I am immense.
A ripened fruit.
My skin stretched taunt,
Falling from the tree,
fragile stem snapping.
juicy skin bursting.
My flesh split open,
bruised and exposed
for all the world to see.
Kelly Robinson has worked in the publishing industry for nine years. Seven of those were spent in-house working as both an Educational and Trade editor. She tells of how she found the position too “managerial” and not stimulating enough. Seeking to break into trade editing Ms. Robinson made the liberating move to freelance editing. I caught up with her to discuss the changes she believes imperative to the publishing industry in light of her vast and personal experiences in the business.
Q). What sort of Editing are you currently doing?
A). Mainly educational, in “second stage” so texts and online resources for secondary and primary schools. The Trade stuff I’ve done was adult fiction. I started out editing mainly secondary school texts books but I have (recently) done more primary.
Q). Can you name any of the work you’ve done?
A). Mainly series. My specialty, I suppose, is psychology and I’ve done quite a lot of psych because I have a strong background with that, having studied it at uni, so I know the subject it follows, being able to edit that more thoroughly than someone without subject experience. I’ve done some of the MacMillan VCE Psychology series in-house and as a freelancer. I’ve worked on MCM Math series for Neilson when I was working in house and Neilson Psychology series. Lots of Business Education books for Neilson. There has been so much and working in-house I would have 10 or more projects on the go at once but those are the major ones that I’ve worked on.
Q). Is educational editing more technical? Are you required to check the facts?
A). Sometimes, yes. The broad humanities subjects such as English, History and Business Management require some level of editing in that area but subjects such as Mathematics, Science and Psychology less so. Most people, in my experience, want to get an editor who knows the subject well though. You don’t always have to know the subject but it pays too. Ultimately, the publishers always say the responsibility for getting the facts right lies with the authors. There are very few specialist editors. That’s why there is usually an editor checker for that, especially at second or third stages, when its proof read it is also checked for accuracy.
Q). What sort of work do you do on a typical daily basis?
A). As a freelancer I work on whatever project I have got going (at the time). It could be several things at once and it changes depending on what stage. At the beginning of the project obviously you’re just familiarizing yourself with it, doing the first edit, sorting out the author criteria, which actually takes a very long time. Then there is the artistic side- getting the artwork together and working on the layout. In educational editing there is a huge artwork component. All of that takes five or six weeks. And, of course, in between there is handling all the admin work. As a business owner it is difficult to juggle that side of things. Once a freelance editor has looked at it will usually go in-house for typesetting and then the freelancer’s checks it again before it goes back in-house and remains there. A proofreader will usually check it at second stages. There is an awful lot of communication going on between the freelancer, the in-house people and the author. The role of an in-house editor is more of a project management role where you have editorial input and you cast an editorial eye over everything but you’re not actually doing the hands on editing. It’s mainly liaising with the people, the designers, authors, and publishers and coordinating the whole process.
Q). How does educational editing differ from trade?
A). It is quite different because of all the different elements in educational. My experience with trade is working on novels with a manuscript, which obviously takes a lot of work to get knocked into shape, but then that’s it. It’s just typeset after that, as it’s just a novel. Whereas with Education there is lots of different features. There isn’t just text but the layout and artwork. Also making sure the contents of every chapter corresponds with the syllabus. With educational one of the biggest differences is that there is a right answer and a wrong answer. A right way to explain things and a wrong way. With Educational you can intervene more and even re-write it but with trade you can’t because you don’t want to intrude on the author’s style. In trade publishing you need to be a lot more diplomatic when you’re dealing with an author’s manuscript, because there work is there babies and they get very touchy about things. Although in my experience a lot of educational authors are very similar. However because it’s factual you can make a better case for changing something than you can with trade. Each has their own pros and cons.
Q). What was it like as an in-house editor and how did it differ to freelancing?
A). It is very different as my in house role was more project management. In house is a lot of project management and liaison with in-house people. As a freelancer I am one step removed from that. As a freelancer it is also a lot more hands on with the authors than in-house. In-house it is usually the publisher that communicates with the author. But having said that, it does depend on the publisher that you’re working for.
