Four years ago, I started working in a publishing house as an editor. Soon after I joined, it became clear to me that a key part of my job was to collaborate with multiple players. Working with people to publish a single book is a mammoth task. It takes up a lot of time and is exhausting. At the end of each day, you feel you didn’t get any editing done at all because you spent all your time making sure everyone was ‘on the same page’. Pun intended.
When I started using Zoho, it changed the way I edited. I felt more productive and got more done in less time.
Too many cooks, one book
A manuscript passes through many hands. The commissioning editor looks at a draft version first, decides to sign up the author and to commission the manuscript. The author delivers the final soft copy usually in the form of a Word document. This document is passed on to a copy editor, who then looks at the text more closely.
The editor sends her edits to the author in that same Word document. Incidentally, the author forgets to turn on the Track Changes option when working on the document. This is unnecessary heartburn for her and the author.
With Zoho Docs, this is not a problem. You can give relevant permissions to the author or anyone else who has access to this document. At this stage, she should probably just allow the author to read and comment, and to reply to her comments, of course. At one glance, she can see if her commissioning editor, publisher or author has raised any comments or queries. Disaster averted.
Another great way to ensure all collaborators are on the same page is to use the Online Chat available in Zoho Docs. Being able to work with an author as she edits. Being able to discuss changes on a specific chapter, clarifying queries simultaneously … this is an editor’s dream come true.
Don’t judge a book by its … version
We’ve all been there. You’ve worked for days on a manuscript and then suddenly it vanishes, or mysteriously gets deleted. All you can wish for, at that point, is for a way to turn back time.
I remember having nightmares. What if the wrong version ends up going to press? Like what happened with Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, wherein more than 8,000 copies had to be pulped because an earlier version had gone to print. The chances of such errors are higher when editing in Word, because the editor ends up with a thousand versions of the same document saved in her computer.
With Zoho, all versions of the file are available at the click of a button. Plus, they are segmented by time, so it’s easy to find the latest revision.
Books in the cloud
Microsoft Word is an editor’s frenemy. It offers us much, but it taketh away just as easily. You’re on the last chapter of a book that required an awful lot of editing. Your Word document is bleeding red, green and blue, thanks to the Track Changes. You know you’ve been delaying hitting Ctrl+S for far too long, but just that second, your computer throws up an error and before you know it—POOF! It’s all gone.
Zoho stores everything in the cloud, so you don’t have to bother with Ctrl+S and panicky fingers each time your computer gets ahead of you. You are in control at all times.
Moreover, Zoho doesn’t tie you down to a desk or computer. Whether you’re an editor or author, you can work from anywhere—maybe even a coffee shop, like a certain Ms. J.K. Rowling, who worked on the first Harry Potter book in a small shop in Edinburgh.
Zoho Docs is a respite for editors and authors alike. It lets you focus on doing what you do best, and takes care of the rest. So, here’s to some great books to come—well written, and perfectly edited!