Margaret Atwood talks about dead authors and the cheese sandwiches they will never again eat

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The “Dead Author” T-shirt by Margaret Atwood

At Book2Camp in February, I attended a discussion about book blogs attended by Margaret Atwood. (Just so you know, The Handmaid’s Tale is one of my favorite books, ever.)

I was a total shy fangirl, in awe that Margaret Atwood and I were in the same audience. And the highlight of the camp–not to knock all the wonderful conversations and ideas that were discussed about building reader communities, piracy and the definition of the book–was when Ms. Atwood carefully noted a list of book blogs and took special care in repeating “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.” Teehee.

So when I was reading through Guy Gonzalez‘s blog and saw the link to Margaret Atwood’s TOC keynote address, I clicked, and watched, and laughed and took some notes.

I’d recommend anyone interested in writing, publishing, editing or ebooks watch the whole video, below. It’s worth your time.

Here are the key editor-related things I took away from Margaret Atwood’s TOC talk:

** The most important thing a good editor can do is provide encouragement and validation to an author, although not every day because that would become tedious.

** The #2 thing an editor or publisher can provide is a trustworthy name. So a reader may say, ‘if they thought it was good, then I will trust that there is some merit in the work, most of the time.’

** The final thing good editors provide is guidance, by catching unintentional mistakes via copyediting, line editing and developmental editing.

** If authors want to go the “United Artists” way, there will still be a place for editors. Trained editors are out there, and ready to be hired.

Here’s the talk:

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5 Responses to “Margaret Atwood talks about dead authors and the cheese sandwiches they will never again eat”


  1. 1 Johnny Ray March 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Hello Stacy,
    I would love to read this, but the link is broken.

    You do not often hear a discussion about what an author is honestly looking for in an editor. And I’m sure all have different and perhaps secret view points. I agree it is much more than catching the grammar errors. A team of professionals is what creates a winning plan for all concerned.

    Johnny Ray

    • 2 Stacy Boyd March 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      Wow, Johnny (I always see your email address and want to call you Sir John!)–you are super fast on the comments! I’m still sitting here, looking for future-post material, when I saw your name pop up.

      I checked through all the links for the post and they are working for me. (All except for that stubborn Facebook badge, which I can’t figure out how to fix.)

      The link at the bottom of the post is the Atwood talk on video, via YouTube. If you search YouTube for “Margaret Atwood TOC,” it’s the first result. The official name of the video, which I should have put in my original post, is “The Publishing Pie: An Author’s View.”

  2. 3 Wendy La Capra March 14, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Thanks so much for posting the TOC keynote. What a fantastic talk Writer is to Moose, who knew?

    She mentioned her essay “The Rocky Road to Paper Heaven”
    http://www.myscribeweb.com/TheRockyRoadToPaperHeaven.html
    Also worth a read!

  3. 5 Johnny Ray March 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks Stacy, I think many people don’t know my real name. I have been known as Sir John for a very long time.

    What will be interesting is what name I will be branded with as a romance writer.

    Keep up the blogging. I enjoy reading your post.

    Sir john


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DISCLAIMER

I work as an editor at Harlequin, but the posts on this site are all mine and don’t represent my employer's positions, strategies or opinions.
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