Rachel Rowlands

Rachel Rowlands

Rachel Rowlands

Professional Member

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

I studied English and Creative Writing at university with the aim of becoming an author. I also wanted to work in publishing as I've always loved books, but I couldn't afford to move to London. I discovered The Society for Editors and Proofreaders after hopping between temp jobs and internships, one of which involved proofreading. I managed to get some experience freelancing for a fiction publisher, and did my editorial training alongside that. I think being a writer and editor go hand in hand, as I can empathise with my clients and pass on what I've learned as a writer, too.

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

I took the SfEP's introductory proofreading and copy-editing courses, followed by their Fiction Editing course, which was brilliant. I also studied a more comprehensive proofreading course with the Publishing Training Centre. 

What work are you most proud of?

I've worked on some bestsellers, and I recently saw two books I worked on editorially in Waterstones. That made me feel very proud!

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

I talk to other editors and ask questions. There are so many amazing people out there willing to help, whether that's in the SfEP or in Facebook groups for editors. I make sure I take regular breaks and pace myself if it's a heavy or difficult job. It can be easy to lose concentration.

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

That my work has been recognised – my experience and qualifications have been vetted by industry experts. It also means I have an amazing community to turn to if I need support.

Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?

Manuscript assessments are always enjoyable, because I get to provide developmental help to authors, drawing on my own writing background. I also find creating style sheets fun and satisfying!

Do you have any editorial pet hates?

Actions being used as dialogue tags – you can't "smile" a sentence!

What has most surprised you about your editorial career?

How much my freelance business has grown, and that I can actually make a living doing something I love. I often doubted that I'd get to put my literature and creative writing degree to good use, as publishing is so competitive, but here I am.

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

To do what you love. I used to worry that doing something I loved all day would take the fun out of it, but I still adore books and reading, even if I have less time for non-work books! I wake up looking forward to a day's work.

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

Talk to people who are doing what you want to do, and take their advice on board. If you want to freelance, be prepared for it to take some time to build up a client base. And don't feel bad if you make mistakes – editors and proofreaders aren't perfect.

Do you ever stop editing?

It's tough to turn off the editor brain, especially when reading non-work books. But I do stop – usually to write my own stories, get some fresh air and spend time with family and friends.

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

I love video games and Studio Ghibli movies.

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.