News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

February 9, 2017

Candor, Tough Love, and The Delicate Art of The Bounce
How our editors handle manuscripts that aren't ready for editing

The first thing I’d put on the table in connection with how we handle manuscripts that need a lot of work could, I hope, go without saying. And that’s that we never want to be discouraging to an author. There’s no pleasure in telling a writer that a […]
December 21, 2016

Everyone Needs an Editor: A Final Lesson from the Harry Potter Series
Principle Five: All good writing needs good editing.

By Jane Ryder with Beth Jusino. “So why couldn’t Malfoy have brought that necklace into the school?” “Oh, Harry, not that again…” Many readers, myself included, echoed Hermione Grangers’ frustration at that point in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. For the past few weeks we have been […]
November 2, 2016

Evaluating Nonfiction: One Editor’s Approach
What can set your nonfiction manuscript up for success... or doom it to the reject pile

Fiction lives or dies by the author’s storytelling and writing skills (and perseverance and some luck). For nonfiction, then, one might assume that likewise, an interesting topic well elucidated will do the job. However, the publishing industry and readers regard nonfiction a bit differently. Subject Matter Publishers generally […]
October 12, 2016

You Need a Good Editor
What I wish I'd know before I started: Part 1

Now that my novel, Flaming Harry Sweeney, is self-published, I can offer a hearty congratulations to none other than myself—and more importantly, advice on “What I Wish I’d Known Before I Started” to you fellow travelers and aspiring authors. First off, do it! Writing a book turned out to […]
August 9, 2016

My Neighbor is My Editor
A seasoned pro takes aim at the notion that anyone with eyes can be an editor

This just in: your neighbor’s English skills are probably not up to the standards of book publishing. When I first began editing books, I had been a professional editor for more than twenty years, at a New York-area newspaper, a regional magazine, and several magazines with an international readership. Perfectionist that […]
July 26, 2016

What Editors (Really) Do
A guide for authors, by Editorial Department founder Renni Browne

In one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons by Sam Gross, a cat is maniacally clawing an upholstered chair, obviously not for the first time. In the caption its owner explains to her guests: “We believe that in a former life she was an editor.” Over the forty-five […]