Something about editors

Good ol’ Enid Coleslaw sent me a nice number on editors from the Guardian:

Black day for the blue pencil
Once they were key figures in literary publishing, respected by writers who acknowledged their contribution to shaping books. But, argues Blake Morrison, editors are now an endangered species. Click on to read more …

Many truths in the article, as far as I can tell from my time as an editor, albeit in educational publishing. No delineation between various levels of editing, plus marketing, budgeting and selling, in the ex-company, so octopus-like behaviour was expected. Editing such vital communiques required a great deal of surgical precision too, and preferably editorial knowledge, daring and imagination, skills which I was still trying to get a handle on after 30 months on the job. Good training ground that exposed me to the craziness of authors and bosses alike. Made me all too aware that not everyone is good at his/her job (not excluding moi-self), and organisations seem to function successfully only through divine grace, and descend into anarchy now and then anyway.

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2 thoughts on “Something about editors

  1. Heh heh, I finally make my debut appearance on your blog eh. Ya, that piece really hit close to home. The part that really killed me was the bit about how a lot of editors just ‘don’t have time’ to edit anymore, and a lot of actual editing is just outsourced to freelancers.

    I dunno, I’m glad to have learned quite a bit at this here editing gig, but I think it can be an especially disillusioning experience for anyone who has any real affection for books. The business side of things really looms large, which is downright disheartening at times amidst all those calls for whatever’s left of integrity. Oh well.

    Enid Coleslaw

  2. Yar, my senior editor used to say that her love for and basically belief in the sanctity of books were destroyed at her first publishing job. Saddo. BUT surely we must rise above what the world doth deal out, we must rise upon what we know to be true instead — the book is sacred, and is not diminished despite the trash and the money floating around like so much debris.

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