Editing outside the box

What is the editor’s role in the new context of digital interface, ereaders, cloud-based libraries and mobile content? It’s the question editor and writer Selena Hanet-Hutchins tries to answer in her session ‘Editing outside the box—how freelance editors can thrive in digital publishing’ at the 2013 IPEd national conference. The fact of the matter is this, according to Hanet-Hutchins, all editors are — or will be — required to edit ‘outside the box’ and that’s something to be positive about.

Drawing on her experience, her inspiration from the likes of Sean Cubitt and the key concepts of GOD* and BOOK** Hanet-Hutchins steps us through the ways in which editors can embrace the process of getting book from brain to ‘shelf’, ‘shrunken workflows’ and the increasing use of digital formats in publishing. She talks about how digital and online methods of publishing have created greater agility and more flexibility, such as authors working on large chunks of text while editors turn them around in quicker timeframes. However, I feel the over-arching message is that the editor’s focus should remain audience and purpose when reading between the lines and finding the relationships between characters.

It is about  giving greater consideration to ‘what the reader wants’

Hanet-Hutchins also highlights the greater challenges for editors. It is not about what is ‘good for the author’, but giving greater consideration to ‘what the reader wants’. Editors, in guiding authors, now more than ever need to consider how readers want to interact with the material. Such considerations open the door to greater collaboration between not just author and editor, but increasingly with the reader (how else are you going to accurately answer the question?). For some this will be a new and differenct concept, and for others there will be a willingness to embrace the change.

Definitely a thought-provoking session.

*GOD: Good Orderly Direction

** BOOK: Beneficial Organised Operational Knowledge

Hanet-Hutchins also touched on BOOKn, which is Book to the power of networking


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