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A Book Apart

A little love letter to editors

May 20, 2020

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“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” —Mark Twain

It’s no accident that our books pack a big punch into a brief format. It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s much easier to write lots of words that don’t really say much, than it is to get to the point clearly and succinctly. That’s why we love our editors SO MUCH. They offer critique and guidance with grace and tenderness. They work with authors to craft and care for their words, and, yes, kill their darlings, so that only the most essential words remain. In short, they help make our authors’ writing sing.

We thought it was time to write a little love letter to our editors. And we didn’t even have to do all the writing. When we asked our authors to share what their experience was like writing a book with us, nearly everyone mentioned their editor. We couldn’t wait to share some of our most favorite sentiments with you.

•••

The best editors are honest with you and challenge you, and they do it with compassion.

“You do not want someone who goes easy on you. That will not serve your book.”
—Erika Hall

“[My] books are better for their hard, careful, generous reviews, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank [the editors] properly.”
—Ethan Marcotte

Sometimes an editor’s honesty feels a little brutal, but thankfully in hindsight you can usually look back lovingly on how far you’ve come.

“This isn't a direct quote, but I remember turning in an early draft and my editor Tina Lee expressed, ‘The ideas are good, but none of the words are good or in the right order.’” 🤣
—Dan Mall (Emoji Dan Mall’s, not ours! :))

Great editors are invested in collaborating with you on your book to make it better for your reader—and to help you become a better writer.

“The editors...helped me understand how a book should be structured, questioned my assumptions, improved my explanations and stopped me from being so long-winded. I’ve learned things from each editor that I’ve tried to adopt into my writing ever since.”
—Laura Kalbag

“I absolutely learned by doing. It was trial by fire, and it was then I realized the true value of a good editor.”
—Dan Cederholm

“Writers get all the credit, but editors really make a book shine.”
—Jeremy Keith

•••

To the editors we’ve had the joy of working with over the past ten years—and to those as we journey through the next ten: thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making our books shine. We couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to!) do it without you. 💗

➜ Read the previous post on why you should write a book
➜ Read more posts in this series