A Day In The Life Of A Young Writers' Editor...


Have you ever wondered what an editor does? Here is an insight from Allison Jones, about how a book is edited…

Editing, by far my favourite part of the editorial process – the beginning of the book’s journey to publication!

Okay, let’s start with a bit of background information. When you’ve written your poem/story and your teacher has posted it to us, all the entries for the competition are kept together until the closing date has passed, then they are sorted through and collated into areas/regions. Once this is done it’s over to the Editorial team! My job begins when I’m given my book to edit from a specific area of the UK. During my time as an editor for Young Writers I’ve read from one end of the UK to the other (and back again!)- limericks from Londonderry, tankas from Torquay and haikus from The Highlands!

When I’ve sorted through my book, put all the schools into alphabetical order and completed the paperwork side of things, the fun can really begin – it’s time to start reading.

Every poem or story is read with care and judged entirely on its own merits, as no one piece of work is the same as another. Each is born from a different imagination and written by a different hand and a unique perspective, and therefore deserves individual attention when being considered for inclusion in the publication. Personally, I look for inventive imagery combined with clever use of language and ideas whilst taking into consideration age and ability, as I do not expect the work of a 6-year-old to match that of a 10-year-old. So off I read, armed with my trusty red pen to make any necessary amendments to spelling or grammar. It’s important to remember that poetry and creative writing is subjective, and what one editor may enjoy another may not – but each entry is evaluated on certain factors such as age, ability, if the work fits the criteria of the competition and, of course, if it’s original. Believe it or not we’ve had many a young writer submit the full unabridged original version of ‘The Writer of This Poem’, complete with their name stated as author – naughty, naughty on to the ‘No’ pile you go, we are not that easily fooled!

And so the reading and selecting continues, as what once was a pile of envelopes and paper begins to take the shape of a book. Throughout editing, if any piece of work in particular catches my eye as an outstanding entry, I make a note of it and keep it for reference to be considered as a prize winner when the competition is judged after all the books in the series are published. Alongside this we as a team pay special attention to the entries from each school as a whole and, again, if any one particular school is deemed to have submitted a fantastic selection of entries of amazing standard and quality, a note is kept for prize consideration.

As mentioned earlier, no one entry is the same as another, and neither is any book. For example, one of my fellow editors who has been given a similar number of entries to edit as me, may, due to various reasons, choose not to include as many poems or stories as I have and therefore the resulting books may be different sizes. The same differences occur within individual books also, where one school may find that every entry they’ve submitted has been offered a place in the book, as opposed to another school who may only have one or two considered acceptable. When it comes to editing poetry there is no rhyme or reason (pun intended!) to what the finished book will be like and how big it will be.

MailingAnd so the last poem is read and the book is complete!

To finish the editing process all the accepted work is filed and handed over to the data inputting team ready for the next stages, including typesetting and the exciting part for you guys – the letter of acceptance telling you that your work has been offered a place in a real-life book. Congratulations!

Well, the book is edited and so my work here is done . . . for today!

If you’d like to know more about the publication process why not check out our Production Timeline, which guides you through a book’s journey from start to finish!

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“Wow!That is truly interesting! My Once Upon A Dream poem will be published, so I hope to see a wonderful anthology!”

by Hafsah Saleem on 3rd August 2017

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