As readers, we love books. We also recognize that books are about more than the author’s name on the front cover. Books wouldn’t exist without authors, but so much goes into publishing your favorite titles. From publicity to copyediting and book design, the publishing world is vast and varied. Have you ever wondered how to find the editor of a book? It’s actually super easy most of the time.
Why You Should Follow Editors
But first—why, exactly, would you want to find out who edited the book you just finished reading? Personally, I love learning more about the process that goes into creating the bound copy I’m holding. I’m a writer. I find it comforting to think about all the people who get their hands into a manuscript before it becomes a book. Nothing is ever written in a vacuum, and the right editor can make a good third draft into a great hardcover. It helps to think about that when I’m in the trenches of a messy first draft.
Tapping into the behind-the-scenes of publishers can also lead to discovering great new (or new-to-you) authors. Editors have personal reading taste like anyone else, and they usually work on projects they love. Chances are you might have similar taste as the editor of your favorite book. Besides, editors work tirelessly to make sure the titles displayed at your local bookstore are the best they can possibly be—they deserve recognition for all of that hard work!
How to Find the Editor of a Book
The easiest way to find the editor of a book is to flip to the back few pages. Most fiction and nonfiction books end with an acknowledgements section, where authors have the chance to thank the people who were instrumental in helping them complete the Herculean task of writing and publishing a book. While you’ll often find inside jokes and shout-outs to family members, other writers, residencies and grants they received, etc., you’ll undoubtedly also see the names of their editor, agent, publicists, and other publishing professionals near the very top. I highly recommend reading the acknowledgements. They offer insight into the writing process and give you an idea about an author’s support system. Not all books have acknowledgements, but many do.
If you’re looking at an anthology with contributions from several authors, things may be a little different. In these cases, the editor will usually be listed on the cover and inside title page. For example, The Best American Short Stories 2019 was edited by Anthony Doerr. His name is printed on the front where an author’s name is traditionally found. Contributors of individual stories or essays are listed under the table of contents.
Finally, there’s always the Internet. Can’t find the editor in the printed book? Try typing “[book title] + editor” into Google and see if that yields results. Or, go directly to the publisher website and see if the information is listed there. I subscribe to Publishers Marketplace and receive a daily email with recently-announced book deals. These dispatches always include both the editor and the literary agent involved. Of course, that route costs money and likely only makes sense for established or aspiring publishing professionals. There are plenty of free ways to access the same information.
Connecting With Editors
Now, I don’t recommend stalking your favorite book editors on the internet any more than I recommend stalking your high school ex. But many editors are on social media, and if their profiles are public you can probably assume they are open to new followers. Finding editors on Twitter or Instagram is a great way to learn about upcoming titles as soon as they are announced and get a little behind-the-scenes glimpse at the industry. Some editors will obviously post more than others, but the active ones often share information about what they’re excited to be working on.
It’s always fun to discover when the same editor has worked on several of your favorite books. So next time you read something amazing, consider shouting out the editor and the author.