Going solo, or How I no longer have a day job

Well, it’s official. I no longer have a day job.

Writing those words is pretty surreal. It’s a goal I’ve been working towards for so long, yet one that has always seemed just out of reach. Now, my last day in publishing has been and gone, passing by in a flash. Hang on, what now?

Am I really a full time author?

I guess so.

Weird.

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My leaving poster from HarperCollins

To be honest, full-time freelancer is probably more accurate. I admit it: I’ve grown to love editing as much as writing. I love working with authors and helping them polish their rough drafts into shiny jewels of books, so I’m going to keep on doing it! Penguin Random House Children’s will continue to have me on the books as a freelance editor (and maybe other publishers might want to work with me too? … drop me a line on the ‘Contact Me’ page if you are interested). And, let’s face it, I still need to make sure there’s food on the table in case this whole ‘full time author’ thing doesn’t pan out!

But for now I’m only dependent on my writing.

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Ah… memories of so many book fairs

Looking back on my seven years in publishing, it feels like a whirlwind. I am intensely grateful for all the experience that I gained under the mentorship of many amazing women (and it was 99% women!) and for all the opportunities that came my way. Publishing put me in the path of many of my idols, some of whom became friends I will cherish for life. Publishing taught me to be a better businesswoman, a better presenter, a better negotiator, a better manager, a better communicator, a better reader and ultimately… a better writer too.

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Genre publishing people are ESPECIALLY awesome

(Maybe not on the better reader thing. I’m looking forward to reading for pleasure and not being hyper-critical all the time.)

Me, Neil Gaiman, Jamie Byng (Canongate)

So why now?

If you’d asked me a year ago, I wasn’t sure if I would ever take the plunge and go ‘full time’ into authordom. Despite my introvert leanings, I do love people (especially publishing people. They’re pretty much universally great.) and I know I will miss the stimulus of being a part of a team who are creative and driven and brilliant (aka the entire PRH Children’s division). I love the challenges and excitement of bringing a book to market. An editor truly gets to be in the centre of that process, and I’m lucky enough to have helped so many books find their readers – too many to list. But it quickly became clear that the more senior I rose in publishing, the more my writing time suffered. Being a full time editorial director and a full time writer, plus maintaining some semblance of a personal life? Hard. So very hard. I admire those editors who juggle both with the skill and flexibility of Cirque du Soleil performers. It became too much for me.

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Penguin Random House knows how to make an impact

But I’ll let you into a secret. It wasn’t just the demands of having two jobs that gave me the final push toward taking the freelancer plunge. It was another dream. A dream of exploration and growth, of faraway places and dusty roads, of good food and dancing and hiking. A dream of long-term travel. A ‘grown-up gap-year’ as Stylist so aptly described it this week. More on that in a later blog post, but suffice to say that Lofty and I are not resting on our laurels next year. There’s a lot of the world out there for us to see, and the beauty of being freelance is that I can do it anywhere…

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Writing away in Egypt… I look forward to more of this

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A big publishing highlight… at a printing press with Zoe Sugg

Although I’ve left publishing, I know it’s not a closed door. Who knows if later on down the line I will want to reenter the fray! But for now it’s bye-bye security, hello freelance-life.

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Another highlight was finding amazing new authors and introducing them to the world, like Martin Stewart and his book ‘Riverkeep’ out in 2016

Come on in, take a seat.

I hope to be with you for a long time.

 

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