What Editors Do: The Art, Craft and Business of Book Editing — By Peter Ginna

$18.50 USD

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What Editors Do is essential reading for anyone who wants to edit, be edited, or learn how publishing really works. It’s also thoroughly delightful—the chance to learn from a wide variety of industry greats as they share frank and fascinating stories about how all sorts of books, famous and unknown, came to life. I’ve worked in publishing for more than three decades but still learned volumes from this book.”

— Will Schwalbe, executive vice president, Macmillan, and author of The End of Your Life Book Club

“A vital resource for writers and readers seeking a comprehensive exploration into the author-editor relationship, the lifecycle of a book, and how editors for publishing houses big and small have adapted to an industry in constant flux.”

Starred Review | Library Journal

What Editors Do is the most informative and intelligent book on the work of publishing that you can own. In this collection, some of the best people involved in publishing in the 21st century write lucidly and engrossingly about everything that is important to editors and writers. A lively book that will also be great armchair reading for any book lover. As an editor and publisher of thirty years, I cannot recommend this book more highly.”

Shaye Areheart, director, Columbia Publishing Course

“Editors do a lot—patiently, coolly, analytically, but also boldly, urgently, fervently. Their work, almost always invisible, makes ideas speak and books fly. What Editors Do shows just how varied—and valuable—editors are, especially now when the well-edited book is more necessary than ever.”

— William Germano, author of Getting It Published and From Dissertation to Book

Editing, by design, is an invisible art.

Editors strive to create books that are enlightening, seamless, and pleasurable to read, all while giving credit to the author. This makes it all the more difficult to truly understand the range of roles they inhabit while shepherding a project from concept to publication.

In What Editors Do, Peter Ginna and 26 other book publishing-industry-leading figures provide informative and enlightening essays about their how they do what they do and why.

Representing both large publishing houses and small, and encompassing trade, textbook, academic and children’s publishing, the contributors make the case for why editing remains a vital function to writers—and readers—everywhere, even in an age of self-publishing and technological disruption.

Ironically for an industry built on words, there has been a scarcity of written guidance on how to actually approach the work of editing.

The individual essays cover a wide range of editorial functions and categories as well as topics such as career development, the value of diversity in publishing, and the ongoing evolution of the industry and the editorial profession.

This book will serve as a compendium of professional advice and will be a resource both for those entering the profession (or already in it) and for those outside publishing who seek an understanding of it.

It sheds light on how editors acquire books, what constitutes a strong author-editor relationship, and the editor’s vital role at each stage of the publishing process—a role that extends far beyond marking up the author’s text.

This collection treats editing as both art and craft, and also as a career. It explores how editors balance passion against the economic realities of publishing. What Editors Do shows why, in the face of a rapidly changing publishing landscape, editors are more important than ever.

What Editors Do concludes with an extensive glossary and a list of resources for anyone interested in learning more about what editors do.


Condition: New

Format: Paperback

Pages: 320

Published: October, 6, 2017

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN:  9780226299976

Dimensions: 8.75" inches H x 0.75" inches D x 6" inches W


Peter Ginna What Editors Do


Peter Ginna has been an editor and publisher for more than 30 years. He was the founder, publisher and editorial director at Bloomsbury Press, and before that he held editorial positions at Oxford University Press, Crown Publishers, St. Martin’s Press, and Persea Books.

Peter has taught editing in New York University’s publishing program and in the Columbia Publishing Course. He comments on editing, books, and publishing at the blog Doctor Syntax and on Twitter at @DoctorSyntax.