November 2017 Q&A: Kate Cuthbert

Kate Cuthbert is managing editor of Escape Publishing, an imprint of Harlequin Australia. She is also an award-winning book reviewer and writer for national and international publications.

How has your month been?

September is always a bit of a blur for me. August is my busiest month every year: I attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference, where I take pitches, run workshops or appear on panels, hold author meetings, and host the Saturday night afterparty. Some years, I follow that up with the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference a week later, and then there are the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Brisbane Writers Festival. So I often stumble into September muddle-headed and exhausted.

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September 2017 Q&A: Naomi Saligari

Naomi Saligari works for Fitzroy Legal Service as the editor of their only publication, The Law Handbook. She’s worked as an editor for 15 years, both in-house and as a freelancer. She has primarily worked on educational texts (text books for secondary schools and universities, articles for journals, etc.), but did once edit a cookbook for pets!

I started working in publishing part-time when I was at uni. While I was dragging out my Arts degree for as long as humanly possible, for a couple of days a week I was also working away as a marketing assistant at Macmillan Education Australia (MEA). When I finally(!) completed my degree, I transferred to the editorial team in the secondary publishing department at MEA. That was 15 years ago! Since then, I’ve plied my craft at Oxford University Press, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and as a freelancer.

For the last five years, I’ve worked part-time for Fitzroy Legal Service, a community legal centre, as the in-house editor of their only publication, The Law Handbook. I’m a one-woman publishing department! I only work on one title, but I do many of the tasks involved between manuscript and publication: commissioning authors, budgeting, production, structural editing and copyediting, proofreading, checking proofs, distribution and marketing. (I don’t design the cover or text, or compile the index; and a gem of a typesetter checks and fixes my dodgy layout.)

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July 2017 Q&A: Renée Otmar

As an administrative assistant in a university research centre, Renée Otmar completed her first editing task in 1989 without realising that editing was what she was doing. Then, in early 1992, when her son was six weeks old, she started in the GradDipEdPub at RMIT, under the tutelage of the excellent John Curtin (deceased), Ruth Siems and Colin Jevons, and joined the Society of Editors (Victoria). She had found her tribe.

Renée has edited fiction, non-fiction, reference, trade and more; across a huge range of disciplines and genres; in print, electronic works and online. These days she mostly works in health and medical research, and when she edits it’s in academic publishing.

How has your month been?

Pretty insane, actually – thanks for asking! Usually I like to think that I have a great balance of commitments and activities, but truth be told: I thrive on being active and having a great variety of challenges in my working and personal life. Unfortunately, life doesn’t bring challenge and variety in ideal chunks. The saying that ‘it never rains but it pours’ could have been coined just to describe how this year has been panning out for me.

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June 2017 Q&A: Karen Lee

Karen Lee is the CEO of IPEd, a position created in 2016 after our transition to a national society with state branches. She’s based in Brisbane and is currently paid for around 11 hours work a week for IPEd.

Could you tell us about your background and why the IPEd CEO role appealed?

The opportunity to work for IPEd was fortuitous because it meant that I could combine my love for the written language with the skills I had. I am a qualified solicitor, having worked as a senior policy adviser to the Australian Democrats from 2001 to 2007, and consequently as Chief of Staff to two Senators. I believe that my established political experience, intimate knowledge of the parliamentary process, and strong strategic advocacy and campaigning skills are assets I bring to the role. As a writer, I am thrilled to work on behalf of our membership and also in finding ways that we can support the industry as a whole.

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April 2017 Q&A: Sally Woollett

Sally Woollett AE is a science editor who started her career in-house with a science magazine in the 1990s. She has been a freelance editor, working on science magazines, journals and in educational publishing, for 20 years. In 2013 she escaped from Melbourne’s inner north to the rolling hills of West Gippsland.

How has your month been? 

February was a rapid return to reality after the bliss of the school holidays, during which I always relish the break from routine, even though I’m usually still doing at least a bit of work. 

