1. What Editors Do, 2. Developmental Editing, 3. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, 4. The Copyeditor's Handbook, 5. Intuitive Editing, 6. The Artful Edit, 7. The Elements of Style, 8. The Subversive Copy Editor, 9. Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies, 10. Associated Press Stylebook. Whether you're just starting out as an editor or proofreader or a seasoned pro, there are a few reference books you should have on hand. Take a look at the best books on editing to see which ones recommended and the reasons they are useful.
- What Editors Do
- Developmental Editing
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
- The Copyeditor’s Handbook
- Intuitive Editing
- The Artful Edit
- The Elements of Style
- The Subversive Copy Editor
- Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies
- Associated Press Stylebook
What Editors Do
Peter Ginna was most recently the publisher and editorial director of Bloomsbury Press; before to that, he worked at Oxford University Press, Crown Publishers, St. Martin’s Press, and Persea Books. He has taught editing at New York University’s publishing department and blogs and tweets about editing, books, and publishing at Doctor Syntax.
Editing is an unseen art in which the best effort goes unnoticed. Editors aim to create books that are informative, smooth, and enjoyable to read, all while crediting the author. This complicates fully comprehending the variety of responsibilities they play while shepherding a project from inception to publication.
In What Editors Do, Peter Ginna collects articles on the work of twenty-seven key figures in book publishing. Contributors from large and small publishing houses, as well as trade, textbook, academic, and children’s publishing, make the case for why editing is still an important function for writers and readers everywhere.
Surprisingly, for a profession founded on words, there has been a dearth of written guidance on how to approach the process of editing. This book will serve as a collection of professional guidance and will be a resource for both individuals joining (or already in) the field and those outside of publishing seeking a knowledge of it. It explains how editors acquire books, what makes a healthy author-editor relationship, and the editor’s critical function at each stage of the publication process—a position that goes much beyond simply marking up the author’s text.
This collection considers editing to be both an art and a craft, as well as a profession. It investigates how editors match their passion with the business realities of publication. What Editors Do explains why, in an ever-changing publishing industry, editors are more necessary than ever.
Author: Peter Ginna
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/What-Editors-Do-Business-Publishing/dp/022629997X
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars (from 162 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #95,621 in Books
#22 in Book Publishing Industry
#45 in Editing Writing Reference (Books)
#215 in Words, Language & Grammar Reference
Scott Norton is the University of California Press’s director of editing, design, and production.
Editing is a difficult task. It takes analytical skill and creative flare, as well as the patience of a saint and the vision of a writer. How do you turn a manuscript into a book that teaches, inspires, and sells? That’s the duty of the developmental editor, whose desk is often the first stop for many manuscripts on their way to publication – a path expertly sketched out in the pages of “Developmental Editing.”
Scott Norton has worked with a wide spectrum of authors, editors, and publishers, and his guide offers a logical, collaborative, amusing, and practical approach to developmental editing. He begins with the essential duties of creating the proposal, identifying the hook, and developing the story or argument, and then moves on to the difficult job of carrying out the plan and developing a style. “Developmental Editing” features thorough case studies and practical guidance on how to become a developmental editor, how to adapt complex fiction approaches to nonfiction writing, and how to earn more money as a freelance copyeditor. Most importantly, Norton’s book provides authors with the skills they need to reach their target readers.
Author: Scott Norton
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0226595153
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars (from 97 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: 330,946 in Books
395 in Editing Reference
994 in Writing Skills Reference
2,819 in Publishing Reference
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
Renni Browne, a former senior editor at William Morrow and other publishing houses, quit mainstream publishing in 1980 to establish The Editorial Department, a national book-editing firm.
Dave King is a Writer’s Digest contributing editor. In his spare time, he works as an independent editor from his home in rural Ashfield, Massachusetts.
Hundreds of books on writing have been written. Finally, two professional editors have written a book to educate writers the editing procedures that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories.
Author: Renni Browne and Dave King
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0060545690
Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars (from 1096 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: 142,502 in Books
166 in Editing Reference
925 in Teaching of Specific Subjects
3,213 in Languages
The Copyeditor’s Handbook
Amy Einsohn is a scholarly, trade nonfiction, and corporate editor with over thirty years of expertise.
