Being an Editor, I imagine, is a lot like being the Battalion Logistics officer, or a worker in a Network Operations Center… The only time your name comes up is when something goes horribly wrong. When things are perfect, you are invisible. And even for those people in the know, for those who get to look behind the curtain and see the complex dance that goes into NetOps, Logistics and Editing, one hundred “attaboys” will be wiped out by one “Aw, shit”.

That is why I want to take this time to personally thank Toni Weisskopf for what she has done, both as an Editor, and as the head of Baen Books. When I do an inventory of books in my possession (sorry, former Logistics officer), both physical and e-copy, I see a lot of rocket ship logos. I see names like Weber, Drake, Correia, Williamson and Hoyt. And of course, “Oh, John Ringo, no!” Her handiwork is there, for anyone to see, if they know what to look for.

On the various pages and blogs that I visit, many revolve around writers and writing. I don’t do write myself, but just as someone who loves food likes to sometimes see what goes on in the kitchen, as a lover (if not a TruFan) of Science Fiction and Fantasy, I do like to see the stuff behind the curtain. As a result, I see many authors at various levels in the publishing world talking shop back and forth, discussing the mechanics of publishing, the challenges of getting stories out of the head and onto the paper, what it’s like to see cover art that is either perfect or not quite what they meant, and of course, working with an editor. Remember, these authors are everything from NYT Bestselling authors, to midlisters, to self-publishers, to those folks struggling to get that first story out of their head… All of them respect Toni. All of them.

From my own experience, Toni is also the one who took the time to write to a fan temporarily in Kuwait, about how to get a Baen care package. She would take the time outside of her busy work schedule, to drop an encouraging word on Facebook (to someone she has never actually met) to keep after that never-sufficiently-damned P90X fitness program.

I have written before about not wanting Gatekeepers. Before that ever occurred to me, Toni had embraced that philosophy. It can be summed up in one sentence…

Tell me a good, entertaining story.

So, thank you, Toni, for getting more good stories out there. Having read the books, seen the eARCs, and perused the slush pile, I know that there is a lot that goes into getting from that first rough manuscript to final, published copy. You have done your part in making sure that finished product is the high quality we, as readers, expect from Baen Publishing. As for me, I will do my part to make sure that you and your authors continue to win the coveted “George Washington” awards.