Alison Oakes

Alison Oakes

Alison Oakes

Intermediate Member

Why did you choose an editorial career, and how did you get into it?

I've taught, sold books, and re-created and managed school libraries – and I wanted another line of work that used my crazily-observant sight and my knowledge of grammar/spelling/the book world. 

What training have you done to get your editorial career up and running?

PTC Basic Proofreading, including Digital Proofreading, and SfEP Proofreading Progress (2)

What work are you most proud of?

A long book about the Christian church, for a Ghanaian engineer. It was a massive challenge, it needed more than simple proofreading – and it helped him enormously to get his project off the ground.

What do you do if you're struggling on a job?

Think. Take a break and walk the dog. Talk to people – my mentor (unofficial, local, vastly experienced, and entirely approachable), SfEP colleagues, Newbies' Forum. 

What does being a member of the SfEP mean to you?

Help and support from people who know what the work and the life are like. Encouragement, examples and ideas along the way. 

Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?

Getting individual sentences to work. Discussing the project with the clients – the human side of the work.

Do you have any editorial pet hates?

Grammar – all the usuals. Otherwise, no – will that come later?

What has most surprised you about your editorial career?

That the Newbies' Forum is so open and helpful. Thanks, all! 

What's the best career advice you've received?

Kat Trail said somewhere, Network network network, market, market, market.

What advice do you have for people starting out on an editorial career?

Go for it. Especially if you have friends in high places – in publishing, in editing. This will be a boost and an example. 

Do you ever stop editing?

Oh yes. It's really important to me to get out and meet people, so my dog and I have become a Pets As Therapy team, for a local care-home and a primary school. We all love it.

Finally, tell us one thing about you not related to editing

I'm an eighth Dutch!

The SfEP does not give any special endorsement to the members who appear in Meet our members. If you are looking for an editorial professional, we recommend you search the Directory of Editorial Services.