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Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  268 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Since 1962 Editors on Editing has been an indispensable guide for editors, would-be editors, and especially writers who want to understand the publishing process. Written by America’s most distinguished editors, these 38 essays will teach, inform, and inspire anyone interested in the world of editing. Editors on Editing includes essays on the evolution of the American edit ...more
Paperback, 377 pages
Published January 12th 1994 by Grove Press (first published January 1st 1962)
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Simultaneously disheartening and encouraging for a wannabe-editor such as myself.

First, the disheartening:
It's already outdated. It doesn't discuss email or similarly-recent word processing software, nor does it go into the related realms of e-publishing and self-publishing. Many of the details about how editors spend their days (making phone calls, marking up physical manuscripts, etc.) seem irrelevant in the digital age.
Many of the essays make the publishing industry sound a bit too cutthroat/
آیت معروفی
کتاب محشر بود.
فکر نکنم تا سالها بعد چیزی شبیهش پیدا کنم.
خانم دقیقی و بقیهی مترجمین در خلال یکی از کلاسهای ویرایش به پیشنهاد یکی از مترجمین کتاب و شرکتکنندههای همان کلاس تصمیم میگیرند این کتاب را ترجمه کنند. اگر درست خاطرم مانده باشد. هفت هشت سالی هم طول میکشد. و تنها دوبار مجبور میشوند کل ترجمه را بازبینی کنند. کاری که اگر مترجم یکی بود سخت و طاقتفرسا بود چه برسد وقتی با هفت هشت مترجم سر و کار داریم. آنهم چه متنی؟ متن بزرگترین ویراستارهای دنیا. ویراستارهای بخشهای مختلف نشر در بزرگترین انتشارات آ
Feb 09, 2010 Keith rated it really liked it
The essays in this book are split into two categories: theory and practice. The theory section is mostly composed of aging editors pining for the "golden age" of publishing, and masturbating to the legend of Maxwell Perkins. I hate hearing about the golden age of anything--literature wasn't better in the 20s, music wasn't better in the 60s, and anyone who thinks publishing has ever been anything other than a for-profit enterprise is deluding themselves. But don't take my annoyance the wrong way: ...more
Marissa van Uden
Aug 25, 2013 Marissa van Uden rated it really liked it
“Authors really depend on editors for one thing: the truth.”

Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do, by Gerald Gross, is a collection of essays by editors, illuminating all the different things that go on in that strange editorial realm between writers’ and readers’ imaginations.

The book is broken into two parts (Theory and Practice) and includes essays like

“What Is an Editor?”
“What Editors Look for in a Query Letter, Proposal, and Manuscript,”
“Doing Good—And Doing It
A charming, life-affirming (that is, if your life goal is to join the publishing industry) collection of essays. Plus some literary correspondences. (I was all in a tizzy over the fact that the book ends with a correspondence with Steinbeck, ostensibly focused on East of Eden...but more memorable for the sweet way that it captures the relationship between editor and author.)

The revised edition is not particularly relevant anymore, but it's an interesting read nonetheless. Some elements of editin
Jul 01, 2010 Melanie rated it it was amazing
So I had to buy this book for an editing class. We were supposed to read it a little bit at a time, but it was so fascinating that I couldn't put it down. The world of editing is not what I had imagined, but it's a very vivid place. Anyone who wants to edit or who wants to write should read this book.
Victor Oh
Jan 25, 2017 Victor Oh rated it it was amazing
It is jammed with all the information you need to know about editing. So packed with expert info, I'll be coming back to read it again. I've highlighted a lot of stuff. So I guess I won't have to plough through the whole book for what I need next time.
Orphic {Ally}
Apr 21, 2012 Orphic {Ally} rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Editors, authors, readers, writers
I would suggest this book to anyone truly interested in factions of the book industry. Amongst some of the text, is the attempt to dispel some of the well-known stereotypes of editors made by authors (i.e., someone who barely works and takes all the credit and lets the author do all the work), which is all quite contrary to the truth as known by the editors.

This book, in my opinion, had done a better job of depicting and not only outlining, but painting the inner dimensions and workings of an ed
Kendra Lee
Jun 18, 2014 Kendra Lee rated it really liked it
Ok, full disclosure: I didn't read the whole book. There were a few sections I skipped as I felt they didn't have any relation to me or the knowledge I wanted to have.

