What is your specialism within book publishing?
Writing text for activity/novelty/annuals for children’s branded properties (eg: TV, Film, Lego, Superheroes).
Can you describe what you do in 10 words or fewer?
I turn my ideas into exciting text for children’s books.
What led you to go freelance?
I was working as an editor for BBC Children’s Books at Penguin Books when I got made redundant. I decided to use an unhappy situation and turn it into a positive outcome, so I set myself up at home as a freelance writer and editor. Although it is hard work always having to find new clients, it is very rewarding work, and I have established myself within the publishing world.
Do you work primarily for publishing companies or independent authors or a mix?
I work mostly for publishing companies – mainly as a writer, and sometimes as an editor or proofreader, or fact researcher.
What’s the best part of doing what you do?
The best part of doing what I do is being able to write on a wide range of subjects within the children’s book world because I am not tied to just one publisher or brand. And I love the flexible working hours, which I can fit around family life, and not having to deal with office politics!
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your freelance journey?
That it isn’t as scary jumping out of your comfort zone once you start doing it! As a freelancer you have to take lots of chances, and work with people you don’t know.
How many books are in your TBR (to be read) pile/list? And do you plan to read them all eventually?
I don’t really have a TBR list – I’m much more of a ‘see a book and buy it’ type of person, although I do have some favourite crime thriller authors, and as soon as they bring out a new book (in paperback – I hate lugging hardback books around) I have to read it. Also, if a friend recommends something, I usually try and read it.
Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?
I prefer physical books. I love the feel of a book in my hands and the fact that I can take one anywhere without having to worry about a device being charged up or not. Also, because I spend all my working days on the computer, I like to have a break from electronic devices in my leisure time.
Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in publishing?
I would say if you love books, and the power of the written word and image, then publishing is a great career to take a chance on. It might not make you wealthy (unless you sell that bestselling novel of course!) but it is interesting and very rewarding and you get to work with and meet lots of fascinating people.
What is your favourite children’s book and your favourite adult’s book?
One of my favourite children’s books is not from my own childhood, but from reading to my daughter, and it is The Gruffalo (Donaldson and Scheffler). I just think it is such a clever and entertaining story and the words and images work brilliantly together. I don’t really have a favourite adult’s book – I like to read lots of different things, although I am addicted to crime thrillers (Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Mark Billingham, Angela Marsons).
Contact Claire via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or connect with her on LinkedIn.