When I pick up a new cookbook, I have a funny habit of flipping to the acknowledgments page and reading it first. I like to start by getting to know the people who brought the book to life. It never ceases to amaze me just how many people were involved—editor, photographer, designer, book production manager, literary agent, and on and on. In my opinion, the most underappreciated member of the team is the copyeditor. He or she is primarily responsible for checking the manuscript for inconsistencies, mistakes, and repetition, but an excellent copyeditor also polishes the text, eliminates wordiness, and generally tightens the prose. The copyedit is a crucial step in the process of preparing a book for publication.
For my own cookbook, I was very lucky to have Ivy McFadden copyedit the manuscript. She did an impressive job of seeing both the big picture and the fine details. After she finished her edit, it was my turn to carefully read through the text and respond to her queries. I learned so much! For instance, did you know Broccolini must always be capitalized because it is a trademarked word? Ping Pong is also capitalized. I discovered (somewhat embarrassingly) that hyphenation is not my strongest skill as a writer. Evidently, I put hyphens in all sorts of places where they don’t belong. Now I know the correct usages: widemouthed jar, premade, nonflower centerpieces. Thank you, Ivy!