters, in the book, they appeared in. And Taylor and Francis took them out. Without so much as a note. I did have a lengthy section on metrics, describing, in detail, CoVID-19 metrics. And Taylor and Francis took them out. Without so much as a "by your leave."

 

And now I'm wondering: how much more did Taylor and Francis take out? And what? And, particularly, why?

 

So, at this point, I'm a really unhappy author. I won't say the book is ruined. I think there is still a lot of good stuff in there. I'm still proud of it. But I'm really, thoroughly, upset that Taylor and Francis have decided to rip out some important bits of it, without any mention, reason, or even acknowledgment that they did that.

 

And I'm really unhappy that Martin and Gary got ripped out ...

 

 

(Taylor and Francis have put the book on "hold" while they "investigate."  There seems to be some indications that they will put the stuff back.  But I still don't know why any of this happened ...)


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