Ask the Editor!
Updated: Apr 17
I have been very fortunate this year to work with a wonderful editor.
Aimee Walker has been so supportive with my writing and has taken great care with my books, giving me direction and feedback, plus checking everything is shipshape for publishing!
How did you get into the editing business?
I always wanted to work in publishing – I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember – but when I graduated back in 2004 it wasn’t a realistic career option in Belfast. Instead, I worked in special education and counselling. It wasn’t until much later, when I had to take a sabbatical to care for my son who was ill, that I decided to revisit my dream. Working freelance allows me the flexibility to continue to care for my son and my other children. I started a distance learning course in proofreading, quickly followed by another in developmental editing. I joined the CIEP and EPANI (professional associations) and read and read and read some more.
To start with I worked for free. I did voluntary editing for some family members, charities and beta reads for aspiring authors. Eventually, I got some (low) paid work for an American publisher which was a great learning experience. The main change came when I decided to specialise in my favourite genres: romance and women’s fiction and decided to offer coaching. I have been very lucky to build a loyal client base and get a lot of work through word of mouth.
The main thing to understand is that editing is a specialist job and requires qualifications, experience and CPD like any other – loving books isn’t enough, but it’s a good start!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I absolutely love collaborating with new authors; by the end of the process we usually both feel a massive sense of achievement. Having published books sent to me also never gets old!
What’s one quick tip you would you give to aspiring writers and first-time authors?
Just write. Get your first draft on the page. Once you’ve done that, you’ll feel more confident and better able to edit and polish. The first draft is for no one but you to read, so you can make as many mistakes and leave as many details and scenes out as you need to get it finished.
What type of characters do you like to read in novels?
Strong, independent funny women. Plenty of diversity (in every sense) – for example, some of the best characters I’ve read recently have been neurodiverse or disabled, but we need more!
Thanks to Aimee for answering these questions!
If you would like to know more about Aimee and her work, you can find her here.