Why did you choose an editorial career, and how did you get into it?
I have always loved books and reading, but I also loved performing arts, so after university, I worked in arts administration and management for 11 years. A friend wrote a book a few years ago, and she asked me to edit it. Both of us were just doing it for fun, and neither of us had a clue what we were doing! She went on to become a successful indie author, and always encouraged me to think about a career in editing. When I got the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy at the end of 2015, I decided to be brave and try to become a professional editor.
What training have you done to get your editorial career up and running?
I have completed the SfEP introductory courses in proofreading and copy-editing, and am part of the way through Introduction to Fiction Editing. I also attended the SfEP professional development day for fiction editors earlier this year, which I enjoyed immensely.
What work are you most proud of?
I think I am most proud of a manuscript critique I did for a friend for free. She had written a YA novel that she wasn't sure what to do with, and after she read my critique she said I had identified all the issues she knew, deep down, were there, but that I'd also suggested some solutions for some of the problems. She had been about to stick it back in its metaphorical drawer and leave it there, but she told me my work on it has made her excited about writing again.
What do you do if you're struggling on a job?
I hit the internet! The SfEP forums and Facebook groups I'm part of are a wonderful source of help and support. If I have a question, or just need to have a bit of a vent, I can reach out to groups of fantastic editors from all over the world and they're always willing and able to answer or listen.
What does being a member of the SfEP mean to you?
To me, it means being part of a helpful and supportive community of editors who all want to improve standards of editing and make sure editors' work is properly recognised. It also means I'm taking my new career seriously, and I hope it means that to my clients and prospective clients too.
Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?
I love the sometimes absurd nature of editing sex scenes, and the comments I end up writing: "I'm not sure this is physically possible; perhaps he could use his other hand?", "There is a little too much throbbing in this paragraph. Consider rephrasing."
Do you have any editorial pet hates?
I know there are many people out there who say I have to accept that the distinction between "lie" and "lay" is becoming less important, but I just can't let it go.
What has most surprised you about your editorial career?
The up-and-down nature of it. I'd been on a regularly salary from the same company for almost all my working life, so adjusting to being freelance has been a bit of a shock. I also still find it pretty surprising that people are willing to pay me to read books!
What's the best career advice you've received?
Join the SfEP! And don't undervalue the work that you do, even when you're just starting out.
What advice do you have for people starting out on an editorial career?
Believe in yourself, never worry that you're asking too many questions, and (for fiction, especially) learn as much as you can about how writing works.
Do you ever stop editing?
Yes. My daughter gave me a picture today titled "my AliEn fameRlee". I felt it would have been rude to get my red pen out.
Finally, tell us one thing about you not related to editing
I know a stunning amount of trivia about late-90s pop music.
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.