Today I’m talking to Miranda Baker, the copyeditor of The Next Together. Miranda was the person who made sure all of my tangled time travel-y storylines didn’t create any massive plotholes which my editor and I had missed. I am intensely grateful to her for noticing many issues which needed fixing – and copyediting is also really interesting on a personal level. My copyedits made me aware of several things which characters do far too often in my writing:
- bite their lips
- be thrilled/delighted
- gaze at each other
- look at each other’s lips
- smile at each other (specifically quirk a smile)
So while there’s still lots of that in the finished book, there’s hopefully….. less!
In her interview, Miranda tells us how copyediting is done, and the difference between editing and copyediting.
What does your job involve?
The copyeditor’s job is to read the edited manuscript for consistency (do the characters’ names change halfway through, for instance) and accuracy of any factual information, and to correct any spelling or grammatical errors. The copyeditor may also suggest changes to text that’s unclear or repetitive.
How did you get started in copyediting? Did you do any work experience?
I’ve actually had quite a varied career, mostly working on titles for younger children. My first publishing job was as an editorial secretary for Puffin and I’ve worked for various children’s publishers since then. I started working as a freelancer editor and copyeditor after my children were born.
How does copyediting compare to the work of editors?
The editor basically looks after the book from the moment it’s taken on. As well as working with the author to shape the text, they will liaise with other departments – design, rights, marketing, publicity, contracts, finance – to see the book through the publishing process. The copyeditor, who might be in-house or a freelancer, is just involved in one editorial stage.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
I get the chance to read a wide range of wonderful stories. I also love the technical side of editing – spotting rogue commas.
How do you approach fact checking and background research when copyediting?
Google! I often wonder what on earth editors did before the arrival of the Internet.
The Next Together has several historical timelines. How was the experience of copyediting this?
It was quite challenging, but interesting. Probably one of the most complicated titles I’ve worked on, but a great read!
What are some of your favourite children’s books now and from your childhood?
Has being involved in publishing changed how you read books for pleasure?
I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. Reading is still one of my greatest pleasures.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into publishing?
Most of the people I’ve met recently who are new to publishing had done internships or work experience for lots of different publishers.
Miranda Baker is a freelance writer and editor who works on children’s books for all age levels, from board books and novelty books to annuals and YA fiction. Her clients include Puffin, Nosy Crow, Walker, Ladybird, Chicken House, HarperCollins, Orchard and Hodder Children’s Books, Granta and Portobello Books.
In other news: I did a video interview with the online Independent bookshop Hive:
I’ve just finished my mini-tour for The Next Together. I had a great time visiting lots of schools, libraries, bookshops and universities. Thank you for everyone who came out to see me! My next event is YA Shot on October 28th in London, where I’ll be doing a panel with Lucy Saxon and Catherine Doyle.