What makes someone a good editor for a book? A lot of authors have weighed in on the question, but perhaps the most famous answer came from John Cheever, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Stories of John Cheever.

Asked for his response by an interviewer for the Paris Review, Cheever defined “a good editor” as someone he saw as charming “who sends me large checks, praises my work, my physical beauty, and my sexual prowess, and who has a stranglehold on the publisher and the bank.”

Cheever’s interviewer didn’t follow-up with: “Which of those traits matters most?” But the answer would be easy for any author who’s had…

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Janice Harayda

Janice Harayda

Critic, novelist, award-winning journalist. Former book columnist for Glamour and book editor of The Plain Dealer.