In David’s 30+ years in publishing, he has written around 100 books and edited more than 300 books and manuscripts for 30-plus publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, St. Martin’s, and HarperCollins. The books he has written and edited have sold in excess of $20 million, and his Goodreads rating is 4.21 (4,000+ ratings). Note that he is the only book editor officially endorsed by the 3,000-member Independent Book Publishers Association, as approved by their Board of Directors. David also proofreads for Bulletproof Online, whose clients include Fortune 100 companies, nonprofits such as the Smithsonian Institute and the Jane Goodall Institute, and major universities including MIT and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Since 2013, David has focused on editing manuscripts written by independent authors, ages 18 to 88. He has edited primarily memoirs and novels along with a variety of nonfiction genres.

How long have you been an editor? How long have you been with Book Editing Associates?

I have been editing since my sophomore year of college, when I worked on my college newspaper at the University of Michigan. That was…yikes!…1984. I’ve been editing books consistently since 1990, and I joined Book Editing Associates in 2013.

Why did you decide to be an editor?

Well, I wanted to be a sportswriter, specifically a baseball beat writer…more specifically the Detroit Tigers’ beat writer for the Detroit News or Free Press. I started at my college paper as both a sportswriter and editor because we had to volunteer one night a week as an editor in order to be allowed to write for the paper. But I’ve always enjoyed editing just as much as writing. Sometimes more because writing is hard!

Are you also a writer? Please tell us about a couple of things you wrote.

I’ve authored or cowritten about 105 books, mostly juvenile nonfiction–sports, history, politics, social issues, and biographies, including those on Malcolm X, Harvey Milk, Malala Yousafzai, Donald Trump, Eminem, Amy Winehouse, Ichiro…and other ordinary folks. I’ve written five kids fiction books…all baseball themed.

What one thing can make most books you write or edit better?

Two secrets, at least for nonfiction. The first is to liberally use anecdotes. The opening chapter should start off with one of the best anecdotes (short stories about the subject) you’ve got. Also, try to open every chapter with an anecdote. Second secret: minimize the necessary boring material as much as possible and maximize the fun, startling, fascinating, entertaining, emotional material.

What’s your fave/least fave…most challenging/easiest …aspect of editing?

I love catching all the spelling “mistakes” to adhere to Merriam-Webster, little-known things like first-hand should be firsthand, and straight-forward should be straightforward. I’m also a stickler for proper grammar and adherence to Chicago Manual of Style. I like making hundreds or thousands of mistakes “disappear” and returning a highly professional manuscript back to the author.

How do you balance between the author’s style and vision and the taste of commercial publishers or readers?

I like to have this discussion ahead of time with the author. A memoir author may not care about writing a commercial book; they might just want to write their story, and I support that 100 percent.

What are some things that make a book appealing to a publisher today?

A book needs to have a compelling story and a tight storyline to keep readers committed to the end. It also needs “entertainment quality,” which could be humor, literary flair, “attitude,” etc. Of course, some genres sell better than others, such as romance and cozy mysteries and not memoirs (unless you’re famous).

What are your top goals as you approach an edit?

My top goal is usually to thoroughly copyedit the manuscript. I also urge the author to stick close to the storyline. When Northerners journey in their car down to Disney World, they want to stick to the main road. They don’t want to meander for an hour to visit some gift shop. Get us to Disney World as efficiently as possible.

What fills your time when not editing?

I like to walk in our nearby forest preserve, swim, explore my city of Chicago, spend time with my family, and watch Netflix, baseball, and football. I’m also writing standup comedy material, but I’m an introvert and I’ll probably never make it to open-mic night.

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