AFTER TWENTY YEARS OF ACQUIRING AND EDITING BOOKS for the Penguin group, Simon & Schuster, and a small literary publisher, Other Press, I established myself as an independent editor in 2008. I’ve seen enormous changes in publishing (and they continue at an ever more dizzying pace), but one thing remains constant: the productive relationship between author and editor. Going independent allowed me to focus more completely on the work I love best. It’s as a trusted early reader and adviser that I feel I have the greatest contribution to make in the lives of books and the creative process of their authors.
“The universe is made of stories, not atoms” wrote the poet Muriel Rukeyser, and as an editor I tend to agree. Whether they have written a mystery novel, memoir or biography, my clients are all driven to give shape to a particular truth or experience through storytelling and I value that effort enormously. I also learn a great deal. Not just from the stories themselves, but also from the methods by which they achieve their best form.
Every writer I’ve worked with has made me a better editor. While the editorial process can be difficult to explain (not conforming to any fixed rules), it is essentially a running conversation in which ideas are exchanged, problems solved, and possibilities explored. My role is to provide clarity, perspective, guidance and encouragement.