When I look at a book cover, I see the author’s name. When they are not the same person, I see the author and the illustrator’s names. On the spine I glimpse the publishing house’s name. Somewhere inside the cover there may be a few more bits about the book.
Here’s what’s missing: the editors.
I've thought about this before. Unless authors choose to thank editors in the acknowledgment page, their names are never known, like ghost writers.
Anyone fortunate to work with a good editor, as I have been a few times, knows how important they are to the process. Anthologies give editors credit for choosing the pieces that make the book. Is the role of the editor any less when working with a single author?
I can just hear the sighs now. A reader doesn't care who edited, the sighers say. Only other writers may care. Well, this is probably so. Readers probably don’t care who wrote it, only if they like it. Readers may not care, but publishers could still make such acknowledgements de rigueor. This post by the writer Avi made me want to write today’s post here.
The slew of secret writer-props may include their secret agent, secret beta readers, secret critique partners and more. It’s gracious to thank them, but it is not part of the format. A writer may choose not to. Think about this- Tolstoy’s long suffering wife wrote out the drafts of War and Peace in longhand for him six or seven times, but who’s counting? That’s War and Peace, folks, not a short poem. I didn't call her l-o-n-g-suffering for nothing.
But did he thank her? I will here: thank you, Sophia Tolstaya.
Whether or whom to thank is an author’s choice. But I wonder if it isn't time to make the editors names part of the copyright page.