Events,  IPEd 2017

Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship 2017 Report – Annabel Blay A year in the US looking at the role of the editor in commercial fiction

Every two years, one lucky editor gets to go on an all expenses paid research trip to work with publishers in the US as part of the Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship and this past year it was Annabel Blay.

Part of the Fellowship involves speaking at the next IPEd Conference on what the outcome of the research was and presenting a report to IPEd that is made available to all members and the public.

Annabel Blay wanted to see what the role of the editor was in commercial fiction in the US and compare it to the role in Australia. In point form below are some of the things she was able to cover in her presentation at the IPEd 2017 conference.

  • She found that having a larger market to sell to both domestically and internationally meant that there was a lot of money around and that this possibly explained some of the results she found.
  • She also found that the role of agent differed – that quite often they took on the responsibility of multiple edits of an author’s work prior to it being presented to editors in-house at publishers.
  • Editors working in-house did commissioning work, liasing with agents, project management and acquisitioning and other such work as well as doing line editing and copy editing work.
  • There is a pressure to look for the next buzzbook and there is a greater volume of work in the pipeline to get through which leads to a blurring of lines between work and non-work hours with editors resorting to various means to do get their work done as soon as possible.
  • Editors in-house or freelance working with publishers do several more rounds of edits with authors, up to about eight even after an agent has done about three rounds prior.
  • There is a notion that the career pathway is that people must get a college degree and then take on internships, often unpaid, to work their way up from the bottom.
  • Freelancers seem to have more resources than those in Australia do. There are more organisations to support them with professional development. (There are unofficial and official organisations in Australia that editors may not be aware that they are eligible to be members of).

You can read more of her findings in her report on the IPEd website.

Marisa is a globetrotting freelance writer, journalist and editor with cat for hire (her, not the cat). She is usually based in Melbourne but is currently flouncing around in Perth for a week for the Inaugural 2018 KSP - Varuna Foundation Fellowship. She will be at Melbourne's Continuum and online running a Writers' Bloc course in the coming weeks.

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