Editor, writer, anaconda, rat

My name is KJ Charles and I’m a first-time novelist. (The Magpie Lord, Samhain, Sept 13.)

In my other life, I’m an experienced commissioning editor. (For the purposes of this blog I’m an anonymous editor, so I can give actual examples without feeling too constrained about authors thinking, ‘Is she talking about me?!’ (Honestly, darling, I’m not. It’s those other authors.)

This blog is about what it feels like to straddle both sides of the publishing fence. I’m pretty sure it means you get splinters in your bum.

I’m hoping to give some insights for aspiring writers, new authors and people interested in the word business as to how the system works, and why things happen the way they do. I will also be blogging about how it feels to be edited rather than editing. Expect expletives.

But first things first. Me.

I’m a commissioning editor, meaning I buy and edit MSS. I’ve spent my whole career in various forms of publishing. I have taken on a lot of new authors out of the slush pile.

I also write in my free time (hollow laugh). I have completed two full length novels, one of which got me an agent and some nice feedback, but no publication. I took a long time off writing when I had my children (the pram in the hall is the enemy of creativity, particularly when it’s got my son in it) and have only recently got back behind a keyboard again.

Knowing the game from the other side gave me some advantages in knowing what editors want and what to expect. Someone brilliantly referred to ‘the book moving through the publishing process like a rat moving through an anaconda’. It’s easier to be the rat if you know how anacondas work. This blog is aimed at sharing that knowledge.

So, on with the show!