cover image What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing

What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing

Peter Ginna. Univ. of Chicago, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-226-29997-6

Ginna, the former publisher of Bloomsbury Press and a blogger at Doctor Syntax, collects essays by editors from many different segments of the industry, shedding light on the nature and value of their work. The book explores all aspects of the editing process from acquisition and manuscript development to ensuring sales success after a book hits the market. The book is peppered with memorable case studies, such as Erika Goldman’s account of acquiring Paul Harding’s much-rejected Tinkers manuscript and turning it into a Pulitzer Prize–winner for Bellevue Literary Press. These examples give an insider’s view of the combination of skill, hard work, and good fortune needed to succeed in the editorial profession. The book’s value comes from the diverse perspectives of the contributors, who range from Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch to freelance medical editor Katherine O’Moore-Klopf. This variety ensures a multifaceted view of the many roles—including critic, mentor, salesperson, and business executive—encompassed by the job of book editor. These honest and unflinching accounts from publishing insiders are a valuable primer on the field at a time where the value of editors and publishers has been increasingly questioned. (Oct.)