Making Words Count
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Toni Burbank


Toni Burbank


I met my vocation as a graduate student in English literature, when a law professor asked me to help him with a paper he was writing.  I discovered I loved collaborating, loved being stretched to learn outside my field, loved helping writers bring their ideas alive. 

Forty-some years later, I am a former Vice-President, Executive Editor at Bantam Dell/Random House, where my nonfiction list ranged from psychology and neuroscience to health, child development,  women's issues, spirituality, memoir, and self-help.

I've edited more than ten New York Times best sellers and many more books that have continued to sell well and steadily for twenty-plus years. Authors I've worked with include Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. (The Body Keeps the Score); Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence); Christiane Northrup, M.D. (The Wisdom of Menopause); Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D. (Strong Women Stay Young);  Stephen Cope (Yoga and the Quest for the True Self); Daniel Siegel, M.D. (Mindsight); Brian Wansink, Ph.D. (Mindless Eating); Tara Brach, Ph.D. (Radical Acceptance, True Refuge);  Jack Kornfield (The Wise Heart); and Sharon Salzberg (Real Love).

As a developmental and line editor, I focus on clarifying structure and ideas, building narrative content, bringing out the author's unique voice, and making the text a pleasure to read. (I believe that even complex scientific ideas can be made accessible without being "dumbed-down.")   I also do shorter-term manuscript evaluation and proposal writing, balancing conceptual development with an emphasis on positioning and platform. Drawing on my years of advocating for authors with publicity and marketing departments, I’m sometimes even asked to rewrite cover copy. 


In these times it is a rare privilege to work with such an understanding and supportive mentor in the publishing world.
— Jack Kornfield