onsdag 30. mars 2016

Editor Spotlight: Clare Diston @ Human Voices Editorial Services

In the book-ish world we are often reading interviews with authors, sometimes with illustrators/cover artists and only once, I saw an interview with a reader. I am yet to see one with an editor.

http://humanvoices.co.uk/While the author creates the story, the editor polishes that raw material, making it presentable for the readers, making it structured. In other words, the work of an editor may be as important as the author, but too often readers and media don't think about it.

Tragic Books owes a great deal of respect and admiration for the work of Clare Diston @ Human Voices Editorial Services, our editor! TB invites you to read the interview and get to know more about what she does and her ideas.

1 How did you become a book editor? Is it something you always wanted to work with or did it take you by surprise?

I’ve always been obsessed with books, and I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t particularly think about being an editor when I was a child – I just knew I wanted to do something to do with books and words. At university I did an English degree and a Creative Writing Masters, and then I did some courses on editing and proofing, and got a job as a marketing copywriter. It was in the last few years that I started to think, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could spend my days doing a bit of editing, a bit of writing, a bit of proofreading? Hey, actually … why don’t I do that?” So I left my job and became a freelancer and now it’s just words, words, words every day. I love it!

2 What is the most and least fun about your work? And what’s the most challenging aspect of your profession?

The most fun thing is the variety. One day I’ll sit down and write an article about the therapeutic benefits of knitting, the next day I’ll edit a murder mystery or a science-fiction novel. That’s also the most challenging aspect – you have to be disciplined with your time and make sure you prioritise projects correctly, so that nothing gets less than your full attention.

The least fun thing is the tax return at the end of the year. I’m sure it’s the bane of most freelancers’ lives. Some of the questions on tax return forms are so complicated, even a professional editor can’t make sense of them!

3 Which genres do you love the most, both as reader and editor?

As a reader I love literary fiction, magical realism, sci-fi and fantasy, and I adore short stories. For editing, I love encountering books that I might not otherwise have come across. In fact, editing has really broadened my reading horizons – I read more sci-fi now than I used to because I have edited some, and I really enjoy editing murder mysteries, which I don’t read so often for pleasure.

4 Who are your favourite authors or stories?

I’m a huge fan of Japanese writers. There’s Haruki Murakami, of course, but allow me to take a moment to bang the Yoko Ogawa drum – I came across her a couple of years ago and she’s one of my favourites. I can’t get enough of Ali Smith and Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Toni Morrison and Isaac Asimov. I also love David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Hugh Howey’s Wool and Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things.

5 What is your opinion about the self-publishing/indie market today?

I think it’s fantastic that the self-publishing market is flourishing as much as it is. Most of the writers I work with are self-published rather than traditionally published, and I think it’s great that there are now so many ways for authors to get their books out there, to readers. I think the stigma around self-publishing is fading (especially as huge, popular successes have started coming out of the indie publishing industry) and I’m all for anything that brings more books into the world.

6 Apart from editing manuscripts, which other services do you offer at Human Voices?

I also proofread (that’s checking for spelling, grammar, etc) – I do that for books, short stories, poetry, essays, articles, blog posts. I copywrite as well – blogs for businesses, copy for websites. And I have also done some ghostwriting of articles for magazines. Basically, if you need words, I’m your girl.

7 If you could give 3 quick tips for the authors out there to prepare their manuscripts for the editing process, which would they be?

1. Make sure you ask for the right service first. If you have a very rough draft and just need some general feedback, get a manuscript review or some beta reader feedback first. You don’t want to pay for in-depth, thorough edit and then have to do it again once you’ve rewritten the entire book.

2. Know what you want. One writer might want American English so they can pitch their books to an American audience. Another may need an editor to focus on tightening up dialogue, or improving scene-setting. If you have something in particular you want your editor to look at, make sure you let them know.

3. Get an accurate word count. Many editors (like me) base their fees on word count, so having an exact word count is really important. And don’t forget to include all the front and end matter: prologues, dedications, even contents pages and blurbs.

Visit: humanvoices.co.uk - Clare works with indie and established authors and students.
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Clare's Quick BIO: Clare Diston is a passionate bookworm and word-lover, and she is lucky enough to work as a freelance editor and proofreader at her business, Human Voices Editorial Services. She writes and edits fiction and non-fiction books, essays and articles, and works with native and non-native English speakers. She also reads fifty books every year and blogs about them at www.50ayear.com