The last time I went into a large, unnamed, corporate bookstore in search of a book about editing, I found a half-shelf in the reference section dedicated to some things publishing. Out of the whole bookstore, that was the only place I found books about books. While some independent bookstores may be more helpful in providing resources to dive into editing, here’s a list of books all about editing that will make the journey of exploring editorial experience a little easier.
What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing by Peter Ginna
A collection of essays from professionals across the industry, this book is a great way to get an insight into multiple perspectives and how editing can be viewed as a craft and as a career. Founder of Bloomsbury Press, an imprint of Bloomsbury USA, Peter Ginna has the background and experience to understand the facets of publishing and create an informed list of essays to cover the full experience of book editing.
The Subversive Copyeditor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) by Carol Fisher Saller
This book is a great resource for copyeditors when you are building and maintaining relationships with authors, other people in publishing, and yourself. A guide to keeping the peace when it comes to author–editor relationships, this book makes for a great pairing with What Editors Do with a little more practical advice for being on the job. The author is also a former senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press, former chief copyeditor of the sixteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, so you know this book was created by someone who really knows her stuff.
17th edition Chicago Manual of Style (or your preferred style guide)
Having a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, or whatever style guide I am working with, open and available to reference while I am working is an invaluable resource. Whether it’s online or in physical form, being able to look up questions about commas or numbers with ease makes a huge difference when you’re sitting down for a long day of editing. I love being able to flip to the index or search bar of the Chicago Manual of Style online without having to wade through Google results written by unknown authors with varying levels of expertise. Personally, I love my paper copy, but the online Q&A can help answer hyper-specific questions that you may not be able to find elsewhere.
There are so many books on editing out there for editing at every stage of the book process. Hopefully this list can kickstart your journey and guide you to more resources as you read. Happy editing!