I've condensed some 20 books for Reader's Digest Canada, and I know how to get rid of material that doesn't push the story forward. I cut books from an average of 75,000 words to 5,000 words, the length Canadian Reader's Digest stipulated for its book sections at the back of the magazine. I got no complaints from authors, and some were astonished that I could keep the gist of the story while cutting so much from the original.
I also worked with dozens of writers on story ideas and revisions during 20 years at Reader's Digest magazine, and I have been a writer myself.
If you want someone who can tell quality from fluff, and guide you accordingly, please contact me. My CV is pasted below:
Ron W. Starr
July ’06 to Aug. ’09 Freelance editor, Montreal
After retiring in June 2006, I worked on contract for Reader’s
Digest magazine, condensing books and editing articles.
Aug. ’86 to June ’06 Senior Editor, Reader’s Digest magazine, Montreal
Produced issues of the magazine, choosing stories, maintaining
copy flow and coordinating with art and fact-checking
departments. Worked with staff and freelance writers on story
ideas and revisions, and chaired weekly story meetings.
Condensed and edited articles.
Nov. ’85 to Aug. ’86 Freelance writer, Toronto
Wrote for Ontario Living, Western Living, Greatlife, Toronto
and Foodservice & Hospitality magazines.
Jan. ’85 to Oct. ’85 Associate Editor, Ontario Living magazine, Toronto
Assigned and edited columns and features, and worked with
writers on revisions. Wrote a monthly technology column
May ’81 to Dec. ’84 Assistant Editor, Western Living magazine, Vancouver
Developed story ideas, worked with writers on columns and features,
edited manuscripts and wrote features.
Aug. ’80 to May ’81 Freelance writer, Vancouver
Wrote for the Columbian and Vancouver Sun newspapers, and
Western Living, Skyword and Canadian Business magazines.
Apr. ’80 to July ’80 The Canadian Press (wire service), Vancouver bureau
Rewrote copy submitted by member B.C./Yukon newspapers
(primarily the Vancouver Sun and Province) for wire transmission.
Langara College, Vancouver
Journalism diploma, Apr. ’80
University of Calgary
Bachelor of Arts in English, May ’75