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Editors Talk about Editing

Insights for Readers, Writers and Publishers


Susan L. Greenberg

The work of «editing» is by and large something that happens behind the scenes, noticed only when it is done badly, or not done at all. There is not much information about what editors do. The result is that editing is not often talked about in its own right – not even by the people who do it. This collection of interviews attempts to fill some of the gaps. The author, a former editor herself, interviews practitioners at the top of their game – from newspapers, magazines, broadcast news, book publishing, scholarly editing, academic publishing and digital curation. The interviewees think out loud about creativity and human judgment; what they have in common and what makes them different; how editing skills and culture can be shared; why editing continues to fascinate; and why any of this might matter.
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Chapter 9: Carole Blake, Literary Agent, Blake Friedmann


← 112 | 113 → Chapter 9


Co-founder and head of book division,Blake Friedmann Literary AgencyInterview: Thursday, August 30, 2012Camden, London

Carole Blake, a pioneering literary agent with an international profile, received the Pandora Award in 2013 for a ‘significant and sustained contribution to the publishing industry’ over 50 years. She is a former chairman of the Society of Bookmen, former president of the Association of Authors’ Agents and former president (now lifelong patron) of The Book Trade Charity. Her book, From Pitch to Publication (1999), is now in its 19th UK printing.

The Blake Friedmann Literary Agency was founded in 1982 and currently represents some 200 writers. The company’s stated aim is ‘to represent writers’ careers, rather than individual books or projects, and to sell those writers into as many markets, languages and media platforms as possible’ (Blake Friedmann 2014).

As the interview ended, Blake commented: ‘It’s very interesting talking about something that is a piece of what I do, but which I very rarely separate out, and think about in that way.’

SG To start, a little bit about yourself…

CB I grew up in a very working class family. I left school at 16 and was convinced that I wanted to be a librarian, because that was the only job I knew ← 113 | 114 → about which involved books. Until, thank God, a history teacher said to me, ‘You’d die of boredom...

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