An American Editor

June 4, 2016

Worth Reading: The Big Uneasy

I just finished reading “The Big Uneasy” by Nathan Heller in The New Yorker and thought this is an article that An American Editor readers should read. I found the article disturbing for what it portends for future college graduates. We previously discussed trigger warnings in “Should Editors Give Trigger Warnings?” and Heller’s article raises the question again and to a more worrisome (at least to me) level.

“The Big Uneasy” by Nathan Heller

What do you think about the student demands and reactions?

Richard Adin, An American Editor


February 20, 2015

Worth Reading: Commas and Copyediting

The newest issue of The New Yorker has a wonderful article about commas and copyediting by the magazine’s own copyeditor, Mary Norris. “Holy Writ: Learning to Love the House Style” is a must read for editors and authors. You might also want to read an earlier article by Mary Norris, “Don’t Try to Hone In On a Copy Editor.” It is another well-written insight into editing. From The Economist comes this editorial by Schumpeter: “Authorpreneurship: To Succeed These Days, Authors Must Be More Businesslike Than Ever,” which is also true of editors.

Richard Adin, An American Editor

January 3, 2015

Worth Reading: Pulp’s Big Moment

The New Yorker has an excellent article for those interested in the history of publishing: “Pulp’s Big Moment: How Emily Brontë met Mickey Spillane” by Louis Menand. The article discusses the history of paperback books and pulp fiction. One interesting factoid is that paperbacks were not first “created” in the 20th century; rather, their first birth was in the 18th century. Also, it was interesting to learn that Penguin was born as a paperback publishing company.

Richard Adin, An American Editor

August 10, 2013

Worth Noting: Anatomy of a Publisher

Filed under: Worth Noting — Rich Adin @ 10:29 am
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In the New York world of publishing, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (FSG) is a venerable name. I never knew much about its history.

Years ago, I sent some of the people who worked for me to a seminar in New York City on the basics of copyediting. Although they had worked as editors for quite some time, they, like most of us, had little formal training in the field and I thought this would be a good opportunity for them to get some exposure to the thinking of someone whose job responsibility was managing editors.

The course instructor was a managing editor from FSG with many years of experience.

After the first session (if I recall correctly, it was a 4-weekend course), I asked what had been discussed. What they reported distressed me — it was as if the instructor believed she was still living in the world of 19th century publishing. The instructor said, for example, that computers were a passing fad and that publishers would continue to require editing on paper, so learning how to edit on the computer was a waste of time.

Needless to say, I wondered if the course was a waste of time and/or money. (Turned out it was a waste of both.) I could not understand the instructor’s mindset.

At long last, I can understand the instructor’s thinking. The explanation lies in the book review of Hothouse, by Boris Kachka, in “Anatomy of a Publisher: The Story of Farrar, Straus & Giroux” by Robert Gottlieb, which appears in the current issue of The New Yorker. The review is well worth reading for its insight into the FSG world of publishing from its founding after World War II until its sale to Holtzbrinck.

June 22, 2012

Worth Noting: Paper Trail — Did Publishers and Apple Collude Against Amazon?

In the current issue of The New Yorker, Ken Auletta writes about the Department of Justice’s collusion lawsuit against Apple and the Agency 5 publishers. The article makes for interesting reading and is highly recommended:

“Paper Trail: Did Publishers and Apple Collude Against Amazon?”

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