Experiences with Being Published, Part 6: A Matter of Style

EditingPie

As a published technical writer, I’ve had my share of experiences working with a publisher and its editors for a period of seven months. For my own sanity, I’ll post some of my experiences in this series of blogposts on Experiences with Being Published. I feel these stories can be quite entertaining, and I might even get a smile on my face when I look back at these stores in a couple of years’ time…

Today, let’s talk about how a diverse team, consisting of people from multiple cultures added value f*cked sh*t up.

 

The last mile is the longest one

Once I was done writing the chapters, all I learned I needed to do was to copy all the command lines and PowerShell scripts from the book into separate files on GitHub, write the hardware and software list (listing all the hardware and software used for all the recipes) and write the Preface.

This last item proved to be the hardest, even though I only needed to describe the purpose and scope of the book…

 

A matter of style…

One of the content editors has been bugging me throughout the process with her unneeded and frustrating edits. It started with ‘correcting’ the ActiveDirectory PowerShell module name in the Import-Module command, by adding a space and continues throughout the book with other corrections, where she would continue to edit “The … screen appears.” with “The … screen will appear.” like we were working with some really slow domain controllers, and ‘Click Next >’ with ‘Click on Next >’.

With the help of the technical editor, all these corrections were corrected back, except one.

 

The one that got away

As I was writing the Preface to the book, it was my job to describe the contents for each chapter. For chapter 3, I wrote:

Chapter 3, Managing Active Directory Roles and Features, covers FSMO roles and global catalog servers for addressing all your organization’s multi-forest and multi-domain needs.

Deliberately, I chose not to explain the FSMO acronym. I felt that when people wanted to know what it meant, they would look it up in the chapter anyway.

In the version of the book a week before publishing, the Preface was edited. The above piece of text now read:

Chapter 3, Managing Active Directory Roles and Features, covers Flexible Single Operations Master (FSMO) roles and global catalog servers for addressing all your organization’s multi-forest and multi-domain needs.

That’s right. The editor thought it was wise to introduce the acronym in the Preface. As a matter of style, all introductions for acronyms are noted as bold text.

In the final book, however, this particular sentence reads:

Chapter 3, Managing Active Directory Roles and Features, covers Flexible Single Operations Master (FSOM) roles and global catalog servers for addressing all your organization’s multi-forest and multi-domain needs.

That’s right. A completely new acronym is introduced for Active Directory, because someone didn’t pay attention to write it down perfectly, and then edited it some more to make it look really ridiculous. As it is the only acronym introduced on the page, and therefore the only bold text, it stands out like a sore thumb.

 

Just don’t

When you know nothing about Active Directory and its acronyms, please keep as far away as possible from editing a book on it. Just don’t.

 

Picture by Fellowship of the Rich, under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license. Edited in size

 


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