The Copyeditor’s Handbook is a humorous, practical guide for both newbies to publishing and experienced editors looking to fine-tune or widen their understanding of the profession. This book is suitable for self-study or as a textbook in copyediting classes. Answer keys and thorough line-by-line explanations are provided for the exercises. The book is regarded as one of the best books on editing you should read.
The third edition of The Copyeditor’s Handbook contains:
- Updates to match The Chicago Manual of Style’s 16th edition and the most recent editions of other major style manuals.
- Further modifications to reflect technological developments in onscreen editing techniques and typecoding.
- A reworked chapter on editor resources.
- Added a glossary and bibliography.
The Copyeditor’s Handbook is packed with useful information, sound advice, and helpful suggestions for both new and seasoned copyeditors. It’s reassuring to know that present and future copyeditors will have access to this manual.
Author: Amy Einsohn
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0520271564
Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars (from 224 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: 193,065 in Books
224 in Editing Reference
846 in Journalistic Writing
2,636 in Encyclopaedias (Books)
Tiffany Yates Martin, a developmental book editor with more than 25 years in the publishing industry, has worked on books by New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling authors and award winners, as well as newer writers, through her company FoxPrint Editorial. She leads objective editing and writing craft workshops for writers’ groups, organizations, and conferences to teach authors how to edit and revise their own work. She also provides editing tips and creative story revision advice for a variety of writers’ websites and publications.
Editing your own writing can feel like performing brain surgery on yourself. When you’ve finished your manuscript and are standing at the base of Revision Mountain, reaching the summit can seem impossible. It’s difficult to look at your own writing with the objective eye required to shape it into a tight, polished, publishable story—but self-editing, like writing, is a skill that can be learned.
Tiffany Yates Martin, developmental editor, has spent her career in the publishing industry honing practical, actionable techniques to assist authors in evaluating how well their story is working, where it might not be, and how to fix it. She guides writers through every step of deepening and elevating their own work, as well as how to approach the edit and develop their “editor brain,” and how to solicit and process feedback, with a clear, accessible, and user-friendly approach. Intuitive Editing does not provide one-size-fits-all advice or rigid writing “rules,” but rather assists authors in discovering what works for their story and style—finding the best version of their vision.
Intuitive Editing will give you the tools you need to edit and revise your own writing with inspiration, motivation, and confidence, whether you’re writing fiction, narrative nonfiction, or memoir.
Author: Tiffany Yates Martin
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Editing-Creative-Practical-Revising/dp/1950830020/
Ratings: 4.8 out of 5 stars (from 281 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #52,419 in Books
#11 in Semantics (Books)
#25 in Editing Writing Reference (Books)
#52 in Authorship Reference
The Artful Edit
Susan Bell has edited fiction and nonfiction professionally for nearly two decades, including at Random House and Conjunctions magazine. She currently teaches at The New School and Tin House Writers Workshop in New York City.
The Artful Edit delves into the multifaceted and frequently misunderstood – or just disregarded – process of editing. This book demonstrates the importance of editing to great writing through examples, quotes, and case studies, including an illuminating discussion of Max Perkins’ editorial collaboration with F. Scott Fitzgerald on The Great Gatsby. Bell also provides strategic self-editing tips and exercises, as well as a series of remarkable interviews in which readers are taken into the studios of established authors such as Michael Ondaatje, Tracy Kidder, and Ann Patchett to learn from their various approaches to shaping their work after its initial creation.
The Artful Edit is much more than a guidebook; it challenges readers to consider both the discipline and the creativity of editing, as well as how editing may improve their work. It is regarded as one of the best books on editing. This book, like The Triggering Town and The Elements of Style, is a must-have companion for every writer. It is a vigorous investigation into the history and meaning of the edit.
Author: Susan Bell
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0393332179
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars (from 123 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: 278,422 in Books
338 in Editing Reference
836 in Writing Skills Reference
6,357 in Words, Language & Grammar
The Elements of Style
William Strunk Jr. was a Cornell University English professor and the author of The Elements of Style (1918). After being revised and expanded by his former student E. B. White, it became a highly influential guide to English usage in the late twentieth century, popularly known as Strunk & White.
Professor Strunk’s class at Cornell was attended by E. B. White, who used “the little book” for himself. White edited the 1959 and 1972 editions of The Elements of Style after being commissioned by Macmillan to rewrite Strunk’s book.
