How it all began…

Posted 19 August, 2016 by Michelle in Blog / 3 Comments

A long time ago, (2013/14 to be precise), I was contacted by Hawkins Publishing Group, an independent publisher in America and asked if I would be interested in an intern position. While there, I participated in acquisitions as part of a team, reading submissions and playing ‘God’ with authors’ dreams, either approving their submission or rejecting it. During the last semester, though, I was given the opportunity to participate in editing. There were three in total and I was thrilled to learn that two of them have been published recently (with my name in the legal gumph as an associate editor).

A bit of backstory (that thing I tell all you lovely authors to limit): years and years ago, I used to beta-read, offering what I felt was thoughtful insight, observations, and suggestions, minus the writing technique knowledge, as I wasn’t much of a writer back then. Anyway, I had the misfortune to come across an author who quite simply wanted a pat on the back, and for me to tell them how marvellous their first draft was. It turned nasty, at which point I bailed out of the beta reading scene (for about five years).

While studying creative writing at the Open University, I found myself in the position of having to provide feedback to my fellow students (in return for feedback) and to say I was nervous about giving feedback is putting it mildly. I repeatedly checked to see if they wanted the truth, or would prefer my feedback sugar coated. Anyway, to cut a long story short, my confidence started coming back. And so did my nerves when I started interning for Hawkins Publishing Group, only to find out that the owner was thrilled with the feedback/editing I provided. So much so, that I was told to ignore the advice sent to me on ‘how to edit a manuscript’ and carry on the way I was (which is the manner anyone who has had an edit from me has seen).

When the year of being an intern was up, I made a decision to dip my toe back into the world of indies and requested four books to beta read as I was considering setting up my own editing business – those authors were very understanding of my nerves and I went on to read and edit for free for a year to gain experience. And that first year also put me in the fortunate position of not needing to advertise. Some of the authors returned to me as paid clients, others recommended me, so I have had a steady stream of inquiries and books, and that hasn’t changed or slowed down as I prepare to enter my second year of charging for editing.

(And this is a blinding example of backstory wandering off the subject. My intention was to write about the published books).

So, to return to the original point of posting. These are the two books I assisted in (if you click the image you can see more about them):
patch of dirt Children of Italy

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3 Responses to “How it all began…”

  1. Michelle, you have been an inspiration to me ever since I have come to interact with you. Your blog just added a punch of motivation in me. Was curious to know, Did you get a chance to work with Hawkins publishing group as part of your course at open university?

    • Michelle

      No. They contacted me via Twitter. I have to confess to thinking they were one of those spammy write for cash businesses at first (as you do), but stopped being so suspicious when I looked up their website and realised they were a genuine publishing company. The owner is just lovely, she gave me so much confidence in my abilities, and helped make what I do now possible.

  2. Christine Simolke

    Michelle, Thank you so much for being a wonderful editor and for posting “Children of Italy” here. Really appreciate it!

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