What does it say about what people think of you if you have to write a lengthy editorial insisting that, no, really, you actually do do your job?
That’s how a piece by book editor Barry Harbaugh in The New Yorker comes off. Entitled, “Yes, Book Editors Edit,” it insists that, despite Amazon claiming otherwise, book editors at major publishers actually do edit books. The fact that this piece had to be written in the first place possibly says more than does the entire piece itself.
Especially since there are just a few problems with it.
First of all, it’s hard to imagine where Mr. Harbaugh got the impression Amazon was claiming that editors don’t edit. The people who’ve been complaining about editors not editing have by and large been the authors of the works that were supposed to be coming in for editing—but weren’t. For example, look at some of the discussion from when the head of Kensington Publishing responded to writers’ complaints about their experience with the press. Many of those complaints involved the failure to receive any actual editing.