Last night whitefox held the first of our workshops for students and grads looking to get into publishing, with attendees enjoying some frank, engaging and (most importantly) useful discussion on all things editorial from our speakers.
From the considerations that come into play when deciding whether a book should get published on a list to the things that build a good author-editor relationship, we covered a lot of ground on the role of editors in modern publishing houses. There were some surprises: we heard how unscientific the whole process can be; how little time editors actually spend editing; and how spreadsheets and even the Tesco’s website can be indispensable allies. Most importantly we received some great advice on how to get a foothold into the industry. Tips included reading voraciously, making yourself indispensable, doing your research, being tech savvy, emailing extensively, and, err, staying out late.
A massive thanks to all our speakers and helpers on the night, and most of all to those who attended, whose enthusiasm and interest ensured the night was a success. And for all those that couldn’t make it along, we are happy to say that we will be releasing a video of the event in the next week (barring technical difficulties), and also have an introduction to editing pack which is available for you to peruse here.
About the speakers
Robin Harvie is senior commissioning editor and digital publisher at independent publisher Aurum Press. Previously, he was non-fiction commissioning editor and digital editor at 4th Estate. He is also the author of Why We Run.
Mark Richards started as an editorial assistant at 4th Estate in 2007, where he stayed until two months ago. He is now an editorial director at John Murray, commissioning literary fiction and non-fiction.
Hannah Westland is the publisher at Serpent’s Tail, now an imprint of independent publisher Profile Books. Renowned for publishing voices neglected by the mainstream, Serpent’s Tail has a reputation for publishing the best of all kinds of writing, from literary novels to crime fiction, from work in translation to books on music and politics. Before joining Serpent’s Tail in 2012, Hannah was an agent at Rogers, Coleridge & White, where she represented a diverse range of writers of fiction and non-fiction.
Tom Williams is an author and literary agent. His biography of Raymond Chandler, A Mysterious Something in the Light, was published by Aurum Press. He also runs the Williams Agency, representing authors of fiction and non-fiction, and is actively involved in a range of digital projects for his clients.
Ione Walder is an editor at independent publisher Quercus, where she commissions and project-manages illustrated non-fiction, including cookbooks, TV tie-ins and celebrity memoirs. She previously spent four years at HarperCollins and two years as a freelance cookery editor, and has worked with some of the top names in cookery publishing, from Gordon Ramsay, James Martin and Lorraine Pascale, to Rachel Allen, Allegra McEvedy and the Hummingbird Bakery. Other high-profile authors and projects include inspirational burns survivor Katie Piper, style guru Gok Wan, two illustrated biographies from band JLS, and the tie-in to the BBC’s groundbreaking Africa series presented by Sir David Attenborough.