I’m an editor for works of fiction. That means I deal with writer’s emotions and journeys on a daily basis. It can be tough and emotional, and sometimes it’s too much to handle, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s the most rewarding job I can think of. Here are my top ten reasons why I chose this career, and why I’m here to stay!
1. Every Author is Different
Every writer I work with is different. They have different struggles, backgrounds, education levels, personal journeys, and their own set of problems. This means that every day is different. One day I might be working with an army veteran who wants to turn his real-life action into a fictional thriller, the next I might be working on someone’s heart-filled romance who’s just gotten divorced and is using it as an outlet. Every day is different and I get to work with some of the most amazing people and be a part of their personal journey. This is one of the reasons I love working on memoirs, because it’s such an emotional journey that by the time I get a physical copy I end up in tears like a proud mother hen.
2. I Learn Something New Every Day
I’m always learning. As someone who really can’t switch their brain off from planning, thinking, puzzling, and analysing the world in a logical way every second of every day, learning new things brings me a lot of joy. For example, while working on Rob Burton’s “The Castle of the Red-Haired Maidens”, I learned that using the phrase ‘mac’ in a name (Dougal mac Somerled, in this case) works the same as ‘de la’ or ‘von’ in the sense that it remains uncapitalized unless at the front of a sentence. Now I know how to work with ancient Scottish names. Cool, right?
3. I Read Books Before They’re Released
This is the one everyone asks about when I tell them I’m an editor. I get to read books before they’re released. This is both a blessing and a curse. I do get the enjoyment of reading for free and far before the release date, but I also lack the fulfillment of reading a publish-ready book. It’s not like getting your hands on an ARC copy or anything. I’m working with rough work that hasn’t been polished 90% of the time. However, I rarely have to buy books because I’m so fulfilled by the ones I work on. (I do read leisurely sometimes).
This is a bit of an odd one that I quite enjoy, but I’m respected in the writing world. People enjoy chatting to me in groups and forums about my experience and expertise. Because I’ve worked on loads of manuscripts before, and have seen many go into publication, people tend to agree with me more. This might be a little bit of a cheeky thing for me to enjoy, but I get less online arguments and more friendly, well-respected discussions. It’s nice, I enjoy it.
5. I Get to Work From Bed
Yup! I actually do this. When I’m feeling like I just can’t face the world, I grab a massive bottle of water, stock up on munchies, and curl up in bed with my laptop to do some work. I guess this is the case for any freelancer who works from home, but it’s such a luxury. When I want to go outside for a change, I pop to the library or a local café. If I’m feeling fine but want to stay inside and have maximum concentration, I use my office. I’m an indoor type of person and don’t like speaking to strangers, so this life really suits me.
6. Problem Solving
The thing about an editor’s job that is something I love is the problem solving. This is one of the reasons I got into development editing and love line editing. I get to identify problems, let the author know, suggest some fixes, and then we get to discuss the best options going forward. It’s great to think about works of fiction in a puzzle-like way, and since that’s how my brain works, I’ve become quite known for finding unique ways to fix structural issues, or to enhance the narrative using a unique structure. The most notable example of this is probably Laura Waide’s “Fallon: Memoirs of the Reborn” which was originally a linear narrative, until I suggested using the character’s memoir to the author’s best advantage and we worked on making the entire book the character’s memoir. It’s now one of the only examples I know of a fictional memoir.
7. Building an Author’s Courage
Don’t you hate it when you see a great piece of writing with lots of potential, but then you realise the author thinks it’s rubbish because they lack any sort of confidence? Well, so do I. I get to slowly build an author’s confidence and watch them grow into amazing and professional writers. It’s truly a privilege to be a part of this side of an author’s journey. I’ve worked with people who are so unconfident they’ve considered deleting their entire manuscript halfway. Crazy! Never delete anything, always keep it. You never know when you might get a good idea about how to fix that issue, even twenty years later!
8. Seeing those Books on my Shelf!
This one is really just a personal pleasure, but I love seeing those books on my shelf. Having a collection of books I’ve helped go into publication is the best feeling ever. Whenever I’m feeling down, I just look over and see the small, growing collection, and I know that I’ve made a difference to those author’s lives. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. You’ve probably guessed by now, but if you haven’t, I’m an incredibly emotional person. I’ve never met anyone who cries at things more than I do.
9. The Research
I love researching and found this out while studying Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Plymouth University, UK. I could sit at my desk for hours on end researching for essays and assignments. So, when I become an editor, I was delighted to find out that researching is a part of the job. From seeing when the first use of the Oxford Comma came in to understanding what kinds of guns police officers use in various countries, it’s always a delight to research.
10. Chatting to all of You!
From chatting on the business page on Facebook to meeting writers in writing groups, chatting to all of you about your projects and helping give advice and gain new knowledge myself is the best part. I spend a lot of time in writer’s groups giving free critiques on pieces I find interesting and giving some advice on areas of the publishing industry I’ve learned a lot about. Writers helping each other. It’s the best part of the job!