IVP - Behind the Books - Is This Heaven? No, It's the Internet

April 16, 2008

Is This Heaven? No, It's the Internet

Writer and former editor Michael Kinsley has thrown down the gauntlet at Time magazine.

Editors are selfless, editors believe. They labor in anonymity and take their satisfaction vicariously. The writer gets all the glory. He gets the big bucks. He gets invited to the parties, the openings, the symposia, while the editors toil at their desks turning the writer's random jottings and pretentious stylistic quirks into something resembling English prose. But that's O.K. Editors don't mind. They say, "Have a lovely time at that writers' conference, and we'll have the rewrite done when you get back." ("And your laundry too, you unappreciative b*****d," they mumble under their breath.)**

That's about the kindest he gets in his representation of the editors guild. You can read the whole diatribe here. Fortunately he's focused his ire on the editors of periodical publishing; book editors like yours truly get a pass, but only for the nanosecond it takes for the average reader to extrapolate from one form of publication to another. I feel a bit like Hillary Clinton to Michael Kinsley's Barack Obama. The ultimate indignity he saves for his closing paragraph:
On the Internet, they don't have editors. Or they don't have many. Writers rule, and a thought can go straight from your head onto the Net. That used to sound hellish. Now it sounds like heaven.

I'll keep silent and wait patiently for our authors to leap to our defense. Anyone? Anyone?

**Modesty added for your protection by your friends at Behind the Books.

Posted by Dave Zimmerman at April 16, 2008 12:26 PM Bookmark and Share


Hmm. I'm one of the few editors on the web apparently. I wonder if the writers I work with think I'm a demon?

Also, it's harder to be bitter since online writers only get invited to online parties at MySpace and Facebook.

Comment by: Mark Goodyear at April 16, 2008 6:24 PM

Whining, regardless of the whiner's age, is annoying. So, now that he's a writer, he's asking forgiveness? Hmm. Would've have meant more if he'd have asked when he was an editor!

Comment by: christa Allan at April 16, 2008 8:18 PM

In the book Linked, it's noted that while yes, you can write anything you want on the Internet, it's nearly impossible to get anyone to notice.

Comment by: Mike at April 16, 2008 10:18 PM

I admit, I like the freedom of going unedited on the Net.

That said, blog posts are short pieces and take less overall skill to pull off successfully (though it certainly takes talent to write a good blog post!).

Anyway, I liked going through the editorial process. Well, I liked it when it was done. : ) And I think my book is better for it.

Comment by: L.L. Barkat at April 21, 2008 6:43 PM

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