Brett Ortler

Brett Ortler – Editor

Developmental editor and acquisitions editor of more than 300 titles pertaining to nature, popular science, and wildlife.


Editor specializing in nature-oriented books and accessible guides to the night sky, rocks and minerals, insects, birds and birding, as well as dozens of titles pertaining to nearly every aspect of the Upper Midwest. Acquisitions editor responsible for generating nearly all potential book projects for each season, from idea generation and analyzing and vetting the competition to locating and contracting with authors and then guiding them through the publishing process from start to finish.

Author of ten books, many magazine articles, as well as essays in Yahoo! Parents, Fatherly, Salon, Huffington Post, among other venues.

Master of Fine Arts focused in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University and a Bachelor of English and a Bachelor in Philosophy from Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Children’s Non-Fiction History Nature Sports & Outdoors Transportation Travel
English (US)

Work experience


Feb, 2008 — Present

Developmental Editing Duties

Conduct an initial edit, reviewing for big-picture concerns—everything from brainstorming possible additional content/materials to rearranging text in order to reflect reader expectations and add value

After conferring with the author about any additions/changes about the initial edit, review and revise all of the text in the manuscript, rewriting species accounts, activity instructions, site directions and other types of materials for clarity, economy of language, and ease-of-use

Fact-check materials, claims, and vet any provided sources; provide author with fact-checking corrections via Word comments, along with a reputable source to back up any claims

Spot-check for plagiarism, especially if a section of the text seems out of keeping with author’s style/diction; if necessary, instruct authors to review the entire manuscript with plagiarism in mind and ask for a revision

Return edited initial copy to the author for their review

After the initial draft is returned from the author, send the copy to the copyeditor, instructing them what to be aware of and check, especially diction consistency, heading consistency, and apprising them of any exceptions to house style in the book

As necessary, search for and solicit images for use in books, obtaining, reviewing and selecting the best for use

Once the book is in layout, write and rewrite headings, captions, back cover and marketing copy, as necessary

Once the layout is finalized, provide page references, generate captions/headings, and if necessary, a simple index

Provide author with a final copy of the formatted book, and inform them of any outstanding materials whether text, photos or other materials that they still need to provide, including acknowledgements, dedication, or about the author copy/photo

Arrange for the book to be proofread, and accept/reject those changes, informing production crew what changes to make, based on house style and book's internal consistency

Double-check that proofreading changes were incorporated correctly

Review and approve proofs submitted by designers and printers

Knockout Literary Magazine

Jun, 2007 — Jun, 2018 (about 11 years)

Editor of Knockout Literary Magazine for six issues, and Left Hooks, an online site dedicated to literature, poetry, and more.

Knockout featured Billy Collins, Robert Bly, Larissa Szporluk, Melissa Kwasny, Marvin Bell, Lauren Alleyne, and many other fine writers.


