Face of Publishing Interview with Kevin Smith, Editor

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is a freelance editor, specializing in commercial fiction and nonfiction.  Some of the authorshe’s worked with on a freelance basis are: Alan Jacobson, Stephen J. Cannell, Nevada Barr, Kyle Mills, and C.J. Lyons. He’s been associated with the publishing industry, in various capacities, for more than twenty years.  Most recently, he was a Senior Editor at Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, where he worked with, among others, New York Times bestselling author Matthew Reilly.

Alex C. Telander: When did you know you wanted to become an editor?

Kevin Smith: I started out in publishing in an administrative capacity–assistant to the managing editor of Dell Publishing.  Whereas most managing editors don’t get involved in the editing process, I was fortunate that my boss acquired and edited movie and tv tie-ins, which allowed me to get some editing experience. I was eventually promoted to Managing Editor; my duties, however, were strictly administrative.  A couple of years later I was offered and accepted an editor’s position at Dell, working primarily with health, reference, and crosswords books.

Alex: How did you get started in publishing?

Kevin: Shortly after graduating college, I became friends with the managing editor of Dell Publishing.  This was in the early ’80s.  He offered me a job as his assistant.  At the time, I was working full-time at a bookstore in the World Trade Center, toying with the idea of law school.  Reading Scott Turow’s first book, One L, where he detailed his first year at Harvard Law School, put a damper on that ambition.  Great book.  Scary ordeal, though! So, I accepted the job at Dell.  Adios, legal field.



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