July 7, 2008
Never Not an Editor
Last week I took a road trip to central Illinois. I had e-mailed myself some essays to edit when I arrived, and I had thrown two manuscripts (totaling in excess of six hundred pages, thank you very much) into the back seat for a cursory review. How ambitious of me. I didn't touch the essays till Sunday, and I still haven't tackled the enormous manuscripts.
Before you write me off as a slacker, let me make the argument that I was still, in a manner of speaking, acting as an editor. I had gone to central Illinois with no formal responsibilities to represent my publishing house--I was actually going to speak at a music festival on themes related to my new book--but while I was there I met one of our authors and reconnected with another. I had breakfast with a presenter and discussed how his lecture series might translate into a book. I chatted with another presenter and opened the door for him to send us proposals. I traded phone calls with an author about the status and schedule of his manuscript. I directed a new friend toward some of our books that might address some of the ideas he's been thinking about. I connected with a person on some innovative ways of gaining our authors a broader audience. I did damage control with a woman who had received a faulty book (it was the manufacturing, not the editing). And I was outed as an acquisitions editor at a workshop. And me without my business cards.
I got home and was chided by my wife for missing a spelling error on an important document. I proofread a congregation-wide letter for my pastor, and discussed with a woman in my congregation how to structure an article she's writing. I brainstormed some ideas for Christian education at our church, which included using some of our books as curriculum or supplemental reading.
It seems an editor's work is never done. At least this editor's work is never done; just ask my boss.