Thinking Like Your Editor

by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato

W.W. Norton, March, 2002.
Hardcover, 284 pages.
ISBN: 0393038920

Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato Thinking Like Your Editor helps writers put together a book proposal and submission package that will get the book noticed by agents and editors. Authors Susan Rabiner, a senior book editor for St. Martin's Press and literary agent, and her husband Alfred Fortunato, a freelance editor and writer, provide anecdotes and tips from their careers, as well as advice and examples of proposals and letters to help writers develop a professional nonfiction manuscript submission package. They also explain the business behind the scenes, including how books are selected for publication. They help writers learn what to put in a proposal, what editors look for in a sample chapter, how to format your table of contents in your book proposal, when it is time to get an agent's help and much more. The second section in the book covers the writing process and includes advice on making an argument, fairness, narrative tension, epilogues and introductions.

Ms. Rabiner worked as an editor for Random House and Basic Books and later become a literary agent. Mr. Fortunato has worked as a freelance editor and book doctor for 25 years. Together, the two authors provide a great deal of information for anyone wanting to write a nonfiction book. Writers must be upset at first to learn that "for the typical serious nonfiction book, which will advance perhaps 5,000 to 7,500 copies into the bookstores initially, publicity opportunities are few and virtually no co-op money is set aside by the publisher." But this kind of information makes writers understand how serious they need to be if they are going to make it in this business -- and how important it is that they get advice from experts like Sabiner and Fortunato. The book helps writers become more knowledgeable about editors, learn book submission techniques and find out where they stand (as authors) in the publishing process. Highly recommended.

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This review was published in the June, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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