In the middle of the month, I renewed a contract with an existing client and gained a new client – here’s to long-term relationships! My favourite manuscript in the past little while was written by a nurse who was reflecting (with regret) on his previously uninformed attitude towards some Aboriginal patients. 

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December 2016 Q&A: Melanie Ostell

Melanie Ostell has worked in book publishing for more than 20 years – as an editor, publisher, consultant, literary agent and educator. A senior editor at Text Publishing for more than 10 years, she has since worked with all the major publishers and held publisher positions at UWA Publishing and Murdoch Books. She has led writing workshops across the country and taught at universities. She founded her editorial and production service Words to Book in 2015.

How has your month been?

My workload can vary hugely from day to day. Some days are full of meetings, lunches or coffees with people, some are purely editorial, some are spent reviewing contracts and some are tasked with general administrative work.

This past month has been extremely busy, which is always a good thing, especially if there’s a range of tasks. I teach the Towards Publication subject at RMIT and spent nearly a week reading and marking excerpts from students’ manuscripts-in-progress as part of their final assessment. I’ve also been prepping for a two-day Pitching Workshop for Writers Victoria.

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August 2016 Q&A: Lucy Treloar

Lucy Treloar was born in Malaysia and educated in Melbourne, England and Sweden. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing program, Lucy is a writer, editor, mentor and creative writing teacher. She has plied her trades both in Australia and in Cambodia, where she lived for several years. Lucy has published a range of short fiction and non-fiction, and her debut novel, Salt Creek, was published by Picador in August 2015. Salt Creek is shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Lucy, you are both writer and editor. How easy is to switch modes or impose work demarcation lines?

I do everything I can to keep the two worlds separate. Even though writing involves editing at some stage, it’s important for me, especially when I’m writing a first draft, to keep my inner editing voice switched off. It can be a paralysing presence in a writer’s mind. I manage this by keeping separate workspaces: an internet-free creative writing studio several miles from home and a home office for my editing business. The type of work divides my day too: writing in the morning and editing in the afternoon.

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July 2016 Q&A: Jackey Coyle

Jackey Coyle’s business, Wordy-Gurdy, offers project management, substantive editing or rewriting, proofreading, research and writing for short stories, books, ebooks, magazines, newsletters, theses and websites. Jackey has broad expertise in business, roots music and travel, with interests in arts, science, lifestyle and health. She’s been writing and editing since 1992. [And has been Editors Victoria President for the last couple of years, Ed.]

How has your month been?

June is always full on, what with tidying up tax for the end of the year and getting my purchases, subscriptions and memberships in!

The first three weeks also has the insanity of quarterly magazine production, as we put Issue 13 of Inside Small Business to bed around mid-month. It’s a 0.4 contract, so I weight my hours towards the end of the quarter – it becomes more like 0.6 or 0.8 at production time as the hours evaporate with the minutiae (it’s hard to believe just how many details there are).

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June 2016 Q&A: Jessica Hoadley

Jessica Hoadley is a junior editor/project manager at educational publisher Insight Publications, where she’s worked for two and a half years since graduating from RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing course.

How has your month been?

Busy but satisfying! I’m currently revising a series of Year 7 to 9 English skills workbooks. This involves working closely with national and state English curriculums, choosing and applying for permission to use fun text extracts (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Roald Dahl) and reworking the content to be more engaging. I’m juggling this more ‘creative’ work with project managing a new textbook for the VCE subject English Language, which basically involves me liaising with multiple authors, the reviewer, freelance editor and designer, dealing with all the permissions and keeping everything on budget and to schedule.

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May 2016 Q&A: Paul Bugeja and Sally Holdsworth

This is a double-handed Q&A from two of our communication committee members; one is working in the industry and the other is hoping to enter!

