Hello! EDITH is a platform for gathering the people you need to make good books. This is our offsite blog where we post updates and welcome your interest. Please get in touch with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow us on Instagram.
This is good news for us, and all who’ve requested the ability to reorder images once uploaded to their Photos page on EDITH. It’s done!
Translation of the above image for those not using Jira agile project management software: You can use this feature now. Please check it out.
Meanwhile, still to come: the ability to crop and reposition images. Thanks for your patience.
Several people have asked, so here’s what we wrote in our last email exchange about it:
EDITH has multiple and overlapping inspirations. I wanted a name that nodded to the original inspiration of editing and valuing the work of the editor. I’ve also worked a lot with non-native speakers and appreciate the quirks of “Global English” pronunciations—where the short “e” of edit might be inadvertently swapped out for the long “e” of Edith. Then there are female artists whose work has impacted us: Edith Wharton, whom I associate with my adopted hometown of New York, and Edith Piaf.
Once I’d chosen EDITH, Edith-y coincidences started popping up. For instance, I found out the woman—incredibly hard-working, entrepreneurial, funny, and cheerful—who owns and operates the wine bar down the block is named Edit, the Hungarian version of Edith. I’d known her in a chatty, neighborly way for a few years but had never actually learned her name. Anyhow, at that point the name seemed fated; less my choice than chosen for us.
I hope the end of what was an extraordinarily challenging week for many finds you well. We’ll jump right in: We want to get some EDITH test projects started in the next two weeks. We’ve heard from people hoping to take the next step with a long-languishing book idea, we’ve heard from someone who just needs to meet the right collaborator first. We heard from a long-lost friend who really needs a marketing ally. And meanwhile, we need more people to try out EDITH’s “checkout” transaction flow, and to give us feedback.
So here goes. Some needs and requests:
- “I have a SUPER (by super I mean SUPER) rough draft of a children’s book called The Compassion Cafe that I wrote up a few years ago. I think the thing has some potential, but it needs a lot of work. It’s all sing songy…its…I don’t know.” But a developmental editor who specializes in children’s literature would know, which is where you, reading this, may enter the picture. If you are a developmental editor with experience in children’s books, who likes working with first-time authors, please get in touch and we’ll put you in touch with this individual, who is great.
- A typesetter! I’ve a short manuscript that’s been 80% done for a long time. I hope to declare it 100% done later this spring and would love to have a professional ready to work on the interior layout. Are you a typesetter? Please get in touch, or send one our way.
- Know anyone who speaks Italian, likes literary fiction, and is skilled at marketing? We heard from a writer / painter / tennis instructor who lives near the Italian Alps and whose publisher didn’t do much for his novel, which came out in 2017. Please note that he is not a character in a Wes Anderson movie but a real, lovely person. If you can help him, let us know.
- EDITH needs a social media and marketing intern. Please write to email@example.com if you’re interested or wish to introduce me to someone who is.
- Many thanks to Eli Zeger for bringing Wefunder to our attention. After sorting through some paperwork and other legalities, we hope to be up there soon.
- Improvements to the UI to make EDITH a happier place for illustrators and graphic designers are underway, slowly but surely.
- “While they’re happening, most breakthrough projects look anything but extraordinary. Rarely does the Universe tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Dot your i’s and cross your t’s here because this is the one.’ Either every piece of work is special or none of them are.” The latest essay from The Maven Game was on point.
- TNPS, or The New Publishing Standard, offers a glimpse into the global publishing world. It’s run by a fellow who lives in Gambia and is sponsored by StreetLib, an Italian digital content distribution company we are rooting for because we know their story and CEO (and CTO in a on-Zoom sense) and they’re truly dedicated to their cause of books, books everywhere, anywhere in the world.
- Back in the U.S., in an email sent to literary agents earlier this month, Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle sought to reassure agents that PRH’s acquisition of Simon & Schuster wouldn’t mean the bidding process for books would become less competitive. Indeed, he wrote, Simon & Schuster editors would be allowed to bid against PRH editors for book projects “at any advance level without the need for any external bidder involved.” This “long-standing commitment to allowing imprints to bid against one another,” Dohle continued, “reflects our belief that competitive bidding allows us to find the best match for a book and editor, therefore enabling PRH to publish great books.” Yeah maybe. I don’t believe competitive bidding for book projects increases the winning publisher’s chance of having a good author-editor match. I believe it encourages authors to sign with the highest bidder, even when that bidder’s editorial skills, or their whole vibe, may not be what the author or their project needs. It happens. I wouldn’t blame any author for making that choice (and I’ve made it myself!). But the idea that the powers-that-be in the current traditional publishing system have given any serious thought as to how to achieve good author-editor matches is funny because it’s not true.
