Alison Shakspeare

Joe Bloggs

Alison Shakspeare

Professional Member

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

I'd been in theatre marketing and gone freelance as an arts researcher, which worked well until we moved to Devon and the work dried up (despite the growth of the www). So I looked for something to fill the gap and gradually but surely built on the proofreading my previous career had required of me.

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

I first did a Chapterhouse course since I was living near Exeter! Should have saved my money, but still it gave me some confidence. I've done a few other courses since then but the value of actually doing the work and getting useful feedback and the importance of the SfEP forum cannot be overestimated.

What work are you most proud of?

It is always a buzz when you get a happy thank you for what you've done, which gets buzzier when clients come back to you. When you get valid negative criticism (i.e. it really is you and not some interference with work after it left you!) then it should always be seen as a learning experience.

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

Have a coffee while searching on the forum!

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

Validation and support.

Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?

A gentle copy edit of well written and interesting prose.

Do you have any editorial pet hates?

The unnecessary creation of -isms and -lys when a perfectly good normal phrase will do.

What has most surprised you about your editorial career?

How wide-ranging it has become and how much I enjoy the digital challenges.

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

Join the SfEP; go to the London Book Fair.

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

Be realistic about the learning you have to put in; read and search the SfEP forums just to keep in touch and expand your horizons.

Do you ever stop editing?

Do cows eat grass?

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

I'm a great believer in local produce so have got involved with my local community and we are running our eighth Food Festival this year.

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.