Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What Editors Do Goes on the Road--and on the Air! A Conversation on BookTV, or Maybe in Your Neighborhood

With my book What Editors Do now actually available to buy, I've had the pleasure of appearing in bookstores to talk about it, so far in the company of very articulate contributors and other colleagues. Our first outing, on January 9 was at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., one of the truly great independent stores in America. Naturally, given their location, P&P is especially strong in politics, history, and current events, and they have  showcased many books that I've published and hosted many of my authors over the years. So it was a particular thrill for me to headline a book event in my own right.

One of the things that makes indie booksellers great is they really know their community and their customers, and they did, as usual, a wonderful job of attracting an audience to our event. We had a standing-room crowd who helped make a very lively discussion by asking lots of good questions.  I was joined for this event by two contributors to What Editors Do, Cal Morgan of Riverhead Books and Susan Ferber of Oxford University Press, and by Gail Ross, a veteran Washington agent who has represented many terrific nonfiction books, often by the capital's heavy hitters and top journalists.

I began by talking about the three phases of editing that I identify in the book, which provide the organizing principle for it. Cal talked about the "editor as evangelist," from his chapter "Start Spreading the News." Susan discussed working with scholarly authors writing for general readers, based on her chapter, "Of Monographs and Magnum Opuses." And Gail offered the agent's perspective on the role editors play in getting a book from the author's keyboard into the reader's hands. We had a great conversation, and happily, it was all recorded on video by C-Span's BookTV, which has already broadcast it a few times. You can watch the whole thing on the BookTV website--click on this link.

If you're in the New York City area, heads up: I'll speaking again about editing and publishing on Thursday, February 22 at another superb indie bookstore, Book Culture on 112th Street near Columbia University, with another great panel of contributors plus a guest star, Shaye Areheart, director of the Columbia Publishing Course, which has trained people for careers in publishing for three-quarters of a century. Come and bring your questions! Info on the event here.

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