What Does An Editor Do?

Meet Our Editor

Belinda Collins, Chief Editor at SisterShip Press, reveals her Editing Ethos

What makes a book enjoyable to read?

Do you like strong, vibrant characters? Do you take pleasure in immersing yourself in a time or place? Do you look for a good a story line that carries you along? If you have found these things in the books you enjoy, there is a good chance that the author has worked with an editor.

I’m Belinda Collins and I’m the Chief Editor with SisterShip Press. That means that I work with SisterShip authors to help them to produce the best work they can. Writing any kind of book is a huge undertaking that requires vision, planning and attention to detail.

“I am an author’s critical friend.”

It is difficult to bring it all together and to deliver it to an audience. I am an author’s critical friend and an advocate for the reader, so that the author’s vision is realised and the reader has the best reading experience we can provide.

Editing Processes

There are two stages to the editing process. Structural editing works on the content, style, and presentation to make sure it is right for its purpose and reader. Copy editing works on the accuracy, clarity and consistency of a document, and includes things such as spelling, grammar, and layout. Of course, the two stages of editing often overlap, and an editor can be asked to do just one or both of these stages.

“…the author’s vision is realised…”

Editors are different to proof-readers who also play an important part in the production process – making sure there are no typographical or layout errors or inconsistencies in the production of the document.

Structural and Developmental Editing

I really enjoy structural or developmental editing – where I work with the author to achieve a strong and consistent narrative, a consistent and clear voice, and pacing that is appropriate to the story. This can involve discussion about whether some sections need to be added or expanded, moved or deleted. It can include recommendations on sentence structure and even choices of individual words. It also requires good people skills. None of us like criticism and authors are understandably very protective of their work. It is after all the product of both inspiration and a lot of hard graft.

“An editor has to remember that it is the author who has creative ownership.”

Sometimes the discussions between editors and authors can be lively. An editor has to remember that it is the author who has creative ownership; but good working relationships with authors are very rewarding.

Belinda can often be found doing something on the water at Batemans Bay in NSW, Australia

Belinda can often be found doing something on the water at Batemans Bay in NSW, Australia

I have always loved reading including a good seafaring adventure.

As a child, I read Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, in my early teens I spent a hot dry summer reading and re-reading Dove by Robin Lee Graham. My learn to sail books include SisterShip’s Jackie Parry’s Cruisers’ AA. As a history buff I’ve enjoyed Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brien, and I have loved working with Pamela Grimm on Destiny’s Gold. An editor also has to read widely, so I read lots of other things besides. I’m working my way through the classics, try to keep up with new fiction, and I relish a good memoir.

“…and the reader has the best reading experience we can provide.”

Editing is a Dream Job

When I’m not reading or editing, I enjoy rowing, kayaking, and sailing. Editing with SisterShip Press is a dream job. I knew it was right when I looked on my bookshelves and they were full of grammar guides, dictionaries, and style guides together with boat maintenance manuals, guides to cruising and living aboard, and sailing memoirs. This job brings it together, and my plan is to keep editing when I go cruising. All I’ll need is my laptop and an internet connection via my mobile phone. It’s a perfect fit.

Contact the SisterShip team: editor@sistershipmagazine.com

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