There's more to editing than spelling and grammar.
All my editing focuses on inclusivity, whether it's helping you develop a brief for a new series, copy editing a manuscript, or proofreading final layouts of a title.
Having worked across editorial, rights, production, and as a buyer at a national level, I have a unique set of skills that can help you develop and publish children’s books. While I focus on making books as inclusive and accessible as possible, I also aim to make them commercially viable. Because what good is an inclusive book that doesn't sell?
With over ten years of experience in the industry, including at some of the Big Five and small independent publishers, I'm flexible in my approach and able to tailor my services to your needs.
I provide a range of editorial services for publishers and agents, including:
Inclusivity Editing (see more details below)
My rate varies based on the work involved. Please contact me with details of your project so I can provide you with a quote.
An inclusivity read checks a manuscript for anything that could have slipped in due to unconscious bias.
Everyone has biases and it takes a lot of work to challenge them. I have several years' experience examining books for inclusivity, so can help you make your book more authentically inclusive.
It's important to have books checked for inclusivity at an early stage. An inclusivity read will highlight misrepresentation of marginalised characters, comments or phrases that perpetuate stereotypes, and language that can be harmful to certain groups. It looks at specific words and phrases in granular detail and recommends replacements where applicable, but it will also look at the bigger picture and how numerous facets of diversity are represented across a work, including in illustrations and design.
The process not only helps make books more inclusive, but provides a learning opportunity for authors, editors and publishers.
There are a lot of terms used for types of inclusivity editing, including sensitivity reading, authenticity reading, or editing for conscious language. Sensitivity and authenticity reads should be done by someone with lived experience, and will normally only focus on one element of the project. This type of work should be considered research to ensure you are accurately representing a certain facet of diversity, and should be done while the manuscript is still being written or in early editorial stages.
An inclusivity edit builds upon sensitivity reads. It cannot, however, replace a sensitivity read, which is why both are important.
Here’s a list of topics I usually cover in an inclusivity read:
Visual accessibility (design and format)
This list is not exhaustive and is adjusted depending on the content of each book.
I also offer authenticity reads (from lived experience) for:
Anxiety disorder and panic attacks
IBS and food intolerance
Living abroad (I've moved from US to UK to Germany)
I approach all of my editing and inclusivity reads with the understanding that authors want their books to be read and enjoyed by as many children as possible.
Every book can benefit from an inclusivity read, because normalising an inclusive and diverse world in children’s books will help tackle prejudice and build a better future for the next generation.
I strongly believe that the publishing industry needs to diversify to address the systematic problems within it. In an ideal world, all editors, publishers and freelancers will be trained and experienced in inclusivity reading as well as challenging their own unconscious bias, to the point inclusivity editing is not a separate step from developmental or copy editing.
I was trained by Beth Cox, who offers an in-house training programme as well as one for freelancers, and recommend her training to any editors and publishers reading this.
Until then, as we continue to improve diversity in the publishing industry and learn to challenge bias and stereotypes, inclusivity reads remain increasingly important. So, if you are ready to start making your books more inclusive, please get in touch!