Name Dropping

shout outsToday, someone forwarded another academic editor’s website to me, pointing out his big-name clients and wondering why I didn’t have a shout-outs section of my own. After thinking about it a bit, I came up with three answers:

  1. Editors, ideally, are secret squirrels. We’re the spies who learn what makes your writing yours and leave those quirks intact. We get in there with a scalpel instead of a hatchet, and we make your ideas shine without doing violence to your piece. In the end, we hope your usual audience won’t even notice we’ve been there.
  2. #1 means that most clients actually don’t want to cop to using an editor. They’d prefer everyone believe their thoughts spring, fully-formed and battle ready, directly from their heads, like so many Athenas. It’s not up to me to blow up their spot, and I appreciate their referrals all the more, knowing those clients are trusting both my work and my discretion.
  3. Editing shouldn’t be a dirty secret (remember: the best authors care more about the finished product than the first draft), but it’s personal. The editor and the author work together, but the editor can’t write what wasn’t there, and the author has the final say in what changes get made. Editors don’t get the credit for the final piece, and I’m not about to claim it. Additionally, I couldn’t claim to have edited any one author’s entire corpus (of work, you weirdos), so it’d be hard to list clients and just let you guess whether I edited the book you loved or the one you hated.

All that said, I’m grateful to have a number of scholars who have actually urged me to share their names, use them as references, and ask them for glowing tributes whenever I  might need. I’m honored that these include diverse researchers, from my husband, the incomparable Josh Page, who puts nearly every word through my filter, to Ron Aminzade, Jeffrey Alexander, Joe Soss, Jennifer Lee, and David Pellow, all fine social scientists whose work I admire and feel privileged to have contributed to. I have edited for journalists, marketing experts, lawyers, and graduate students from at least a dozen fields. Perhaps sometime I’ll put together a little “Fuck yeah!” page of plaudits and kind words they’ve sent me (without attribution), but for now, my clients will have to trust their friends’ recommendations. That’s the best marketing I’ve ever known.

About Letta Page

Founding Associate Editor and Producer (Former) The Society Pages Senior Managing Editor Contexts Magazine In Twitter terms, I self-present as a disarmingly earnest editor, translator of academia, portmanteuse, and domesticated roustabout. More professionally, I might say: I am a jargon-slayer for hire. The founding associate editor and producer of The Society Pages and current senior managing editor of Contexts magazine (the public outreach journal of the American Sociological Association), I have nearly two decades' experience in academic editing across a range of disciplines. I've edited and written copy for publications from Oxford University Press, Routledge, Taylor & Francis, W.W. Norton, the University of Chicago Press, Cambridge University Press, and many others, along with dozens of journals. As a sort of fun "palate cleanser" (trust me, when you're editing books on neoliberalism and genocide, always good to have a fallback), I write copy for organizations like Stand Up! Records and I teach cardio barre fitness classes at Six Degrees Uptown. I also have a background in the visual arts and was a founder of First Amendment Arts (now CoExhibitions) in Minneapolis, MN. I hold degrees in history and classical studies from Boston University and an art degree from the University of Minnesota. pagesmithing.com Click here to read my Friday Roundup posts on The Editors' Desk. Click here to read my contributions to Citings & Sightings.