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A Day in the Life Of… an Editorial Assistant

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Hi everyone! I’m Katie, the editorial assistant here at Trigger. Here’s a very special insight into what I do for a living… Katie

 

  1. Give us a brief overview of your job details. 

    I do a lot of copyediting, structural and developmental edits, and proofreading. I’m the gatekeeper for submissions – only the good ones get past me! I do market research to see what the mental health community is currently loving in terms of blog content, book topics etc. I also have a little nose around to see who I can potentially commission to write for us, be this blogs or books – I’m in charge of the blogs, including editing them before uploading. I’m the work experience coordinator. I’m also the office’s equivalent of Robin Scherbatsky in the episode at Marvin Sr’s funeral where she can get anything for anyone out of her bag. I’m sure I can think of more, but that’s it for now!

 

  1. Why did you choose that role/how did you get into it? 

    I was actually a languages student – I did BA French and Spanish at Hull, and an MA in Literary Translation at UEA (basically translating French fiction into English). While doing my MA, I realised that what I actually loved about translation wasn’t the simple A-B, word-for-word procedure of finding out what the French words meant, but the next step of the process; it’s not just finding out what a sentence means in English, but about making it sound good in English. And that’s copyediting! That came as no surprise to me; even as a primary school pupil, I was often to be found hovering over my dad’s shoulder at the computer, correcting his emails (sorry, Dad…).So, I kept working in my summer job as a waitress while I tried to get experience in admin and publishing, and was incredibly lucky to land work experience in the children’s editorial department (Puffin) at Penguin Random House. And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

  1. Give us a brief description of your typical day. 

    I start my day by writing my to-do list. I spend the first twenty minutes catching up on emails so that I can make sure that my list is up to date for the day – although it does tend to grow! If we have a team meeting, I’ll be taking notes and minutes to make sure I’m up to date with what’s cracking off in the office that week. Following on from that, my day is pretty much a mélange of my job tasks – proofreading marketing content, copyediting blog posts, helping out the editorial team with their edits etc. My day will also include at least three trips to the coffee machine – I need my espresso!

 

  1. What are your favourite aspects of your job? Why? 

    I love, love, love copyediting! I find the act of improving a sentence with a couple of edits to be extremely satisfying – it’s a bit like popping bubble wrap for me, or peeling the plastic off a new phone (‘Get a room, Katie!’ I hear you cry). I love the fact that I’m helping push such important, powerful voices onto a global platform. Everyone we publish has an incredible story to share, and it’s great to be able to facilitate that.

 

  1. If you dare, your least favourite parts (the coffee run doesn’t count!) 

    The fact that the office is up several billion stairs (note to self, go to the gym more often!). Also, rejections are very tough decisions to make, and not something to be taken lightly.

 

  1. Is there anything you’d love to edit/pitch/design/commission/etc? What would your perfect project be? Why? 

    I’d love to edit some YA fantasy with mental health themes. It would be diverse, full of lines to keep you hooked, and would not fall foul of the classic YA love triangle, therefore combining everything I love in a book. Honestly, my dream.

 

  1. Advice for people looking to get into that role/ publishing in general. 

    Don’t give up. Publishing is incredibly competitive, editorial even more so, and it can be very easy to feel disheartened when it feels like you’re stagnating. It’s even harder if you’re outside London and can’t afford to do work experience in the bigger publishing houses down there – but remember, there are indies all over the country! We’re in Nottinghamshire along with Angry Robot, there’s And Other Stories in Sheffield, Comma Press in Manchester – there are so many dotted around, and they’ll be more than happy to offer publishing experience. You’ll get there!

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