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John Howard Reid

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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Blogs by John Howard Reid

What Do Editors Do?
12/6/2009 10:03:31 PM
If you're not quite sure exactly what editors do, you're not alone. I could count on three or four hands the number of well-known authors who've complained to me at book launches that his or her bestseller was a far superior offering when it originally left their hands. "The editor mucked it up!"

And I can still see Pastor Joye with his hands over his ears, when I tried to explain to him how editors handle the Bible. "Stop! Stop!" he cried. "You'll destroy my faith!"

Most people don't know the function of editors and some people don't want to know. Those few who've given any thought to the matter imagine that editors are on the look-out for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. No! That's handled by the proof readers. What the editor looks at is the book as a whole. Does it accomplish its purpose? If so, how can it be improved? If not, it is possible the book (or at least sections of it) can be salvaged?

Either way, the author is in for a good deal of re-writing. And this, of course, is where they all become upset. Very upset! I've never yet met an author who didn't heartily oppose the idea of making any changes at all, either drastic or slight. Invariably, they passionately loved their manuscripts as first written.

Four or five versions later, the editor is still not satisfied. At this point, the author digs his heels in and refuses to re-write another line. The editor is forced to take over.

Right up to the book launch, the author is still telling everyone who'll listen that the ****** editor ruined his book!

Then the reviews start to appear and the author suddenly changes tack. "Yes," he readily agrees with TV and radio hosts, "it's my best book yet!"

Fortunately, my 30 years editorial experience came in mighty useful when I prepared "Love & City Dreaming: Poems by Margaret Havill Reid" for publication.

I think even Margaret would agree that I did a good job!


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More Blogs by John Howard Reid
• Names and Titles, Questions Answered - Thursday, November 10, 2011
• Win (Vincere) the 2009 movie - Saturday, September 17, 2011
• New Light on Movie Bests - Sunday, August 21, 2011
• Which cover do you prefer? - Friday, July 29, 2011
• Poetry News - Friday, July 08, 2011
• 6 Books in Top 18 Bestsellers at Amazon Kindle Today! - Saturday, October 30, 2010
• Movies Magnificent Hits the Number One Spot at Amazon's Kindle Store - Saturday, October 02, 2010
• Bestseller Number One in Performing Arts! - Thursday, September 23, 2010
• Popular Pictures of the Hollywood 1940s - Saturday, September 11, 2010
• Who Says Poetry Is Dead? - Wednesday, September 01, 2010
• "B" Movies, Bad Movies, Good Movies in Top Ten - Sunday, August 22, 2010
• 10 Books in Top 50 at Amazon Kindle Today! - Sunday, August 15, 2010
• On with the Merryll Manning motley! - Thursday, July 22, 2010
• Revising "Merryll Manning On the Rim of Heaven" - Thursday, July 08, 2010
• Merryll Manning Halfway - Saturday, February 20, 2010
• Almost Time for Another Newsletter - Saturday, January 30, 2010
• Always happy to receive encouraging reviews - Tuesday, January 19, 2010
• Progress Report: A Salute to Spanish Poetry 100 Masterpieces from Spain and Latin America - Tuesday, January 12, 2010
• A Salute to Spanish Poetry: 100 Masterpieces from Spain & Latin America - Monday, January 04, 2010
• What To Write Next - Monday, December 28, 2009
• Poetry for Poets - Thursday, December 17, 2009
• What Makes a Successful Poet? - Wednesday, December 16, 2009
• Naming Names - Sunday, December 13, 2009
• Margaret Havill Reid Poetry - Wednesday, December 09, 2009
•  What Do Editors Do? - Sunday, December 06, 2009  
• Love & City Dreaming - Friday, December 04, 2009
• MARK and JOHN - Thursday, November 26, 2009
• Psalms - Monday, November 23, 2009
• Classic Movie Posters - Thursday, November 12, 2009
• Poetry Contest Closes for 2009 - Sunday, October 04, 2009
• Weird Book-Buying - Sunday, August 02, 2009
• Traditional Verse? - Saturday, June 13, 2009
• Red Pencils at the Ready! - Wednesday, June 10, 2009
• Solomon's Song of Songs and Proverbs - Saturday, March 21, 2009
• Merryll Manning writing times - Friday, November 21, 2008
• Contests and Competitions - Wednesday, November 12, 2008
• A Frantic Week! - Sunday, November 09, 2008
• Silent Films & Early Talkies on DVD - Thursday, May 29, 2008
• Works in Progress - Friday, February 29, 2008


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