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They negotiate that separately. I am told of fabulous sums for
some, but in my experience, you are essentially correct. Even technical
editing isn't great pay and I consider it in the same frame as limited
consulting. Given that the load of reading is hard, it is exhausting
and if one is obliged to test every example thoroughly given
the nascent tools and evolving specs, it can be a tough grind.
For some, it is light work, enjoyable, and informative. Much
depends on the skill of the author. I found myself fixing a lot
of English grammar and spelling even though it wasn't mine
On the other hand, since they negotiate these as piece work,
one does have to bargain cannily. A lot depends on supply and
demand, I guess, and a keen inside knowledge of their
budgets. I watched the money offered for technical editing
drop as the dot.bomb exploded and the supply of available
editors suddenly sky-rocketed. At a certain price and
complexity of material, it isn't worth it.
It really really helps if the technical publishers recruit good
authors instead of just technical writers. Talent counts
and talent costs. That's the rub.
From: K. Ari Krupnikov [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
I don't know how authors are being treated, but at least those
publishers for whom I've done technical editing don't pay their authors
very much. Either I'm overpaid, or the only way someone could write a
book is if she were independently wealthy or hopelessly unemployed.