We got a call on the office phone recently asking for the “imperial commander.” There are only two of us and we operate as partners so we’re not much on titles. This request is one of a lot of strange queries we’ve gotten lately, mostly by e mail, that have nothing to do with book editing. Here are some examples:
A simple way to check the rotation of an outrunner motor is to find an old
prop with a MUCH larger shaft hole and hang it on the shaft.
— Please advise me if expired Bisquick is poison as I have read in the past.
I can’t believe that you would write such an article as in the March Bulletin page 3 Face the Mortality Gap, on health and safety, and then illustrate it with 2 people riding bicycles WITHOUT helmets.
I was visiting a relative who had a fireplace that had no glass doors.They were heating the house with a fire and I was there all day. When I got home, my family noticed my coat (etc) smelled like a bonfire. I have washed my clothing and the smell is gone, but my coat is wool and says dry clean only. How can I get the odor out without the expense and bad chemicals used when dry cleaning ?
I have an inspirational story about a homeless dog with eight puppers (sic). I would love to share it and write more about it. I found you on Oprah’s website. Any suggestions where to start?
I WAS TRYING TO FIND A BOOKLET ON ALL OF THE ROYAL DOULTON CHARACTER MUGS & JUGS. I HAVE BEEN COLLECTING THEM FROM THE LATE 1950’s. I WANT TO CHECK OFF THE ONES THAT I HAVE
I D O N ‘ T COLLECT THE T O B Y O N E S.
We dutifully write back to all the queries we get that are clearly not aimed at manuscript editing. But we do wonder how they get to us in the first place. Presumably, they begin with a search. Someone types a search phrase, or keyword, into a search engine, like Google, looking for something. And somehow The Word Process popped up.
Our best guess is that these keywords contained the word “editor.” “Editor” can mean anything from a newspaper or magazine editor to a software editor to a photo editor to a video editor to a (yes!) manuscript editor. Search engines, clearly, aren’t awfully good at distinguishing. A Google search for “editor” yielded on the first page links for photo, video and publication editors, editor jobs and proofreading.
Search engine algorithms are said to be enormously complex and unfathomable even by the sizable industry that has sprung up to suss them out. We wonder where the search words go, what virtual twists and turns they take to bring to us the quest for the imperial commander. It makes us glad to be human editors, making honest assessments of which words belong in a narrative and which don’t. If you want a book edited, skip the search and go directly to our address: thewordprocess.com.