Although I see myself first and foremost as a writer, my editing and critiquing job also plays very much into that and I am quite convinced that it has made me a better writer.
Editors comes from all sorts of backgrounds, some have degrees in English, some studied journalism, some learned by being hired by a publishing house. And very much like writing, when I started to work as an editor I was lacking in self-confidence because a part of you always feels like a fraud! Am I really qualified to do this?
Scientific writing was very much a part of my job for a lot of years and creative writing was a hobby until the obsession took over. I learned to edit or perhaps first of all critique by being part of a group and later studying for my MA in Creative Writing. Working at Bridge House Gill kindly gave me free rein on a number of projects and taught me the basics of copy editing. I then did a course on copy editing and proof reading although ironically I found it hard to get the assignments done in time as I had too much copy editing and proof reading work! But the course taught me mostly what I’d already learned although the proof reading symbols were new and I often have to use with one of the publishers who hires me regularly.
I think the biggest validation has to be repeat business and I have so much of that both privately and with the small presses that hire me. My confidence has perhaps not soared to tackling a big publishing houses but then do I need to? I am a writer who edits and crits and publishers books and does workshops to fund the writing career and I don’t want a career solely as an editor.
I still feel like a fraud sometimes — as if I should have a degree in copy editing or something, if one exists, but I keep being re-hired so I guess the doing is the proof in the end. And like writing, I continually learn from the process.
I also worry about missing things but since I have also worked with an editor I see that to as humans we always miss some things. That’s why you have a copy editor and a proof reader and often you need more than one.
It is great though that so many clients say nice things — phew and of course a huge validation came from an agency’s approval of my work.
So I feel happy and confident in my role.
That said, I can not tell you how many times I have read the stories in the new Wild n Free book, even before the document went to the designer, to try to avoid lots of changes post design. I had another set of eyes on it as well and still when I read the PDF this weekend I found a fair few things I’d missed! And it also requires checking pagination, uniformity of headers, contents same headings with capitals in the same places throughout and in contents etc. There’s more to it than you realise! And I wonder if I looked at it all again today what else I might see? I hope nothing. But it went for the final stage with these corrections to the designer yesterday and I will have one final look before I sign off on it and send it to the printer! I worry about children’s names and check and double-check so many times it’s like checking you have your passport at the airport and I know the heart rate will be up when I finally press that button to upload the book and later when I accept the hard copy proof!
Sometimes I wonder about this phrase ‘jack of all trades’ and would love it if I could employ external editors and proof readers on projects like this where I am too close to be as objective as I might like. But since I lose money on this project usually I can’t afford to do that! I hope the end result will be perfect but I have come to learn that nothing ever is quite perfect! Although I do beat myself up and have paid for revisions because I know there is a grammar error I missed! I guess what being this ‘jack of all trades’ at least has taught me, on a small-scale anyway, is how publishing works and I know this also helps a huge amount.
It is a busy old time for me as it seems there are FIVE titles out next month connected to yours truly! How’d that happen?
The biggie of course and enough in itself is the novel.
The same day I hope Wild n Free Too is out.
Around the same time I also hope the Springbok Anthology I co-edited and have a story in, is out.
Around the same time as well the eBook with my winning Bath Short Story (no not a story about a bath!) is out.
Oh and while it is supposedly out I am still waiting for my copy of You, Me and a Bit of We from Chuffed Buff Books that is out about now!
Woo hoo! November looks like one big launch party!
But I still have to work and do lots of marketing things and also at the moment, as well as sorting all the details for my launch events, our writing group has a showcase evening the week after my Bangor launch. So while I will take a lesser role and work with the team I did write a press release and am sorting copy for posters etc. And work out a running order for the event. It is all go but I love it!
Anyone who is in Wales or would like to come to my Bangor launch I am attaching the poster below. Also in Welsh on as I live in a bilingual society even though I have to confess to my Welsh being no more than a few diochs and panads! (Look it up!) So many thanks to a friend for the translation! Posters now in situ. A few more still to be walked around!
So yeah it is busy — but would I have it any other way? Of course I bloody wouldn’t!!! And Welsh friends — the Bangor Cellar Writing Group Showcase evening is October 30th, 7 pm at the Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery (near the library) and all welcome to that as well! I will have a poster soon!
All this and I am also plugging the new Paws Competition! What fun!
Have a great week all!
Ps Essex people, the launch is on November 22nd a poster will be on here for that as well!