Inside MAI Blog: Thoughts on global publishing

Every Writer Needs a Good Editor….or Agent?

British editor Rebecca Carter is leaving Random House to become a literary agent. Why?

“My motivation comes from wanting to work with writers on editorial,” she told
Publishing Perspectives. “To be involved in the flow of ideas and working on the text.”

Wait a minute: Isn’t this what an editor does? So, why become an agent?

Known for bringing international literature in English and in translation to readers, during her career Carter has seen “the rise of marketing and the rise of the agent. The growth of agents has been huge. Inevitably it has impacted on role of editor.

“The editor’s role has become a lot about selling your book within the company. I’m almost the agent for a book within the company. Some agents do a lot of editing or editors do a big job publicizing an author so the roles are very fluid.” (See her insightful article, A World of Editing.)

When I shared this article with a well-known Christian editor in the US, she said, “It is troubling that this downgrading of editorial seems to be happening in some of these large "publishing entities."

Another editor friend said, “I agree that many publishers—even North American Christian publishers—are downgrading editorial.

“More publishers are using freelance editors to reduce their overhead. As more authors self-publish, they too can look to freelance editors. But many authors don’t want to pay for a professional editor’s help.

"Overall, it’s not a happy trend for readers looking for quality content. But in the end, readers will pay for what they consider quality. The fastest horse doesn’t always win the race, but it’s still the best bet.”

At this friend’s publishing house, “We’re still betting on quality content—as much as an editor can do within the scope of the author’s cooperation and the available time.”

What do you see as the future role of editors? And, how will this affect the development of skilled Christian writers around the world?

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