Article: "What Exactly Does An Editor Do? The Role Has Changed Over Time

One of my writing group partners has a novel coming out in 2016 and accompanying her process has been a fascinating front-row-seat view of the whole thing. She did one full rewrite according to her agent's suggestions before the novel even did the sub rounds. Then, once it was picked up, her editor had her do two full rewrites (one bigger, the other expanding characters), besides all the smaller line-edit type rounds which came later on. It was intensive and exhausting.

However, this was for a book with a big, fat advance which is coming out with a big name publisher. Another friend's book, which was purchased with an ordinary sort of advance as a digital title, had less intensive edits. So perhaps the amount of time/money spent on editing = how much the publisher is investing in your novel?

Also, wondering how much work a small indie publisher is able/willing to put into their books?
Editors still edit, but it seems they do a lot less of the blue pencil developmental editing than they did 40 years ago. I've read stories about editors in the 60s and 70s going off to cottages with writers for three weeks to essentially re-write a novel. Or nursing a promising author through a couple early novels until they master their craft and come up with something really good by the third try. That clearly doesn't happen anymore.

And it seems once authors are commercially successful, editors don't do much more than proof the copy. Because looking at some of the works of Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, with kludgy phrases repeated over and over again, and hugely overwritten passages, it's impossible to believe a professional editor had any real power to revise those texts.

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