At FriesenPress, we take our work and your words seriously. We’re here to help you make a better book, and make you a better writer in the process.
How? One of our most valuable resources is our world class team of editors. With centuries of experience between them (no joke, they’ve seen a lot), they are a treasure trove of information and insight into an astounding variety of subjects. We like to think of them as our authors’ secret superpower.
To help you get to know some of the talented team that work to make your book exceptional, we’ve asked a few of our editors some questions about what they do and what advice they can offer writers.
Editor Profile: Eric
Bio: Eric has worked for FriesenPress for five years and has read books of all styles, at all writing levels. Before joining the FP team, Eric worked as a tutor and editor for theses during his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Eric has taught English in South Korea, and is the founder and managing editor of an online news agency that covers innovations in international development, humanitarian programs, and environmental protection. He lives with his partner and their three pets in Southern Ontario.
FriesenPress: What’s your favourite thing about being a book editor?
Eric: Each day I am transported to a new world through the stories that cross my desk, and I learn something new with every project. Often the best manuscripts stay with me for days and weeks after the project is complete, and I find myself thinking about the world the author has created. It is continually astounding to see the diversity of interests and expertise that authors bring to their works, and as an editor, I have the unique opportunity to savour the tastes from a thousand different dishes.
FP: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
E: Don’t let your work be precious to you. The best books are those that have been ripped apart—often several times—and whose authors are not afraid to take criticism. Let other people read it, and not just those who will tell you they love it. Find critical thinkers who will give you honest feedback. When that criticism comes, don’t let it offend you. Take it in and let it simmer. Writing is a continual process of refinement, not a momentary explosion of genius.
FP: What is your biggest pet peeve about editing?
E: Overwriting. The best writers say in one sentence what others take a paragraph to explain. My golden rule: Reduce needless words. By cutting useless adverbs and flowery adjectives, your voice will become confident, clear, and compelling.
FP: What is your favourite book of all time?
E: The best I can do is to narrow it down to three. From the classics, I choose The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Few books capture such poignancy in so few pages, and its simplicity belies the gravity of its content.
I also love science fiction, and for that I pick Peter Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star as the story that has stayed with me the longest. He is a master world builder, and this epic space opera is all-encompassing.
Finally, in non-fiction I point to I, Rigoberta Menchú. It is a haunting testimony of the struggles of Guatemala’s indigenous people and the brutality they faced during the genocide of the late twentieth century. Menchú won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work, and the book is an excellent introduction to her people’s resilience.
Stay tuned to meet more of our talented editing team and pick up some of their insider insights!