In this podcast, I try to reveal as much about the publishing process as I can to new writers. Holly Tonks has seen it all. She has worked in a literary agency, edited books in large publishing houses and a small indie, and she is now a Lecturer in Publishing at Bath Spa University.
Holly wants both aspiring editors and new writers to understand the process as clearly as possible. I love it when she says ‘writing is not something you can either do or not do’. It doesn’t come instantly to most people, but it’s something you can work at, like any other career. And as she adds, ‘you will find your place.’
We talk about writing with an awareness of the market, the picture book process, and what exactly it is an editor does, beyond commissioning books and working on track changes. It’s more than you might imagine. Holly and I worked together on one of my favourite books, which was the illustrated guide to women artists for young teens, that I did with her at Tate Publishing in 2018. It was a hugely complicated project to pull off and Holly needed all of her talent, experience and diplomatic skills to make it happen.