What kind of edit is it? How do I get in there without being noticed?
Let me introduce myself. I was a book editor at Simon & Schuster for 3 years after college, before I started in the publishing world. I was the first woman editor in my state; I knew how to talk to and take orders from men. For years after college, my work was often sent to men who wanted me to change something about something they liked. When I got to the top of the publishing world, I got more of it. So when I see a book that I really want to change, I call it up and ask them to make this change.
When I ask an editor to edit for me, I don’t do it by having him or her write a book and asking some writer or editor to write this book and ask some other writer or editor to edit it. I do it by asking a bunch of people to do a bunch of different kinds of edits. That’s how I got into this business of editing. I’ve done the most amazing edits.
When you’re an editor, you edit because that’s what you’re good at. One of the many other benefits to being an editor is that you can get other people to edit your books. So, in my days at Simon & Schuster, I edited one guy’s book, which was pretty good, because he was the best editor I’d ever gotten. I’ve had another editor tell me, “I would never have published the book that you edited if you hadn’t done an edit for me. There is no other editor in the world who could have handled it better than you did.” It’s a great feeling.
The other reason you edit is because you need to make sure an editorial vision reflects not just your editor, but your employer as well. You can’t be an editor and work too hard. If you do, your employer will notice. And this is one of my pet peeves. I want to be good at what I do; that’s why that makes me an editor. And when I go on to the next person, I keep this important distinction in mind: I need to know both what I’m doing as a professional and what I’m doing in the first place. So, I ask about his editing style. He likes editing the way I do. I ask how he does it. We talk about things like structure, and the editor in question shows me specific ways to edit a book better than I
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