Philip Turner

Philip Turner

Blogger at The Great Gray Bridge & Honourary Canadian; rep for Expertfile; consultant to ABFFE; book editor; agent

Greater New York City Area

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Philip Turner's Overview

  • Curator&writer; Publishing Consultant; Independent Editor&Author Representative; ExpertFile rep at The Great Gray Bridge
  • Publisher at Philip Turner Book Productions LLC
  • Publisher at Philip Turner Books
  • Editorial Director & V-P, Union Sqaure Press at Union Square Press, Sterling Publishing
  • Editorial Director & V-P, Union Square Press at Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Editor-in-Chief at Carroll & Graf Publishers and Philip Turner Books, Avalon Publishing Group
  • Executive Editor at Times Books and Crown Publishing, Random House
  • Senior Editor/Editor-in-Chief at Kodansha America
  • Senior Editor at Prentice Hall Press, Simon & Schuster
  • Editor at Macmillan Publishers
  • Editor at Walker & Company
  • First reader for fiction prize at Charles Scribner's Sons, Publishers
  • Lead Buyer and Merchandise Manager at Undercover Books
  • Franconia College

500+ connections

Philip Turner's Summary

I have worked in the book business for 3 ½ decades. I became an acquiring editor seven years into that span, after an opening stretch when I owned and ran an independent bookstore chain, Undercover Books of Cleveland, Ohio, a business I began with my siblings and our parents. My time as a bookseller was especially fertile for strong reader engagement with bestselling novels by such writers as John Irving, Umberto Eco, Anne Tyler, and landmark nonfiction like "Goedel, Escher, and Bach" and "Playing in the Band." We became known as a go-to store among publishers sales departments and publicists, as a place to break out new books, receiving dozens of ARCs and galleys each season from every company. We read all the new stuff early, ordered tons of copies of the books we loved, talked with reader customers on the sales floor every day, then hand-sold the books in major quantities. We were the sort of store that could sell 200-300 copies of several different new titles every season. This gave me an opportunity to identify the qualities that made for the strongest reader enjoyment of new commercial titles. When I became an editor then, I already had a keen sense of what made prospective titles appealing to bookbuyers, honed a lot since, This has meant that as an in-house acquiring editor, executive editor, and editor-in-chief--jobs I've held at Walker & Company; Macmillan; Prentice-Hall Press at Simon & Schuster; Kodansha America; Times Books and Crown at Random House; Carroll & Graf with Avalon Publishing Group; and Union Square Press at Sterling Publishing--a high proportion of my list has always had second and third printings, generally selling well beyond their first print.

The judgment I gained from seven years as an independent bookseller still informs my editorial judgment today. In my career I've built a distinctive list of imperative nonfiction devoted to books by and about truthtellers, whistleblowers, muckrakers, and revisionist historians.

Philip Turner's Experience

Curator&writer; Publishing Consultant; Independent Editor&Author Representative; ExpertFile rep

The Great Gray Bridge

2011Present (3 years) New York City

In 2009, after many years as a senior editorial executive for many publishing houses, I began operating Philip Turner Book Productions, an editorial and publishing services practice. Under that banner I

• Work on book proposal development with authors and their agents;
• Consult with authors looking to enter the self-publishing space;
• Line-edit book manuscripts for authors, agents, and publishers, mostly in topical and narrative nonfiction;
• Represent a select list of authors as a literary agent.

In June 2012 I became the representative to the publisher, publicist, author, and agent community for Expertfile, an expert visibility platform that is creating an events marketplace for authors, experts and thought leaders ( I also work with the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the voice of booksellers against censorship and book banning. I coordinate of their affiliate program, in which producers of sideline merchandise for bookstores (book lights, blank journals, etc.) contribute a portion of their sales through independent bookstores to ABFFE.

Atr my blog The Great Gray Bridge ( I write on authors I've worked with as bookseller, editor, and publisher over the past three decades; write and review books; write on readings and literary events; write about graphic novels and the comic arts; write about issues in the book industry & books as they figure in current events. In addition, I write about live music shows I attend in New York City and while traveling, with a special emphasis on Canadian independent music. I also cover events in the arts, news, politics, and media.

My website also features more information on Philip Turner Book Productions and my career in the book business, at these two links: and


Philip Turner Book Productions LLC

January 2009Present (5 years 9 months)

Philip Turner Book Productions LLC is my verticalized editorial service company. I perform several primary editing and publishing functions: 1) I edit proposals and manuscripts for authors, agents, and publishers; 2) I co-agent with other literary representatives; 3) and I publish in an imprint under my own name, and make non-exclusive arrangements with distributors for the book to be published.


Philip Turner Books

2009November 2010 (1 year)

Edited and published THE DEEDS OF MY FATHERS, a family bio by grandson & son of Generoso Pope Senior, who provided the cement that built New York's skyscrapers and published Il Progresso, America's most influential Italian-language newspaper; and Gene Pope Junior who published The National Enquirer.