- What’s the bookstore situation in your area? Let us know. Here in New York, within a one-mile radius of the EDITH offices, in the last five years, we have gained one new bookstore (Yu and Me Books), one new bookstore / wine bar (Book Club Bar), one highly Instagrammed used bookstore (Sweet Pickle Books), one tiny new and used bookstore (Codex), and finally there’s another new bookstore opening up (P&T Knitwear) later this spring. This has to be part of a broader trend, no?
- Along those lines, a friend of EDITH brought Dundee Book Company in Omaha, Nebraska, to our attention. “A couple bought an old home and made the front parlour into a little tiny bookstore.” Fun.
- The ceramic doodad (Christmas ornament?) here is from Dots and Lines Pottery in Cary, North Carolina, which we discovered at the Lucky Tree coffee shop and bakery in Raleigh.
EDITH Office Hours will return this Friday, March 4, 12:00PM EST. The meeting link is here: meet.google.com/ouo-kwso-ibg.
Thanks for reading.
Some EDITH providers asked for the ability to make finer distinctions when listing the literary genres they specialize in, and we’ve accommodated nearly all such requests. Thanks to everyone for your patience.
Last weekend was a blizzardy, deep freeze weekend in New York, so we mostly stayed indoors, which given these last couple years of intermittent lockdowns and quarantines, felt like overkill. So we devoted a few hours to Kondo-ing the EDITH offices. The conversation during last Wednesday’s Office Hours proved inspiring. Talk turned to making space for new ideas and new prospects, and the possibility that one might have to make space mentally and literally—as in physically move actual stuff out of your way. So I opened the file cabinet in which I’ve stored papers pertaining to past client projects and upon sifting through a few folders, realized most of it could go. I no longer needed them for sentimental reasons or for ego reasons. And that was freeing.
Which brings me to another conversation, this one held earlier today, in which Sofia (not her real name) mentioned casually that in freelancing years past she’d look at her bank statement and her calendar two months out and have no idea where the money would come from. No idea. No financial cushion. The point of this anecdote isn’t that a client always materialized, or that she made it through (though she did, and is now doing groundbreaking work that I believe will resonate with people, on the scale of, well, Marie Kondo), but simply this: It’s good to talk about economic anxiety without shame.
In some literary circles, an atmosphere so oriented toward celebrating success, admitting that you’ve suffered from intense money worries can be hard. We might know intellectually that being financially insecure is nothing to be embarrassed about. Feeling that is trickier. I hope that as the EDITH community grows, we encourage much more openness around these issues.
- Bookshop has announced its Golden Bookmark sweepstakes, and the Grand Prize winner will receive an annual gift card of $600 to spend on Bookshop, plus their bookstore of choice will receive a one-time, $500 donation. If you’re a resident of the U.S., you can enter by visiting this page.
- The people at Des Moines, Iowa-headquartered Moglea (pronounced Moh-glee), make beautiful hand-painted greeting cards, and we stockpile those cards for all occasions. Maybe you’ll like them too?
- The Genre additions are nearly done! Thanks for your patience and suggestions.
- A new slate of artistic works entered the public domain last month. Here’s a good list of the 2022 crop. This one from Duke Law School includes sound recordings that entered the public domain.
- Want to join EDITH Office Hours? So far access is limited to those who’ve signed up for an account, But accounts are free. Just visit our home page and sign up.
“We need to un-disrupt the industry that we love.”
This from Andy Hunter, CEO of Bookshop, in the Authors Guild Summer 2021 bulletin which we’ve just gotten around to reading. It helps provide a handy reply to those who upon learning of EDITH have made some remark about the popular temptations of trying to “disrupt” industries. (Granted, only a handful of people have done this.) Because it’s true: preserving and salvaging, even restoring, is so much more interesting.
P.S. Here’s the delightful Eva Talmadge’s interview with Hunter in the Journal of Beautiful Business.
This one will be quick! Getting right to it:
- EDITH editor Ellen Feld has a book out! You can order Comma Sense through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Bookshop, Mango, and Target.