Q). Why and how did you make the move to freelancing?
A). Mainly I had worked for seven and half years in house and I wanted some independence and wanted to have ninety percent of my time doing the editing side of it. I was sick of project management and I was sick of dealing with crazy, in-house personalities. All of those things plus the appeal of being able to make my own time, and being in charge of my own time. The freedom of being able to do this. However it is scary having no guaranteed income or no pay leave.
Q) Has it been successful?
A). So far yes! I can pay my mortgage (laughs) to be honest you don’t make that much money. It’s actually not a very well paid industry unless you do government editing. It is important to budget well. If I charge for x amount of hours and it ends up taking double that time it isn’t good but sometimes it levels out if I take twice as long on another job. However if it takes much longer on a job the publishers don’t pay for that overtime.
Q). Would you say the introduction of e-books and sites such as amazon will have a positive outcome for the publishing industry. If so, why?
A). I think the whole e-book thing it is difficult to know how it’s going to turn out at the moment as a lot of publishers don’t know where to go with it at the moment. They don’t have a clear model for how it’s going to work; especially with copy write issues and things like that. I think a lot of Australian publishers are trying to work out a model for how to deal with e-books which is why when people use e-books they order there stuff from amazon. I think if a clear model were worked out it would be really good for it. If a system were worked out it would supplement the industry rather than kill it. There is something about books, about being able to hold them and take them around with you. Being able to interact with an actual book is so much different. I believe there is something about books that will always stick around. In Education it is different as it could really boost the industry and make it a lot more interactive. For example having textbooks linked up with online quizzes and more interactive methods of learning. A lot of people turn to amazon as they think books are overpriced in Australia but they have to consider that we have a large country and a small population and that causes freight costs to be higher. That’s why the books are priced higher but most people don’t consider the distribution charges. I don’t think the independent bookstore will ever go out of fashion just because they’re local and the people who work there really know there stuff, unlike at Dymocks and Borders who have underage teenagers in store and very rarely even stock the text I’m after.
Q). Do you feel that self-publishing effects editing at all?
A). Yeah, a lot of people who self-publish don’t get their stuff edited, as you would know. Besides form the fact it does us out of a job it is interesting. In one way it shows how beneficial editing is as you can tell by the quality that editors are valuable. I have actually done some work with a self-published author but there was a bit of difficult with payment method. I think there should be some sort of place made for self-publishers to get their stuff edited. And a lot of publishers don’t want to look at trade work that hasn’t already been edited, or in really good shape….I think some agents actually do that to a certain extent. They make recommendations but the authors generally have to fix it themselves.
Q). How did you get involved in the publishing industry? What are your recommendations?
A). Through a university degree and internships. I recommend doing internships and reading industry magazines. Anything that gets your work out there really. Try and make contacts early. I didn’t do any of this as a student but I think it would be good to start contacting publishers, especially trade wise. Start reviewing books for magazines or anything you can get involved with.
Q). What was your goal?
A). I really wanted to be a trade editor however I found it hard to get into it as in-house it can be quite “clique-ey”. Once I was labeled as educational no one considers you for trade anymore. That is partly why I made the move to freelancing.
After the interview Ms. Robinson continued to chat about the industry, suggesting that writing and publishing students get involved in the industry as early as possible, particularly if keen on trade editing. Ms. Robinson’s positive outlook on the future of the publishing industry was enlightening. Perhaps everyone should be more inclined to look at the introduction of e-books as an asset rather than a threat. It certainly seems that whether it is in-house, freelance, e-book or bookstore, the publishing industry is, and will continue, thriving.
My 10 Pet Peeves (this is not a complete list).
Hope walked slowly, her pale eyes looking beyond all the faces that zoomed by in a blur. In this moment nothing mattered besides the polished wood, glinting beautifully in the buttery yellow morning light. Nothing mattered besides the deep hole gaping open underneath where the coffin sat, suspended in the air by rope. She raised her hand to her chest, taking deep breaths. Her mouth twisted into a thin line, her face paling as, in her mind, she gazed through the wood and looked on the body of her baby.