Editorial Director & V-P, Union Sqaure Press

Union Square Press, Sterling Publishing

Privately Held; 51-200 employees; Publishing industry

January 2007January 2009 (2 years 1 month)

I conceived the idea of what I called a "purpose-driven" book imprint in 2006, and inaugurated it first at Avalon Publishing Group under the name Philip Turner Books. Next, I moved to Sterling Publishing and installed it there in early 2007.

Editorial Director & V-P, Union Square Press

Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Privately Held; 51-200 employees; Publishing industry

20072009 (2 years)

Acquired, edited and published topical nonfiction.


Carroll & Graf Publishers and Philip Turner Books, Avalon Publishing Group

April 2000December 2006 (6 years 9 months)

• Directed submissions to and orchestrated acquisitions by five editors for two imprints publishing more than 250 titles annually, while maintaining own lead title acquisitions pace and inaugurating eponymous imprint devoted to singular witnesses.
• New imprint’s first titles were On the Brink by Tyler Drumheller, former CIA Chief in Europe (“60 Minutes” segment) and Lover of Unreason, first biography of Assia Wevill, Sylvia Plath’s rival and Ted Hughes’s doomed lover, reviewed in the New Yorker.

Privately Held; 1001-5000 employees; Publishing industry

October 1997March 2000 (2 years 6 months)

Liased with the New York Times to create books with Times reporters and editors; published DEAD RUN, true story about innocent man on Virginia's Death Row, with an Intro by William Styron.

Senior Editor/Editor-in-Chief

Kodansha America

June 1992September 1997 (5 years 4 months)

Published Edward Robb Ellis's monumental A DIARY OF THE CENTURY, and the Kodansha Globe series, featuring anthropology, natural history, adventure, and cross-cultural titles, including first paperback edition of Barack Obama's DREAMS FROM MY FATHER.

Public Company; 1001-5000 employees; Publishing industry

June 1990July 1991 (1 year 2 months)


Macmillan Publishers

June 1987May 1990 (3 years)

Acquired and published great pop culture titles--cartoon books, clever word books, and mysteries, for Macmillan and the Collier Books trade paperback imprint.


Walker & Company

January 1986June 1987 (1 year 6 months)

Published Maxwell Perkins Prize contestant, Suite for Calliope, and made it Walker's first literary novel. It received starred reviews, sold for paperback reprint, and author Ellen Hunnicutt won Drue Heinz Prize for her short fiction, judged by Nadine Gordimer.

First reader for fiction prize

Charles Scribner's Sons, Publishers

November 1985January 1986 (3 months)

First reader in Maxwell Perkins First Novel Award, for which I read 5-50 pages of more than 700 contest entries; when the manuscript I liked best, and recommended for the prize, didn't win, I made it for my first acquisition at next job.

Lead Buyer and Merchandise Manager

Undercover Books

May 1978February 1985 (6 years 10 months)

Co-founded and operated family run independent bookstore chain in Cleveland, Ohio; it became go-to store for publishers keen on breaking books out nationally.

Philip Turner's Projects

Philip Turner's Publications

  • The Great Gray Bridge

    Authors: Philip Turner

    A blog spanning urban life, books, music, media, culture, current events.

  • "William Styron: A Promise Kept"

    • BN Review
    • August 1, 2011
    Authors: Philip Turner

    Personal essay on my encounter with the American novelist.

  • "Comics & New York City–A Beautiful Friendship"

    • PW Comics World and The Great Gray Bridge
    • March 29, 2012
    Authors: Philip Turner

    Review essay on Comic NY, a symposium held at Columbia University in March 2012 which was published in Publishers Weekly's comics site, PW Comics World and cross-posted on my blog The Great Gray Bridge.

Philip Turner's Skills & Expertise

  1. Publishing
  2. Books
  3. Non-fiction
  4. Storytelling
  5. Blogging
  6. Blogger
  7. Line Editing
  8. Ebooks
  9. Editorial
  10. Content Development
  11. Proofreading
  12. Fiction
  13. Web Content
  14. Editing
  15. Freelance Writing
  16. Fact-checking
  17. Publicity
  18. Literature
  19. Copywriting
  20. Content Strategy

Philip Turner's Education

Franconia College

BA, History of Religion and Philosophy of Education


Served on faculty hiring and renewal committee; served as moderator of college's weekly governance meeting.

Activities and Societies: Active member of this experimental college's student governance.

Philip Turner's Additional Information


Guest teacher in CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Jan. 2008-2013; Festival Correspondent for PEN World Voices Festival of Literature, 2011 and 2012. Blogger on The Great Gray Bridge.

Groups and Associations:

Membership Committee Book Table, publishing industry monthly lunch group. Early subscriber to Publishers Lunch, with dozens of deals posted since inception: PEN member: For journalism see:,, Blog: Interview: CBC Radio 3 member page:

Honors and Awards:

"Meet Your Google Places Neighbor"--week of 4/23/12
Finalist for Goodreads' Indie Book Blogger Award, Spring 2012

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  • reference requests
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