You’ve heard of the authors. The title is familiar to you. You’ve most likely used this book before. The classic style manual, The Elements of Style, is currently in its fourth edition. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that Strunk and White’s advice is as relevant today as it was when it was first delivered. Millions of readers have benefited from this book’s distinct tone, humour, and charm in conveying the basics of English style. Make a great impact with writing by using the fourth edition of “the little book.”
Author: William Strunk and E. B. White
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0205313426/
Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars (from 9239 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #24,462 in Books
#11 in Creative Writing & Composition
#41 in Grammar Reference (Books)
#48 in Writing Skill Reference (Books)
The Subversive Copy Editor
Carol Fisher Saller, now retired, was a senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press, the principal reviser of The Chicago Manual of Style’s sixteenth edition, and the longstanding editor of the CMOS Online Q&A.
Carol Fisher Saller, a longtime manuscript editor and Chicago Manual of Style expert, has mediated many a standoff between a writer and editor who refuses to compromise on the “rights” and “wrongs” of prose styling. Saller observed that when these two sides clashed, it was often the reader who suffered.
Saller expands on the pitfalls of adhering to antiquated grammar and style norms, as well as ways to keep contemporary in language and technology, in this second edition of The Subversive Copy Editor. She focuses on her advice for writers on manuscript structuring for publishing, self-editing, and how not to be “difficult.” Saller’s own gaffes serve as personal (and sometimes amusing) instances of what not to do. The updated text reflects current publishing techniques while preserving the self-deprecating tone and cutting wit that made the first version so popular. Saller believes that by exercising caution, honesty, and flexibility, editors may foster confidence and cooperation with writers.
The Subversive Copy Editor gives a refreshingly calm perspective to the age-old conflict between writers and editors. This wise counsel will be useful and enjoyable to anyone tasked with the often dangerous responsibility of improving the writing of others.
Author: Carol Fisher Saller
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Subversive-Copy-Editor-Second-Relationships/dp/022624007X/
Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars (from 193 reviews)
#36 in Editing Writing Reference (Books)
#90 in Journalism Writing Reference (Books)
#172 in Words, Language & Grammar Reference
Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies
Suzanne Gilad has proofread or copyedited over 1,200 works for over 20 major publishing houses.
Do you want to work as a copyeditor or proofreader? Do you want to learn more about each job? This helpful guide will assist you in positioning yourself for success. Improve your talents, create a strong résumé, and land the job you’ve always wanted. Learn how to improve any sort of publishing. The book is invaluable to authors, editors,…
When reading the book Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies, you will learn how to:
- Style and rules must be balanced.
- Learn the art of the question
- Make use of proofreading symbols.
- Electronic materials should be edited and proofread.
- Create a successful freelance career.
This book’s contents are really useful, especially for someone who is just starting out in copyediting or proofreading. There are many useful resources available, as well as explanations of publishing terminology. The book is regarded as one of the best books on editing you should read.
Author: Suzanne Gilad
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0470121718/
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars (from 465 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #100,496 in Books
#19 in Writing Skills Reference
#47 in Editing Writing Reference (Books)
#298 in Language Arts Teaching Materials
Associated Press Stylebook
The Associated Press is a non-profit news cooperative that provides timely, unbiased news from throughout the world. Founded in 1846, the Associated Press is the world’s largest and most trusted source of independent news and information. AP services reach over one billion people every day and are distributed via satellite and the Internet to over 120 countries. The Associated Press is headquartered in New York City and employs over 3,700 people in over 300 sites across the world.
With this useful reference, students and professional writers everywhere may master the style guidelines of news writing, editing, and common usage.
The Associated Press style is the gold standard for news writing. With the AP Stylebook, you can learn how to write and edit with the clarity and professionalism that its authors and editors are known for.
Among the best books on editing, Associated Press Stylebook will assist you in mastering the AP’s rules for language, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviation, word and numeral usage, and when to use “more than” rather than “over.” The Stylebook provides a complete index to make it even easier to navigate these particular topics.
Fully revised and updated to reflect current events, popular usage, and AP protocols, this is the one resource that no writer, editor, or student can do without.
Author: The Associated Press
Link to buy: https://www.amazon.com/Associated-Press-Stylebook-2020-Briefing/dp/1541647572/
Ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars (from 2209 reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #14,340 in Books
#1 in Journalism
#5 in Media & the Law
#8 in Editing Writing Reference (Books)