“Had you lived we would have loved you and we loved you anyway, loved you as you kicked and wiggled, loved the sound of your heartbeat. We loved the way you rolled away from the ultrasound, hiding your beautiful face. We loved holding you for those precious few seconds. We will love you always, even from this distance”.
The speeches went on and on, washing steadily over Hope. She heard none of it, never taking her eyes from the coffin. Her mind was far away, reliving the birth. Hope winced as she recalls the pain as she pushed and then, worse, the deadly silence that followed. Her tiny baby lay blue and lifeless in the doctor’s arms. For that fraction of a second the world spun to a stop. It seemed to go on for a lifetime but within a moment they had her baby across the room, hooked up to alien machines. Hope remembered being shown them when, at thirty six weeks, she and her birthing class were taken on a tour of the maternity ward. She had hardly listened when they had described the machines, their names and what they were for. Like the others Hope had been too full of joy, exclaiming over the size of the rooms, laughing warily at the gas and air pumps beside the bed and the other one next to the bath.
“I’m going to be needing that” she remembered joking.
But Hope had not once considered the machines, or even imagined for a second her baby would be hooked up to them. But he was, and then wheeled away from her. Within the hour the doctor returned. His face was drawn and white, the lines around his eyes deep and sorrowful.
“I’m sorry” he said. He said other things too, explanations, said the midwives would see her about the birth certificate, offered to have him bought in so they could hold him, for the first and last time. It broke her completely, gazing down at his tiny face. Hope stroked his soft skin, ran her finger tips over the closed eyes. He looked just like he was sleeping with his eyes scrunched shut like that. She smiled as she lifted his miniature fists and kissed them. They wrapped him in a soft blue blanket and as she cradled him in her arms they took photos. She smiled at the camera even as the tears spilled down her cheeks. Hope kissed his face, his hands, and his feet and cried so hard it hurt as they took him away.
- © Mikki
We all know being a teenager can be a pretty crazy time so in this post I would like to showcase some young teen poetry. The author is fifteen and I’d say it expresses what a lot of young teenagers feel at some point- some choose to express it in different ways and I think those that express it artistically (song, dance, writing or painting) are on the right track!
“She’s Just a Teen”
Tears bottled up
she’s going to explode.
Trying not to let them fall,
or let emotion show.
Full of anger and sadness,
it’s tearing her apart.
She tries not to show it,
but it’s killing her heart.
She’s hurting inside..
there’s no one to talk to.
They say “oh she’s just a teen”,
but they don’t know what she’s going through.
She tries to explain,
but they just don’t understand
tears in her eyes
on the pillow they land
She goes to bed crying
and wakes up to a whole new day,
hoping it will be better,
but finds out it’s all still the same.
Okay, I know, I’m incredibly late posting BUT in my defence I had some hardcore procrastinating to attend to.
This Easter I went home to vissit my family. They live on a farm in “The Middle of Nowhere” or, if you insist on knowing the official name, North Betebelong. It’s a beautiful piece of country and I feel blessed every time I go back there. I am grateful I grew up in such a place- doing so has certainly taught me some interesting life lessons.
On Easter Sunday my mum insisted on giving Olivia her first ever Easter chocolate which, unsurprisingly, she loved.
And then we went to the Buchan Rodeo during which my mum, a hobby photographer, took some amazing shots.
Families are supposed to love, support and generally care for one another. I am slowly beginning to realise how very lucky I have been to grown up with this idea- it’s a sign that I had a fairly good, happy family life. However not everyone is so lucky. Some people have truly atrocious families. Today I think I visited one of the saddest ever sections of a court: The Family Violence Court. A place full of sobbing mothers, wives, girlfriends and broken families. A place full of fear and guilt. Of alcoholics and abusive people. It seems to me the hardest and most terrible thing that could happen in life is to have such a broken family. To suffer such abuse. As a mother, I applaud all those who stand up for their rights, and the rights of their children. I am also quite proud of the legal system. It is not as bad as people tend to think. In Australia we really are lucky their are teams of people out there who do care and are there to help when you need them.
