Jul 8, 2008

How Important are the Little Things

Some times people get a trifle too important in their own minds to do the little stuff. And yet it's the little stuff that makes the big stuff work.

For example, my mother has always been a fashion guru. She coordinates everything from her hairdo to her toenails. And consequently always looks nice. She likes bling and flash, while I am considerably more conservative. However, I learned from her that small things matter. Wearing a beautiful tailored suit with proper heels and a messed up "do" won't cut it.

It's the same small attention in our magazine that makes such a difference. We have to make sure our proofing is correct. We have to make sure names are right: like Andersen instead of the more familiar Anderson. Making sure whatever style rule we have, we follow.

This came into play just yesterday which prompted this entire post. I had to "call" attention to some small proofing errors, and my "crew" felt a bit feisty and wanted to argue me down. (I think that open door policy is working, ha.) Finding ourselves on opposite sides, we appealed to the publisher who responded with a "flexible" rule.

So no one went home happy!

It really is the small things that make such a difference in the polished look of a manuscript. It can even cause a publisher to print something that would normally have been passed over, because “it was just written so well.”

So I’m leaving you with a strong hint: In our trade-publication world, someone who took the time to find out our style method and then incorporate it in their article, nine times out of 10 will get published, regardless of how peripheral their work is.


  1. I've heard this tip before, Terri, and it's a excellent one to remind us of! Thanks for doing so.

  2. Good comments about keeping our writing clean. Like the new look for the blog. Haven't been here for a while so I'm catching up on all the writings. Great work!

    Valerie Steimle

  3. Thanks for the wise advice, Terri! I have a great desire to start writing for magazines and I need info like this!

  4. This is very true. Even small mistakes in published works take me "away" from the story or the article... they distract me. So, now I'm wondering what we (or at least I) don't know about you: WHAT magazine are you referring to, that you work at or own? Couldn't tell for sure from your post what level of ownership "our magazine" stood for - loyalty or do you own it? If you get back to these comments and read this, inquiring minds want to know!

  5. I work for a family-owned trade publication called Elevator World (wwww.elevator-world.com) and no I guess I speak the "queen's" we when I used we.

  6. Very interesting. Even with the best of proof reading, some errors seem to creep in, and I seldom read a book without finding some flaw or other, mostly typos. Your posting makes me more aware, and I hope more efficient. Thanks.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.