The ones I did read (a majority) were excellent and really opened my eyes to the editing process. As I one day hope to be an editor, this was invaluable. As a writer, this is especially helpful information to have. Probably most important is it will give you knowledge that may help you stay calm during the publishing process.

There were some passages that were liberating, knowledgeable, and helpful as both an author and editor. It touched on various subject areas, types of editors, and gamut of wealthy information concerning publishing houses, book doctors, freelancers, and more on the grounds of editing.

What I liked most was the 1930 cultural mythology: editor as a savior, finding the soul of the manuscript; editor as a friend; editor as alchemist, turning lead into gold (or turning a piece of work into a masterpiec
Sep 08, 2014 Kris rated it really liked it
Contains some great advice, but badly needs updating. Took me way too long to slog through (even considering the break for classes I took in the middle of it).

This book is almost as old as I am. It's still very valuable because it contains so much timeless advice, but it doesn't offer a fresh or practically useful perspective. Things move so much faster now, which makes relationships much different. I did love how these editors showed the passion they hold for their work; that's still the founda
Jun 04, 2016 Kaitlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
A fascinating look at the many different aspects to being an editor. I could use a slightly updated version that takes into account the prevalence of computers--I'm not convinced that copy editors still need mountains of reference books.
Jan 05, 2011 Kirstie rated it it was ok
Shelves: teaching-grammar
The first part of the book titled Theory felt outdated. Publishing has changed a lot in twenty years. I hoped that the essays in the Practical section would be better, but there wasn't anything that I found overly informative, and many of the articles seemed to repeat the same ideas.
Dec 23, 2008 Wendy rated it liked it
This collection is charmingly dated in some ways, but there are some delightful essays here. Would be wonderful to have a new edition of it. Perhaps some of those editors laid off on "Black Wednesday" can make that happen. And then self-publish the results.
Jun 14, 2015 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
If you can't get past the pretentious tone (why are all writing/publishing books like this??), then you can pull out some useful information. A good reference to look back on with helpful advice on the publishing world.
Margit Sage
Jun 15, 2014 Margit Sage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Badly in need of an update, this book still had some interesting and useful info. about the industry.
Aug 16, 2013 Clare rated it liked it
A useful, if dated, piece of reference material that demystifies editing for authors and heartens the aspiring editor. Just dodge the infuriating essays on “political correctness”.
Victoria Sandbrook
Feb 17, 2008 Victoria Sandbrook rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: editors, publishers, writers
Shelves: publishing, reviewed
This is a great resource for all editors, whether they're new to the game or experienced in the field.
Jan 02, 2012 Anita rated it really liked it
If you're an editor wannabe this is a terrific read. It's enjoyable and very educational. I learned tons.
Apr 10, 2013 Matt rated it it was ok
Useful to a point, but needs an updated edition to be truly applicable to modern times. Publishing has changed a lot since 1993.
Nate Jordon
Apr 01, 2009 Nate Jordon rated it really liked it
The subtitle says it all; this book contains everything a writer needs to know about editing and what editors do.
Aleesha Bass
Dec 23, 2013 Aleesha Bass rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I am an editor, and this book is such a good reference for me. I just wish they would come out with a more updated version.
Clairedaigle rated it did not like it
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  • Publishing for Profit: Successful Bottom-Line Management for Book Publishers
  • The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself
  • Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers
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  • Book Business: Publishing Past, Present and Future
  • Max Perkins: Editor of Genius
  • Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--And How to Avoid Them
  • Garner's Modern American Usage
  • The Editor's Lexicon: Essential Writing Terms for Novelists
  • The Elements of Editing
  • Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom
  • Stet: An Editor's Life
  • Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century
  • Creating Character Emotions
  • The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing
  • The Business of Books: How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read
  • Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times

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“Far more important than being the first, be willing to settle for the best.” 0 likes
“Why isn't the manuscript ready? Because every book is more work than anyone intended. If authors and editors knew, or acknowledged, how much work was ahead, fewer contracts would be signed. Each book, before the contract, is beautiful to contemplate. By the middle of the writing, the book has become, for the author, a hate object. For the editor, in the middle of editing, it has become a two-ton concrete necklace. However, both author and editor will recover the gleam in their eyes when the work is completed, and see the book as the masterwork it really is.” 0 likes
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