One of the most interesting and useful books I’ve read recently is The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller. Saller is an editor for the Chicago Manual of Style (so you know she knows her stuff).
Some of the important things I took from this book:
- The editor’s loyalty goes first to the reader. After all, an editor’s main purpose is to make the writing clear to the reader. (Of course, we also have a loyalty to the author and to ourselves.)
- It is okay to break so-called “grammar rules” if following them doesn’t make the writing any clearer.
- The first rule of editing is “Do no harm.” Don’t introduce new problems into the piece to try to follow a “grammar rule” or because of personal preferences.
There is lots of other useful information in this book (such as the section on carefulness, transparency, and flexibility when working with writers). I highly recommend checking this book out.
Also, here is her website: http://www.subversivecopyeditor.com/