The holidays are now over, the new year sufficiently toasted. As January marches on, many of us likely march, too, with our own share of resolutions and hopes for 2019. Whatever form these aspirations take, consider adding these three books to your “To Read” shelf! Not only will you enhance your skill set, but you’ll gain insight into writers’ modi operandi and take strides to edit your own work.

Ginna’s What Editors Do offers something for everyone. He covers the 3 phases of editing (acquisition, editing, and publication), categories (very helpful for the up-and-coming editor trying to find a niche), and how to pursue a publishing career. Wherever you land on the journey—from novice to wizard—you’ll find helpful information.

The book shows just how versatile and ever-changing the publishing industry is—in technology, process, diversity, and landscape.

Ginna is very knowledgeable and draws from extensive firsthand experience; his long career in the industry certainly helps to collate resources from the cream of the crop. He succeeds admirably at taking a microscopic view of those sectors his readers will be most familiar with.

Flip the coin from editing to writing with Writer for Hire and learn about the writers you want to work with—especially if either party will freelance out the work.

Every editor needs to do some degree of writing; this will absolutely help you use the right (write?) verbiage. Chapters on “[making] clients love you”, learning to say no, and how to beat the feast-or-famine syndrome—as well as a full section on “balancing your life inside and outside the office”—will inspire and challenge you in 2019 and beyond.

Enger’s work offers extensive resources to help you set up shop, as well as easily separate the good pitch from the best. With a greater focus on technology than that of What Editors Do, it is a good “part 2” or continuation of that read.

Learn just “how fundamental editing is to great writing” in 2007’s The Artful Edit. Bell takes readers on a romp throughout history, examining how editing has evolved across centuries and technological advancements. Editors can gain much from editing themselves—both “pleasure” and “use”—and Bell provides insightful direction on how to attain both.

After all…as editors, we should equally be able to edit ourselves as others. If we can’t, will we truly succeed with someone else’s work?

Practical tips and words of wisdom over the ages mesh in this approachable read.

Each book is readily available at your favorite online retailer as well as for Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. While they may not read as quickly as novels, each has the admirable power to enhance the way you approach editing and writing. They are packed with information and relevant at every phase of the editing process! Start 2019 off on the right foot with any of these reads – and leave a comment with what you’ve learned (or your own favorite read on these topics).

Meagan Davenport is a freelance editor and proofreader who averages 100+ books read every year. She is passionate about global missions, Lord of the Rings, and the finer points of Indian food and Washington apples (though not together). You can find her online at or on social
media @naanandmarzipan.