Behind the Scenes of Editing a Book

Every once in a while, you read something that just puts a whole new perspective on things.  Authors, prepare your Epiphany Hats!

At The New Yorker, writer Susan Orlean shares a true-life tale about the insane odyssey she went through during the editing phase of her first published book.

She starts with the two editors who first acquired her book, whom she dubs Editors A & B at Publishing House W:

A few months later, Editor A left book publishing to become a newspaper writer. Editor B became my primary editor …

A few months after that, Editor B was promoted to publisher … Because Editor B—that is, Editor/Publisher B—now had too many duties to edit my book, I was assigned to Editor C.

A few months later, [Editor C] got a new job at another publishing house. I was assigned to Editor D … Editor D had no actual interest in my book or me; he was just taking it on because Editor/Publisher B, now his boss, had asked him to.

A few months later, Editor/Publisher B was fired.

The Editors end up reaching G, and the Publishing Houses Z.  The idea that a business can be run effectively and efficiently with this sort of turnover is, to put it mildly, insulting to the intelligence of any adult.

Tell me what you think about this, because one writer’s experience (even with four different publishers) is only anecdotal.  Any personal stories like this?  Do you think this is anomalous or typical?

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