By Nadia Geagea Pupa, Co-Founder and CEO of Pique Publishing, Inc., SD/PEN Past President

Be honest. What do you think of the following statement?

A good editor is a silent collaborator. To be an editor is to embrace the shadows, to revel in the joy of crafting words that resonate with readers, and to find fulfillment in the success of the stories they help bring to life.

Do you agree with this? The statement was written by ChatGPT. Do you feel differently now?

According to AI—and probably the general public—editors lurk in the shadows and remain silent. I don’t know why, but it angers me that some of this is true. I’m on a mission to change that.

In episode 13 of The Editors Half Hour podcast, I was vocal about my thoughts on editors being “silent collaborators.” I interviewed Tara Whitaker, a fellow podcaster and pioneer who is starting a new wave of modern editors. During the interview, I said, “Movie directors work behind the scenes, but are always recognized for their work. Editors are essentially book directors.” In some ways, I’d like to see editors get more recognition for the work they do.

I don’t agree that we should “embrace the shadows” as ChatGPT so eloquently shared with us. Instead, I firmly believe that if editors share more information about the intricacies of editing, the general public will understand a little more about the levels of editing, and what it takes to properly publish a book or distribute information. Most people have no idea what’s actually involved in publishing (or self-publishing) a book. It’s either oversimplified or overcomplicated. Even the pricing structure ranges from super low to overly inflated. We are left to defend what we do as the doom and gloom of generative AI continues to grow. We must speak up and explain that AI should be used as a tool and not as a replacement for what we do.

During my full-time staffer years—when I functioned like a senior editor but was getting paid like a mid-level editor—I oversaw complex textbook revisions. The writing was led by a subject matter expert who lacked solid writing skills, but that’s okay because it was my job to scrub and polish the heck out of it. However, there was an added layer in the process. I was required to manage a double-blind review panel from a group of hand-selected, professional, subject matter experts. To make a long story short, doing this complicated work (alone) was multifaceted, challenging, and stressful, but it forced me to get organized—fast! During this phase in my life, someone at a casual dinner party asked me, “How’s work going?” And being the nerdy, detail-oriented person I am, I provided all of the nitty-gritty details. Once I got started explaining the project, I couldn’t stop! The person talking to me looked like he wanted to faint. He was so overwhelmed by the process that he later admitted he had a newfound respect for the editorial and publishing process.

The point being made is that the heart and soul of editing will forever be a steadfast job, but in 2024, this job will evolve. It’s up to us, as editors, to be more vocal about what we do. If it means that I must launch a podcast and create a product (like Affirmation Cards for Editors) to create more awareness and spread positivity, then I’ll do it. If it means stepping into the role of the SD/PEN blog manager, I’ll gladly do it.

Whenever we have an opportunity to voice our opinions and use a platform to help spread positivity and information among editors, we should do it. The more we band together, build each other up, and celebrate our successes, we will become a stronger community.

Let’s take advantage of the SD/PEN blog together! This is one of our greatest membership benefits. It’s a place to share what’s been on our minds. I genuinely want to know about your editorial successes and struggles, and I know I’m not the only one! The only requirement is that you must be an SD/PEN Member. Aside from that, this blog is for you.

Reach out to me directly: Send me a message to just say hello! I’d love to hear from you. Visit to view or listen to the podcast episode mentioned in this blog and visit to check out the latest Affirmation Cards for Editors that I created last year. It’s my way of spreading positivity among editors through simple affirmations and reminders.

I’ll end this post with a fabulous quote by Erin Servais, who spoke on the topic of AI: “It’s a shift that we’ll need to adjust to, but we’re all in it together. We’re all riding the wave together, and we can find some strength in that sense of community as we embrace this change.”

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