We want to give you the chance to learn a little more about what a job entails in the publishing industry. So, first up: Lois Wilson tells us about being an Editorial Assistant at Floris Books!
The editorial department at Floris is a wonderfully varied place! Children’s fiction on one side and holistic adult nonfiction on the other. So at any moment my I might be writing copy for a biodynamic wine calendar or finding out the collective pronoun for a team of villainous meerkats. (It’s mob, by the way. You’re welcome.)
As we’re always bringing out new books throughout the year, each editor in our team oversees several titles at once. It’s our job to work alongside each author to develop their book from idea through to production, and help them to get the very best out of their writing.
Each book goes through three stages: a structural edit, where we work with the overall plot, chronology, characters and pace; a line edit, where we delve into narrative voice, chapter structure and tone; and a copy-edit, where we iron out sentences, check for grammar, repetition and make sure everything flows nicely. That process can take anywhere from six months to a year and a lot of tracked changes.
So on a typical day, I might spend a morning continuing a structural edit of an illustrated book for 6–8s, questioning a character’s motivation or suggesting ways to improve pacing. A few weeks down the line, this might also involve one of my favourite jobs – providing the illustrator with descriptions for each illustration and imagining how the book will look when it all comes together.
The day might be broken up with an editorial meeting, where we discuss options for future books. If I’ve come across a promising submission, I’ll pitch it to the publisher and we’ll discuss target audience, similar books, and whether it would sell as a concept.
Then in the afternoon I might be doing copy-edit of an educational textbook or philosophical work. This is especially important if it’s a translated work we’ve bought from a foreign language publisher. It may have been translated very accurately, but an editor is there to make sure it flows and reads smoothly too.
There are of course lots of other administrative bits and bobs to be done throughout the week, such as preparing a manuscript with instructions for production, proofreading and blurb writing. Editing certainly isn’t as glamorous as it’s sometimes made out to be. It’s a lot of staring intently at screens or papers for hours and weeks on end. Fortunately I find editing very satisfying, like solving a really difficult puzzle. And there’s nothing like getting the book back from the printer and knowing you’ve contributed to something that other people will read and enjoy!