Joe Rhatigan – Editor and Writer

What is your specialism within book publishing? 

I am a nonfiction generalist when it comes to adult titles. I work a lot in children’s nonfiction, graphic novels, chapter books, and picture books.


Can you describe what you do in 10 words or fewer?

I polish until your book shines.  

What led you to go freelance? 

I had a great publishing job in North Carolina, but when that company went away, there weren’t any others in town. So at first it was a matter of necessity.


Do you work primarily for publishing companies or independent authors or a mix? 

I work primarily for book publishers. It’s the world I know … but I do enjoy helping authors out when I can.


What’s the best part of doing what you do?

The view from my home-office window.


What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started your freelance journey? 

About a year ago or so, money was really tight so I didn’t pay to renew my website domain name. That was a bad idea. Not only do I have my website listed on business cards, but now if you go to you can learn how to care for your skin, as long as you speak Korean.  


How many books are in your TBR (to be read) pile/list? And do you plan to read them all eventually? 

Zero. Piles of books create too much dust … and pressure. I like to bump into books unexpectedly. I have learned to trust that the book I need to read is always there waiting for me.


Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?

Having a book (or many) on my phone gives me the freedom to read anywhere: on line at the store, in the car while waiting for my kid to get out of school … The problem for me when reading on a device is that I never remember the title of the book because I never see the cover.


Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in publishing? 

If you love writing, don’t go into publishing. Write. If you love telling other people how to make their creative work better, consider publishing.


What is your favourite children’s book and your favourite adult’s book? 

My favorite adult book is probably ‘The Razor’s Edge’ by W. Somerset Maugham. ‘The Book Thief’ is my favorite ya novel. My favorite actual kid’s book is probably ‘Is There a Mouse in the Baby’s Room?’ by Elizabeth Zechel. My old imprint published it way back in 2008, and it’s just such a wacky book that either cracks you up or makes you angry you bought it.  
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