- Thanks to the designer Daniel Benneworth-Gray‘s newsletter, we learned the term deltiologist (for postcard collector), and of this online collection belonging to James Brouwer, and of the phenomenon of onlooker postcards. We happen to own some “onlooker postcards” in our admittedly meager collection but didn’t realize it was a thing. Why do we bring this up? You may have noticed some postcard-derived images on EDITH. We’re big fans of collage and repurposing vintage images, esp. if they’re indisputably public domain. If you’re similarly tacky and looking for image inspiration for your listing, you may want to check out flickr accounts like Brouwer’s, The Public Domain Review, rawpixel, or the website of a museum you like, as many have online collections with hi-res downloads available to the public, for free. Here’s the Smithsonian’s Open Access site, which has…a lot, including some things you’ll wish you hadn’t seen. (“Owney the [taxidermied] Dog” I could have done without.)
- “Be as open as you can be. Be as honest as you can be about who you are.” This New York Times wrap-up of their series on people who prove it’s never too late is sweet. Another insight, this from a gentleman who recorded his first album at age 85: “Getting out of a groove — sometimes you just need company. There’s this fantasy that creativity is something you do alone, by candlelight. No! Do something with other people who are as genuinely interested as you are.” Amen.
- We are thrilled to welcome illustrator and author Kate Samworth to EDITH. Please check out her work.
- Two people showed up for our first EDITH Office Hours last week. A fantastic two people. Because sometimes you just need company, we’re doing it again Wednesday, January 26, 12:00 – 1:00PM EST. If you’d like to join to ask a question, talk about an issue you’re having with the UX, or just chat, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the link.
The image this week? An onlooker postcard, of course. Red clothing is a recurring theme.
Please pardon this brief sidenote on a very local concern for us here at EDITH! As you may know, we are based in New York City’s Lower East Side. On Monday this week our longtime stationery (plus pens, paper clips, printer ink, batteries, children’s party supplies, toys, crafts, doodad, UPS, and starting during the pandemic, household basics like soap, sponges, etc.) shop—oh, and they’re a notary public as well—was irreparably damaged in a fire. The outpouring of support from the community was immediate. The owners are always so friendly, so calm and kind, and over many years their store had become a real source of continuity and comfort for the neighborhood.
One of the co-owner’s daughters has set up a GoFundMe: Help Essex Card Shop on Ave A.
We’ll leave you with a PDF of the gift they hand out to customers—five pages of their collected wisdom on how to be. Please enjoy.
We fielded many questions this week! So with the thinking that when one person asks a question, another person is likely wondering the same thing, we’ll repeat those questions, with apologies to those for whom the answers will be old news:
Is there an EDITH vetting process for service providers?
As of right now, we have an open-door policy to becoming a service provider on EDITH, but that may change soon, as the word spreads. Having no barrier to participation made sense in the very beginning because in essence we were still “undiscovered” by design as we worked out some kinks on the site—and frankly we hadn’t told many people we existed yet. There was also the pragmatic business argument that one can let the marketplace sort out quality control issues, e.g. in the way of Airbnb, where you can find entire townhouses renting for $2,500/night (this property happens to be down the street from our office,) and rooms whose main selling point is that they’re close to JFK airport for $70/night, and there’s an expectation of buyer beware, and that reviews will eliminate any bad actors from contention. I’m not saying I find those arguments entirely persuasive given how personal book projects are, or can be, but in summary, our plan is now to move up our date, currently set for March 30, for initiating an invite-only or vetting process for new EDITH service providers.
Can you add more genres to the list of specialties?
Yes, and we will! Big thanks to those who pointed out that our Genres list contained some gaping holes. We’ll also add an N/A or “Prefer not to answer” option for those of you working in areas, such as coaching or mentoring, where genre questions don’t necessarily apply.
Why can’t I add this ISBN to my completed projects listing?
It may be because it’s an Amazon-only, 10-digit ASIN, which our system is not set up to accept. But given that this keeps coming up, we’ll change the system so that those of you with primarily ASINs can properly showcase your work.
Other news? On Wednesday this week we’ll meet with our tech team to talk about what’s next feature-wise. Aside from gift card or promo capabilities, we’re looking at adding the ability to favorite a provider’s page, plus some integrations that will allow us to automate some back-end tasks.
The image this week comes from an online workshop about unfinished projects we conducted late in 2020. The discussion that resulted was so, so rich, and we’d love to do it again. Do you have an unfinished project that haunts you in some way?
Thanks, as always, for reading.
“It was filtered down to me, therefore, that a writer found himself at least partly underequipped for the creative life if he didn’t acquire at least one visual-artist friend to share it with.” —Ross Feld
It’s wooing designers and illustrators week here at EDITH! Know anyone who might be a good fit? Please send them our way. The more, the merrier.