Introducing the Acme Miracle Editorial Version Tracking Process

Welcome to the Acme Miracle Editorial Version Tracking Process, designed to create the maximum possible editorial confusion while keeping the content as far from completion as possible. As used by civil servants.

sleeping-man-with-newspapers-md1. Insert the word ‘final’ into the filename as early as possible.

2. When it’s edited (again), create a relative qualifier. ‘New final’, as opposed to ‘old final’.

3. Move on to the ‘final FINAL’.

4. Then the ‘new final FINAL’.

5. Then the ‘updated new final FINAL.’

6. Decide the ‘old updated new final FINAL’ is better after all.

7. Ignore the ‘last modified’ date and send one of them randomly to the publisher.

8. Discover they typeset the wrong version, decide to edit one into the other.

9. Make changes. Tell the publisher that’s it.

10. Make more changes. Tell the publisher it’s just two or three little fixes.

11. Look at dozens of random pages, finding something to change every time, each of which is the ‘very last’. Send them, individually, to the publisher at erratic intervals.

12. On receiving the printed copy, open the document. Spot something. Time for a second edition. Go back to (1).

Now, I made this up for laughs…but I have a horrible feeling that it happens, in Dilbertian offices. I hope I’m wrong about that.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013

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13 comments on “Introducing the Acme Miracle Editorial Version Tracking Process

  1. Numbers 1 – 7 look as though you have been in my computer files LOL. One thing that’s good about keeping so many, is finding that piece that you decide you DO want in. Something bad… going through so many finals, to find it :)
    Loved the post
    Susan

    • There’s nothing more frustrating than over-writing text and then wanting to get it back. Microsoft Word theoretically stores absolutely everything – Word “docx” format documents are really XML database files – but you have to know how to dismantle the file to find the deleted text… :-)

  2. Oops… it was 1 – 6. I am an indie writer. :)

  3. arteis says:

    An absolutely accurate summing up of the publishing process when I worked for a company writing and publishing education resources a few years ago. We must’ve driven the printer mad with our last minute changes!

    • I got the idea from what used to happen in a government department I worked for as publisher in the 1980s, now long defunct. Back in the days when computers were new and thus able to do anything, including make tea and fix editorial vacillations.

  4. stuartart says:

    My main business is print management, and I can tell you this is a daily occurence!!!

  5. stuartart says:

    Oops, final edit ‘occurRence’. :)

  6. Nice work. Although I do like to use double-upper-case ‘FINAL FINAL’ at the end of the file name when I think I’ve really finished (I haven’t).

  7. Hilarious! My day-job is writing technical documentation in the software computer industry. The way I receive editorial comments from engineers is not too different than what you described. I am not even kidding! o_O

    • Thank you! Truth be told, I wasn’t kidding either – what I listed is a pretty much documentary-accurate description of the way a government department I worked for in the 1980s used to publish things. I was the unfortunate employee in charge of their publshing…

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