Book review – What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing (Spoiler Free)

“In my younger and more vulnerable years, my publishing mentor gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

An editor, he said, must be the associate publisher of his own books.” – Calvert D. Morgan Jr.


  • Title: What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing
  • Editor: Peter Ginna
  • Genre: Reference work
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publication date: October 6th, 2017
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press

What Editors Do is an interesting novel I was given to read lately. It goes through all different types of professional editing.

One of the book’s most intriguing concepts is that every chapter is written by a different editor. It shows various perspectives of the editing field. Eventually, a theme comes together and some of the same concepts repeat, leading to a truth.

My major critique is that some chapters repeat themselves. For example, they summarize a topic in the beginning, but then go into detail for the next five pages. I rather just have the summary or just have the explanation, but not both. Reading the summary makes me want to skim the explanation at times because I already know what the writer is going to say.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It described the editing world well for people who have just dipped their toes into it or who don’t know it at all. I wouldn’t say it’s a quick read, because I just wanted to take my time with the book and soak all the information in. It’s definitely a book I’d recommend to prospective editors, new editors, and writers who are interested in what happens to their creative works.

Score: 9/10

Average rating on Goodreads: 4.13/5

Get the book here!

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