Show Notes for Ep. 11 “Liz Gorinsky”

Friend of the podcast Liz Gorinsky arrives to share her experiences as an editor, from her early days of reading comic books, to her work at, and finally starting Erewhon Books. Mary Anne and Ben inquire about the technical and career aspects of editing, as well as the importance of grappling with their internal editor in their own writing process.

Note: Ben and Liz refer to The Unravelling releasing in May, but the date has been moved to June 8.

You can find out more about Erewhon Books and Liz by going to and

Recorded 7 March 2021 / Published 7 June 2021


  • 0:10: Introducing Liz Gorinsky: Hugo-winning editor for the new small press Erewhon Books, which is publishing Ben’s forthcoming novel The Unraveling.
  • 2:00: Liz on the beginnings of her career as an editor, starting as an intern at DC Comics.
  • 5:30: Accessibility of comics to new readers.
  • 8:00: Liz’s time at Tor, starting as an unpaid intern.
  • 11:20: Developmental editing vs. line editing.
  • 12:35: How Liz learned to be an editor at Tor.
  • 15:20: How editors spend their time at larger publishers and smaller ones.
  • 21:55: Mary Anne’s experiences publishing her cookbook.
  • 24:55: Creating and documenting procedures at Erewhon.
  • 26:40: Who does what in a small business or a household, and under-delegating and over-delegating.
  • 31:20: The problems with making decisions about who does what based on relative levels of status.
  • 34:25: What led Liz to Erewhon, and why she took the job.
  • 38:45: Deciding what Erewhon would publish.
  • 41:10: How larger publishers decide to allocate attention/budget/publicity.
  • 47:05: Books aren’t interchangeable widgets; publishers wanting to give readers what they want can conflict with producing different and unique books.
  • 50:15: What small presses can do for authors; also, being prepared in case a small press book really takes off.
  • 54:40: Mary Anne’s cookbook finances.
  • 58:30: The three books that Erewhon published in 2020.
  • 1:03:05: Brief intermission, featuring an ad for the Speculative Literature Foundation.
  • 1:03:45: Erewhon’s recent and forthcoming 2021 books.
  • 1:06:00: About Ben’s forthcoming novel The Unraveling: a far-future comedy of manners and rethinking gender.
  • 1:08:00: What led Liz to be interested in Ben’s book.
  • 1:10:25: What the editing process was like, including the decision to use neopronouns.
  • 1:22:45: Different editors have different approaches to editing.
  • 1:27:10: The different parts of Liz’s job, especially the deep editorial work that she loves.
  • 1:31:35: Deep editorial work, craft, what readers notice and care about, fanfic, and what improves the reading experience.
  • 1:40:10: Discussing a couple of specific books.
  • 1:42:25: Should an author hire an editor before submitting their work to a publisher?
  • 1:49:40: Advice to authors who want to sell a book to Erewhon.
  • 1:52:00: Contexts where it might make sense for an author to hire a reader or an editor or a writing coach.
  • 2:01:20: Indie LARPing.
  • 2:11:55: Conclusion: Preorder The Unraveling, and support Erewhon and other indie publishers and booksellers.
  • 2:15:10: Bonus announcement: The Unraveling launches tomorrow, June 8.
  • 2:15:30: Credits.

Notes and Links