What is your specialism within book publishing?
I specialise in creative writing and developmental editing.
Can you describe what you do in 10 words or fewer?
I am a creative writer, editor and voice over artist.
What led you to go freelance?
I’ve been freelancing for over a decade now; at first, part-time and then full-time. I had to quit my job and move back home due to a family emergency 6 years ago. At that time, I decided to take this on full-time since I had ongoing clients already. I continued in this role primarily for the independence that it provides to take up the kind of work I enjoy, to hire a credible team who is as passionate about the work as I am, and to work on my own terms.
Do you work primarily for publishing companies or independent authors or a mix?
I work with both, publishing agencies and independent writers.
What’s the best part of doing what you do?
The best part of this work is the constant challenge to be creative all day long. It is tedious during those hours when you feel the least creative and the most unintelligent, but it is rewarding at the end when your words are read and appreciated. It gives you quite a boost!
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your freelance journey?
I wish I had known that this is a 24-hour job. You're always working. And that's fine as long as you enjoy what you do, but when clients expect you to deliver and be available at any time of the day, it is quite a struggle to draw the line and set boundaries. It is also hard to take a break or go on a holiday because the competition in this business is so much that once you start turning down clients or switching deadlines for your personal commitments, they’ll eventually begin to look for someone else, if not right away. So it is important to carve out a niche in this industry over and above providing quality work, so that you're not easily replaceable and you can also manage to have your own life.
How many books are in your TBR (to be read) pile/list? And do you plan to read them all eventually?
I'm currently reading 5 books, all of different genres. Once I’m done with those, I have a 25-book pile that I'll dig into. These, I certainly plan on finishing soon. And other than that, there are hundreds more on the ‘Want to read’ list, all of which I may or may not get to. This list keeps changing as my interests and priorities change.
Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?
I tend to lean more towards physical books, because I love to annotate some books using index cards and my books are filled with marginalia. And of course, the smell of books. But the minimalist in me does like ebooks for the portability, cheaper pricing and lesser amount of clutter. So I try to strike a balance by reading fiction in physical books and nonfiction in ebooks. I’m also beginning to like audiobooks actually.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in publishing?
I’d say, be extremely certain of your choice before you take the plunge. If there’s anything else you’d rather be doing, do it. If not, then this industry is for you. I say this because such a job requires immense amounts of patience, hard work, and often, several years of little to no money coming in until you have your breakthrough. Also, the competition in producing any kind of content is so high now, with digital media, that you’d really need to be good at what you do in order to make it. So passion alone is not going to see you through this. You’d need to be creative, persistent, and fiercely productive. The publishing industry seems mysterious and glamorous from far away and people are often misled by it. So this is not to scare off anyone hoping to make a career in publishing, but to let this be a reality check. And if you do this right, the rewards are totally worth all your troubles.
What is your favourite children’s book and your favourite adult’s book?
That’s a tough one! Okay, my favourite children’s books would have to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Jack and the Beanstalk (sorry, couldn’t pick one!). And favourite adult’s book is Beloved by Toni Morrison.