Joan Tapper

Joan Tapper – Editor

I'm a longtime book and magazine editor, focusing on nonfiction. I've also written 8 books on travel, popular history, and crafts.


My career has developed over the years from editing books to editing magazine (specializing in travel), then to writing travel, craft, and popular history books and publishing magazine articles focused on the arts, places, and personality profiles. Meanwhile I've continued to collaborate with other writers on their book manuscripts. I've worked on memoirs, nonfiction narratives, business books, cookbooks, and essay collections. One of the projects went on to become a long-running TV series.

Nonfiction is my specialty, and I've worked closely with writers at every stage of book development, from initial ideas, to organization, pacing, and tone, and seeing that the manuscript is ready for the printer. My goal is always to create the most engaging book possible, preserving the author's voice and providing a clear, enjoyable reading experience for the audience.
Biographies & Memoirs Business & Management Cooking, Food, Wine, & Spirits Travel True Crime
English (US)
  • Gold Lowell Thomas Award (SATW) for Island Dreams: Caribbean (Thames & Hudson)
  • PATA Journalist of the Year (1995)

Work experience


Jun, 2002 — Present

My early career was in book publishing. In 1979 I joined the National Geographic Society as a book editor and later became the founding editor of National Geographic Traveler. I later moved to Santa Barbara to become the editor of Islands Magazine, a post I held for 13 years. For almost two decades I've been a freelance writer and editor, writing 8 books and hundreds of magazine pieces, and working with countless authors to bring their own books to fruition, both with conventional and custom publishers and self-publishers. One of the best known projects—Army Wives by Tanya Biank— went on to become a longtime TV series in the United States.

Joan has 1 review





Sally S.

Sally S.

Aug, 2020

Calm, cheerful clarity from Joan helped me arrange messy material into a strong whole. Her comments on the writing were positive and helpful. Suggestions on the path forward were just what I needed.
Joan T.
I so enjoyed working with Sally. She was clear about what she wanted and easily accommodated suggestions. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished book!

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