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April 11, 2007

So a Denda and a Rata Walk into a Blog . . .

Addenda & Errata. That sounds just so editorial! Who wants to read a blog by book editors anyhow? Well, that’s yet to be discovered. Maybe this blogging impulse arises from some deep-seated anxiety over our relative anonymity. You authors may have your books, but we get the last word with our addenda and errata!

I suppose most folks who even care to think about it visualize editors as English majors who actually managed to find a job in their field, blue pencil behind the ear, huffing over misplaced commas and split infinitives, and able to quote the Chicago Manual of Style at the drop of an eraser. Well, these folks may proliferate in some editorial halls, but English majoring is not what brings most of us to IVP Academic. (A little known fact: Our two editors with the most seniority were math majors!) Maybe if we had more English majors there would be less need for addenda and errata. It’s true that in this business it helps to be detail oriented (and we need some who are powerfully that way), but that can be either a natural compulsion or an acquired skill mounted on a serviceable platform. What we also need is big-picture editors.

At IVP Academic we have found it pays to have an equal measure of theological and philosophical savvy and training in the makeup of our staff. To put it otherwise, the ideal editor at IVP Academic has long been someone who has the knowledge base and is trained in the critical skill of engaging with ideas—frequently theological ideas—while also showing an aptitude for learning the business of editing and publishing. Oh, and I should add, the ideal editor is also a lover of books. He or she really believes that sheets of wood pulp patterned with ink are more than cultural artifacts—they create worlds, feed minds, inspire action and are an oddly wonderful and enduring means of facilitating the communion of saints. Show me a good IVP editor and I’ll show you someone who believes it’s actually possible to bury ouselves in a book and arise in the presence of God (to paraphrase Sir Edwyn Hoskyns).

Well, I ramble. But the point is this: we’re mostly in this business for the opportunities it gives us to engage with ideas—ideas of consequence—and the people who purvey those ideas (who are often people of consequence). So we think we have something to say. Don’t be surprised if the addenda and errata we offer are frequently focused on ideas rather than the beloved CMS—though we’ll be sure to bring that in too!

Posted by Dan Reid at 11:45 AM

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