In this recurring feature, we’re sharing tips for editors from the desk of Douglas Gibson. Good for those starting out or old hands who need a reminder, these reminders form an engaging guide for sharp-eyed wordsmiths.
Sometimes there is a clash between the wide-ranging expectations of a publisher and the difficult detailed work that the luckless editor has to do on the manuscript. This (except in the case of schizophrenics who are both publishers and editors, cough, cough) reflects a basic difference in character. As the wise John Le Carré has one of his cynical characters remark in The Russia House, “Publishers can get their minds halfway round anything.” Editors, by contrast, can’t just be halfway professionals.