The Layers of Magazine Editing

The Layers of Magazine Editing

The Layers of Magazine Editing

The Layers of Magazine Editing


Unlike the myriad writing manuals that emphasize grammar, sentence structure, and other skills necessary for entry-level editing jobs, this engaging book adopts a broader view, beginning with the larger topics of audience, mission, and tone, and working its way down, layer by layer, to the smaller questions of grammar and punctuation. Based on Michael Evans's years of experience as an editor and supplemented by invaluable observations from the editors of more than sixty magazines -- including The Atlantic, Better Homes and Gardens, Ebony, Esquire, and National Geographic -- this book reveals the people-oriented nature of the job.


A good editor believes that he/she is really doing something
worthwhile. He/she never stops looking for ideas and never
stops thinking about what can be done to improve the mag
azine. He/she is always trying to make the next issue better—
more entertaining, more useful, more informative—than the
previous one.

Ed Holm, editor, American History

I was working as the publications editor for a private secondary school in Massachusetts several years ago. The school’s administration had gotten into the habit of holding a brown-bag lunch once a month at which members of the faculty and staff would tell their coworkers what they really did all day. It was a great way to raise everyone’s opinion of their peers and help us all get to know one another.

Eventually, it was my turn. I stood at the front of the room, while my friends and acquaintances ate their turkey sandwiches and twisted open their bottles of carbonated sugar, and I told them about the daily life of an editor. They listened politely, laughed at moments when I tried to be funny, and finished off their desserts.

Afterward, several of them came up to me and expressed amazement at the myriad facets of an editor’s world. “I always thought,” one friend commented, “that editors spent their days hounding writers for manuscripts and fixing obscure little grammar mistakes.”

I assured him that if my days were like that, I would have thrown myself off a bridge long ago.

The purpose of this book is to show the complete magazine-editing picture. Editors work with people far more than they work with . . .

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