Paul Bugeja is an editor, content manager and digital disruptor working both as a freelancer and for Arts Centre Melbourne. Sally Holdsworth is a student in RMIT’s Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing; she combines study with freelance and contract work.

How has your month been?

Paul: Great! A little hectic as I’m on the move living-wise, so juggling that around work and study is fun. I have just started working for Channel 9 on Hot Seat Millionaire in the Question department as a verifier (read: editor/researcher), #bestgeekjobever, which I’m loving. Also been head down to knock off an assignment on contempt and defamation for my Media Law and Ethics class as part of my MA Publishing and Communications at the University of Melbourne.

Sally: I’m studying part-time and right now there are assessments falling due, so most students are juggling many balls! One of the units I’m really enjoying is Advanced Editing: we are currently working on a collaborative project with RMIT’s photography students, who are each creating a photo book on their chosen subject. Editing students are each paired with a photography student to work on the writing and editing aspects of the books. There are some incredibly interesting people and topics being addressed photographically. While the photos have the starring role, the task of the editor is to ensure that the small number of carefully selected words complement the images and add impact to the photo story. For the editing students, it’s a real-time opportunity to work on copyediting, structural editing and proofreading. We’re all looking forward to seeing the finished books.

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April 2016 Q&A: Julia Carlomagno

Julia Carlomagno is the senior editor at Scribe Publications, where she edits non-fiction and literary fiction. She has worked in publishing for a decade and has an editor’s fondness for a woollen cardigan.

How has your month been?

It’s been an exciting month at my publishing house, Scribe. We’ve seen Peggy Frew’s terrific Hope Farm shortlisted for the Stella Prize, and Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s debut novel, Tram 83, win the Etisalat Prize for Literature and be longlisted for the Man Booker International. The prose in Tram 83 is infused with the rhythms of jazz, and it’s really something special.

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March 2016 Q&A: Susan Pierotti

Susan Pierotti is a freelance editor who has been working full-time for about three years. Her preferred editing work is with authors and their books, but she will happily edit anything that needs it. She has been known to stand on chairs in restaurants to rub out extraneous apostrophes on chalkboard menus.

How has your month been?

I have been working with some business people on producing their books. One is a novel for teenage girls. My friend, the author, was warned that I would be ruthless with her story. She is now rewriting it. (Yes, I left her in one piece.) I’m looking forward to the result. The other is a ‘what I didn’t know about being a sole trader before I started my own business’ book. I’ve just got the first notes and will be meeting with the author this week, who has warned me that it will be a long-term project.

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February 2016 Q&A: Craig Munro

Craig Munro is an award-winning biographer and editor. He was the inaugural fiction editor, and later publishing manager, at the University of Queensland Press. He tells of his editing adventures, with many of Australia’s best writers, in his new memoir Under Cover (Scribe), reviewed here by Susan Pierotti.

What has been your biggest editing challenge to date, and why?

A decade ago I co-edited Paper Empires: A History of the Book in Australia 1946–2005 with Robyn Sheahan-Bright, and also wrote a couple of chapters. After assembling our draft manuscript, we realised it was 50,000 words over-length. As there were more than 60 contributors, one solution was to simply delete whole sections. Instead, I wielded my blue pencil through everything, reducing some contributions by up to 50 per cent. This took many weeks of patient editing to condense and tighten the text. The University of Queensland Press then conspired, along with their experienced editor Felicity McKenzie and freelance indexer Kerry Biram, to publish Paper Empires as both a beautiful, well-bound hardback and as a sewn-section paperback.

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Interview with Co-founder of ebookedit Nicola O'Shea (February 2014)

The widely publicised digital self-publishing boom has opened up opportunities not only for authors but also for freelance editors, as self-publishers are often looking to pay for editorial services. This January, long-time Australian freelancer Nicola O'Shea and digital publishing expert Keith Stevenson launched ebookedit, 'the complete professional editing and book formatting and file conversion service'. Nicola speaks to Editors Victoria about running this new kind of editing business.

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