The Real Deal


Susan A. Schwartz


For Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 17th Ed.

(Three Dogs Press, 2007). © 2007 by Susan A. Schwartz.


Most writers are aware that publishers have become much more business-oriented and competitive in this age of consolidation. What these writers may not know is that the movers and shakers in the publishing industry increasingly rely on independent editors — sometimes called “book doctors” — to transform promising material into publishable books and magazine articles and provide writers with their professional expertise.


The Editors Circle is the newest of several currently thriving alliances of top New York publishing professionals who provide independent editorial services to publishers, literary agents, book packagers, content providers, and — most importantly — directly to writers. Collectively the members of The Editors Circle have more than a century of on-staff, behind-the-scenes experience with the publishers, editors, and literary agents who make today’s book publishing decisions. We meet regularly to discuss new industry contacts, publishing trends, and current projects. The Editors Circle also offers a website that lists our members, their e-mail addresses, credentials, and recently completed projects. It also provides direct links to related sites. A writer accessing our website can approach any editor directly or send a general query to determine which editor or editors are best suited to and available for a particular project.


The editors affiliated with The Editors Circle have diverse publishing backgrounds; each specializes in a different writing category, including fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, reference materials, and proposal writing. We are conscientious line editors, and some of us also function as project developers, matching subjects with appropriate writers and finding agents and in some cases publishers to handle projects. We offer ghostwriting and other collaborative services, as well as general consultation to writers.


Independent editors who make up groups such as The Editors Circle can save writers time and heartache by steering them in the right direction at the outset. We can shape their material, give advice, and meet regularly with the on-staff professionals who are making today’s publishing decisions. By tapping our expertise, writers acquire the tools they need to navigate the submission and publishing process. While we can’t guarantee that every writer’s project will find an agent or result in a sale to a publisher, our track record speaks for itself in the number of projects that come our way, are rewritten or reshaped, and then sold.


If engaging a freelance editor, or “book doctor,” you might consider these questions:







In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the difference between capturing a publisher’s attention or being relegated to the “slush pile” often rests on the kind of professional polish and presentation that only industry professionals can provide. Independent editors groups, such as The Editors Circle, provide the services that writers need before they approach agents or publishers with their projects. We have the credentials and the track record vital to getting writers’ work noticed and gaining entry into the sometimes baffling, always formidable world of publishing.