Peter Ginna’s book about this topic has just been published by the University of Chicago Press.

There’s an hour-long video from C-Span available at this link showing a successful book event in January at Politics and Prose Bookshop in Washington DC. The presentation is divided into the three main bits of an editor’s job: acquisition, text development, promotion to the rest of the company. The second half hour of the video is given over to questions from the audience — many quite interesting.

I have always envisaged the editor as that self-confident person in the bow of the ship holding a big butterfly net with which he/she from time to time fishes out some kind of sea creature, passing it on to the guys down in the belly of the vessel who chop it up into suitable form while the editor is shouting to the marketing folks in the stern what it is that they are about to receive. When the engine room’s done with it, the people in the stern toss the product overboard, screaming things like “Seagulls: you’re going to love this”, “Dolphins, this one’s for you”, “The best thing you sharks have seen for years”.