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Interview with Editor Nicole Ingram

Never trust a writer who doesn’t use an editor. It doesn’t matter if they have a degree in English literature; you need a fresh perspective from someone who is paid to hurt your feelings. Here’s an interview with my super smart editor Nicole Ingram who worked on Choose Your Own Death.

ME: So how did you get into editing?

NICOLE: I have been a reader for as long as I can remember. For me, books give us an opportunity to escape into another world. They awaken our imagination, our emotions and our thoughts. There is a power in something that can take you to a place that may not even exist. There is a power in something that can make you reassess your place in the world. Books can do all of this, and so much more. For me, getting into editing was about being apart of the magic that is books. Not only does the idea of being surrounded by books for the rest of my life appeal to me, but the possibility of helping to craft something that can be such a big influence, even if only on a single person, seems worth it to me.

ME: Do you feel that being a writer helps you be an editor?

NICOLE: As someone who has only dappled in writing, I can’t really conclusively say whether or not being a writer makes a person a better editor. I definitely believe that the two crafts are interconnected, and that you do need to have an understanding of the writing process in order to approach said writing as an editor. I also think that an understanding of the writing process can foster a better relationship between writer and editor.

ME: What do you think are the skills for being a good editor?

NICOLE: I think the number one skill that is required of a good editor is being a good reader. Not only is reading enjoyable, but for editors reading is the ideal source for being exposed to the fruits of editing. An editor needs to be exposed to everything that could be thrown at them as an editor. Whether that be various genres, styles, formats or any other variation of literature. They need to be immersed in the world of books, and the best way I believe of doing that is by reading widely and extensively.

There are a number of other very important skills for being a good editor – attention to detail, ability to give constructive feedback, humbleness – but I think in the end you have to love it. You have to love the written word. You have to love the reading, the obsessive checking, the conversation. You have to want to be a part of creating good stories.

ME: With the rise of self publishing, how do you think this impacts the emerging editor?

NICOLE: I think it depends on how you choose to approach it. As someone only just coming into this crowded industry, I am approaching editing with a very wide point of view. I know that I need to work hard to get where I want to go. And I also know that I need to keep my expectations open. The publishing environment is changing. And as an aspiring editor I need to not only be aware of these changes, but I also need to adapt myself to meet them.

It is hard to say the effect that the rise of self-publishing is going to have on myself and other emerging editors. I choose to look at it as an opportunity. Just as writers are going it by themselves, so too can editors. I think the key is to be open to the new opportunities that are emerging, and to always be open to adapting your editing to the new environment.

ME: What books are you reading at the moment?

NICOLE: I am making my way through one of my favourite series at the moment. It is The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody. She is a great Australian writer and this series is actually the one that truly sparked my love of reading. So, as you could probably guess, I have read it quite a few times. I am also dabbling in a few books of poetry at the moment. I have recently bought Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing, which is a wonderful collection of his poems. And I am making my way through a collection of Gwen Harwood’s poetry.

And Nicole is available for freelance editing work! She’s brilliant – contact her at

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