Random Weekly Tips:
1. Eating a bag full of marshmallows is not advisable
2. I recommend buying a good quality umbrella instead of cheap K-Mart ones the break and blow inside out the moment you try to use them.
3. Don’t touch the bottom of a pot that has just come off the stove.
4. Floss! (As in brush, rinse and floss!)
I could start a campaign right now actually. It could be like Slip, Slop, Slap! Only about dental hygiene instead of being sun smart. I could even make up some of those ridiculous ads that no one pays attention to, and be sponsored to promote Colgate. Or maybe not.
5. Don’t read blogs that are about blogging because they are ridiculously boring.
And now for some DO’S!
6. Go to “Crunch” for breakfast.
If you like organic food I seriously recommend Crunch, a small café on Thornbury, High St. It doesn’t matter if you can be bothered going out in the morning or not as the breakfast menu is available until 2:30 (just for lazy or hung over people!). Here is a photo:
P.S The coffee is gooood…
And as I feel as if I’m failing as blogger here is a little deep and meaningful something so here is a really cool saying:
“Mortuí vivós docent. The dead teach the living”.
You know what really annoys me? My complete lack of co-ordination.
A lot of people say, “Oh, I’m so clumsy!” when they accidentally trip over something or when they drop a pen.
That is NOT clumsy. That is normal.
Here is an example of genuine clumsiness. Last Wednesday I walked into a letterbox. Last Tuesday I tripped up a step and broke my sandals. I had to sticky tape them back together (because I can hardly walk home with only one shoe, can I?) and then when I was walking to pick up my daughter, the sticky tape came off leaving me having to then walk around with only one shoe on anyway. Also, whilst trying to open up her pram, that I have had for about a year now, I could not do it and had to get the childcare receptionist to do it for me. Today I tripped over three times on the way to Uni, on one of those occasions sending a pile of small rocks flying into some other students.
I am a truly gifted at dropping, tripping and breaking things.
I once tripped over whilst holding my friends iPod. Although I was at least three metres away from the toilets, nevertheless it went sailing through the air and landed with a plop! directly in the toilet.
See? It takes real talent to make as many mistakes as I do.
When I was ten I dropped a butcher knife on my toe, and accidentally cut my sister’s heel with hedge clippers.
The only thing that gives me comfort is that talent like mine will not die out when I do. My daughter has inherited it.
She tripped over the other day and now has a little bruised eye. She also throws things off the bed and eats nappy rash cream, crying when she realises the taste is not so great.
So to all you lucky normal people out there. Until you almost kill yourself by tripping on the sidewalk and send yourself plummeting onto a busy highway you are not really that clumsy.
Have a lovely (and safe) day. :)
Today’s post is going to be simple and straight to the point. The title of “The Best Ever Poem” goes to Andrew Marvel’s “To His Coy Mistress”.
I would like to add this poem and others by Andrew Marvel, to my recommended reading list.
Here is an example of the greatness that is Andrew Marvel.
To His Coy Mistress
Had we but World enough, and Time,
This coyness Lady were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long Loves Day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges side
Should’st Rubies find: I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood:
And you should if you please refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than Empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should grow to praise
Thine Eyes, and on thy Forehead Gaze.
Two hundred to adore each Breast:
But thirty thousand to the rest.
An Age at least to every part,
And the last Age should show your Heart.
For Lady you deserve this State;
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I alwaies hear
Times winged Charriot hurrying near:
And yonder all before us lye
Desarts of vast Eternity.
Thy Beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble Vault, shall sound
My echoing Song: then Worms shall try
That long preserv’d Virginity:
And you quaint Honour turns to dust;
And into ashes all my Lust.
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hew
Sits on thy skin like morning [dew],
And while thy willing Soul transpires
At every pore with instant Fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am’rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our Time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapt pow’r.
Let us roll all our Strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one Ball:
And tear our Pleasures with rough strife,
Through the Iron gates of Life.
Thus, though we cannot make our Sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
Andrew Marvel- 1621-1628