See the best that the night sky has to offer.Is there anything more amazing than the night sky? You’ve seen the stars and the constellations―but there’s so much more to discover! George Moromisato’s guide introduces you to 101 sights, from old favorites like S... read more
Your quick guide to identifying insects and bugsGet the perfect guide to insects and bugs of North America! Keep this tabbed booklet close at hand at home, at the park, on your camping trip, and for any outdoors adventure. Based on Jaret C. Daniels’ popular Ba... read more
A Celebration of Beautiful Butterflies More than 700 species of butterflies live in North America, and all are worthy of our admiration. Butterflies are perhaps the most beautiful and easily recognizable insects in the world. They hold our attention like none ... read more
When it comes to dinosaurs and other fascinating fossils, the U.S. has it all, from Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops to Stegosaurus and Brachiosaurus. Dinosaur Destinations, by Jon Kramer, Julie Martinez, and Vernon Morris, will help you find the best dinosau... read more
The Gulf of Mexico is one of the world's premier fishing grounds. This book is designed to help you learn about and identify its most common sport fish. Fascinating facts about habitat, Gulf distribution, world records, edibility and more make this a must-have... read more
Learn how to really find Petoskey Stones! Michigan’s famous stone and its “rays of the rising sun” are admired and desired across the country―and around the world. This is the only guide you need to begin finding and collecting the Petoskey Stone. The easy-to-... read more
Dinosaurs have filled us with wonder since the first monstrous bones were pulled from the earth thousands of years ago. For centuries, we imagined dinosaurs as giant, clumsy brutes―but science has since revealed them to be so much more. They were living, breat... read more
Laugh while you learn about baby animals.From fuzzy to feathery, baby animal butts are the silliest sights in nature. This hilarious book is the perfect companion to Whose Butt?, an acclaimed picture book by award-winning wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela. Re... read more
Critter Litter: See what critters leave behind! is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient Kids will be crazy about critters after this engaging introduction to wildlife! Award-winning author, naturalist and photographer Stan Tekiela shares fun facts about 12 an... read more
Discover the North Shore you haven’t seen.Highway 61, from Duluth, Minnesota, to the Canadian border, is peppered with tourist hotspots that Minnesotans love. But even the most devout North Shore traveler doesn’t know Lake Superior like William and Kathryn May... read more
Discover unique attractions around the Great Lake State! Take a simple day trip, or string together a longer vacation of activities that catch your interest. No more information overload! Sections are divided by themes like waterfalls, lighthouses and fun days... read more
Ship watching on the Great Lakes is fascinating! It's hard to fathom how big a 1000-foot-long ship is until you see one navigating on the Great Lakes or passing under a lift bridge. Immediate questions come to mind: Where is it from? What is it carrying? How f... read more
The hiking, camping, backpacking, outdoors guide you really need There’s never a good place for a medical emergency, but some locations are much worse than others. If you are out in nature, far from help, when the unthinkable happens, you must be prepared. Out... read more
Learn to identify common backyard weeds! Hundreds of full-color photographs with easy-to-understand text make this a great visual guide to learning about more than 150 species of weeds―toxic, edible, or otherwise interesting―found in the Upper Midwest, includi... read more
Your no-nonsense guide to surviving in the wilderness You need one vital tool to stay alive in a dangerous situation: good information! So forget everything you think you’ve learned from your favorite survival shows on TV and the movies. Outdoor Survival skips... read more
Connect with nature at Minnesota’s state parks! Whether you want to hike, bike, fish, bird-watch, or geocache, there’s something for everyone in Minnesota’s state parks. See a lighthouse, climb a rock wall, explore a mine or a cave, or simply relax beside a ca... read more
Michigan’s small towns have great stories. Little Michigan presents 100 towns with populations under 600. From the state’s long mining history to its Civil War heritage, each community is charming and unique. With full-color photographs, fun facts, and fascina... read more
Small towns. Big heroes!During World War II, men from Minnesota’s smallest towns gave their lives for our country. Several were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star, or Bronze Star. All received the award no one want... read more
Introduce bird watching to a new generation of birders.Stan Tekiela’s famous Birds of Michigan Field Guide has been delighting bird watchers for decades. Now, the award-winning author has written the perfect bird identification guide for children! The Kids’ Gu... read more
A New Way to Enjoy Yellowstone & Grand Teton with your Family. They are two of America’s most beloved national parks, and now you can make visiting them even better. Give your kids the Yellowstone & Grand Teton Activity Book by Paula Ellis for hours of fun! Fr... read more
All-in-one guide to Ohio’s best outings! If you’ve ever asked, “What should we do today?” then you’ve never seen Ohio Day Trips by Theme. This comprehensive guide to the Buckeye State is jam-packed with hundreds―yes, hundreds―of Ohio’s top spots for fun and en... read more
They're Minnesota's smallest towns, but they have huge character! Experience the rich stories, histories and cultures of 100 charming small towns, with populations from 5 to 141. And meet the friendly people who call these places home. Each entry in the book f... read more
Get to know the bugs in your backyard.How many times have you seen a bug and wondered, “What in the world is that?” Here’s an easy and fun way to identify backyard bugs. Acclaimed entomologist and nature author Jaret C. Daniels presents a simple yet informativ... read more
The definitive book on Lake Superior's agates is here. If you're a casual rock collector, you will find Agates of Lake Superior fun, interesting and beautiful. If you're a more advanced hobbyist, you will appreciate this professional and scientific resource. T... read more
Get the perfect guide to rocks and minerals of the Lake Superior region! This handy book by Bob Lynch and Dan R. Lynch features comprehensive entries for 75 rocks and minerals found in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, from common rocks to rare finds. The au... read more
Introduce bird watching to a new generation of birders.Stan Tekiela’s famous Birds of Minnesota Field Guide has been delighting bird watchers for decades. Now, the award-winning author has written the perfect bird identification guide for children! The Kids’ G... read more
Rock collecting is for everyone!Nature’s treasures are just beneath our feet, waiting to be discovered. With this book, you’ll experience the excitement of finding, collecting, and identifying rocks and minerals. Dan R. Lynch, author of many field guides, pres... read more
Hundreds of full-color photos with easy-to-understand text make this a great visual guide to learning about more than 400 species of common wild mushrooms found in the Northeast. The species (from Morel Mushrooms to Shelf Mushrooms) are organized by shape, the... read more
Make Stargazing More Fun Than Ever! Stargazing is among the most peaceful and inspiring outdoor activities. Night Sky, the award-winning book by Jonathan Poppele, makes it even better! Take a simple approach to finding 64 constellations by focusing on one cons... read more

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