The Joy of Independence by Lauren Finger

19th May 2016

An editor speaks…

This is my thirteenth year in publishing, and I have spent most of that working in the editorial arena. When people ask me if I like my job, I can (usually) tell them that I love it. I love what I do because I get to make books, because I get to help creative, smart, interesting, funny, talented authors make their book the best book it can be. And I get to do this as part of a team of people who could not be more passionate about what they do.

When I tell people I’m a book editor they think I read all day. But an editor spends even more time organizing and checking, editing and proofreading, asking questions and liaising with authors, colleagues and freelancers. Editors write copy, check copy, make decisions about how a book should look, speak with authors about both tiny changes and big notions. They tweak, smooth, suggest, re-structure, prioritize and keep track. And they also read.

To get the most out of working in publishing you must be passionate about reading, writing and everything about books. After all, this love of storytelling and the written word is why we went into publishing in the first place. It sure wasn’t for the glamour. That’s right. We don’t spend all day reading and the publishing industry isn’t glamorous. Sorry to disappoint. But what publishing can be is exciting, meaningful and game-changing. You can learn so much and you work with the best of people – smart, interesting, fun, passionate people who love books as much as you do and who want to be a part of producing wonderful stories and communicating new and exciting ideas. One of the greatest strengths of independent publishing is this passionate workforce; this shared dedication unites those of us who work across different independent companies.

Independents Day at the ICA is a celebration and exploration of independence in the arts. In these times of mega-companies, takeovers, mergers and high-street downturns it is even more important to support the smaller publishing houses; the champions of culture who offer diverse voices, challenging notions and exciting projects, and who can make just as powerful a contribution to our lives as a faceless, streamlined multinational can.  Independent publishing has the flexibility, drive and talent to produce the kinds of books we all want to read and are proud to say we worked on. Books that tell the world different stories, share new ideas and opinions, and consider the decisions we make as a society and individuals. I have always enjoyed working in independent publishing because of the great people I have worked with and the fabulous books I have worked on. And I have always been proud to be a small part of a group of companies who contribute so much to the culture of their society. Independents Day is a fabulous opportunity to learn more about this contribution and have a great time as well.

Lauren Finger came all the way from Australia with several years of publishing under her belt and was Managing Editor at Atlantic Books before moving to Bookouture in October 2016, where she continues to fly the flag for independent publishing.