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spring 2018

13 May

It has been rather a momentous week.

I learned that I achieved a distinction in the College of Media and Publishing course, Editing and Proofreading. I can’t quite believe it. I started the course way back in 2016 and had completed the first assignment. Then, in 2017, the sudden death of my father and the news of being made redundant were complete shocks. In order to process what was going on, I suppose I needed some time out to find out what was happening. Through this, the course got forgotten. Once I had started getting back on track and had already completed some other training, I decided to go back to the CMP course. It was well-designed with excellent tutors and feedback. Besides, I didn’t like leaving it unfinished. Therefore, I enrolled again, continued from where I had finished and here we are, a couple of months later. With a distinction. Amazing.

Following on from the Japanese ELT publisher, I indeed received some documents related to content creation, and I am now working on my first project with them. Hopefully it will be the first of many. The good thing is that it’s thoroughly enjoyable. Secondly, I’ve got a small proofreading test (paid) with a law firm in Kazakhstan, who contacted me through my website. Another tick to add to the box. I’ve also cold emailed a few indie publishers who have recently been found on my radar, and I’m getting some lovely responses – we’ll see if anything comes from those.

The Virginia Woolf Statue campaign was at the Richmond May Fair on Saturday 12th May. In pride of place on the table is the small scale model of the statue. We did very well and even had Zac Goldsmith MP come for a visit. It was sunny to begin with, but then it started to rain. However, we had a good flow of people come to see us, with the majority absolutely loving the scale model. It was a good day, but I was happy to get back home to Berkshire in the dry and warm!

9 May

Hopefully I’ll be able to get around to more regular blogging than the last few weeks, now that the move has started calming down. The bank holiday weekend was lovely. We had my Mum come and stay at the new place, and we went to visit a National Trust property called Basildon Park. Absolutely stunning! Thanks to the staff for getting wheelchairs for my mum so she could really enjoy the whole experience. Even riding on the motorised buggy to the house was fun.

Even though I’m officially self-employed (as a sole trader), I haven’t done any trading yet, but still have to fill out a self-assessment form for tax purposes. This being my first one, it’s rather daunting and a litte scary, so I’ve started it, but haven’t finished yet. A lot of it is confusing, so I might have to do some research.

I’m waiting on my certificate and charter mark from the College of Media and Publishing, and I can’t wait to add it to my website. I’m already being used for their marketing purposes, and I want to be able to use them, too!

The Virginia Woolf Statue campaign continues to gather pace: we had Neil Gaiman and Mark Haddon tweet their support, so that was incredible. I’ve been writing to various magazines to see if we can get featured, and two have replied. One will be taken from the press release, and the other one I’ve written. And it’s for HuffPost. I’ll have to let you all know once it goes live. We will also be at a stand at Richmond May Fair on 12 May, so if any Londoners are about, let’s see you there.  For some reason, I can’t get the link to the actual website to work. I really would love to write a piece for the National Trust, especially as they take care of Monk’s House, Virginia’s country home. If any National Trust writing people are reading, let’s make this happen. And don’t forget to donate to the campaign!

Other news: an EFL publisher in Japan, who I had contact with in March has apologised for silence since then. I got an email this morning asking if I was still interested. Of course! Hopefully something will come of that soon. Another thing I’d love to put on the website.

As the title suggests, there is movement, and it seems to be in the right direction.

3 May

This is my new favourite place in our new flat. It’s lovely sitting on these chairs, listening to the birds with the windows open. I have to try hard not to be distracted! Today is the week anniversary of getting all our possessions in and it already feels like home. It’s wonderful.

Therefore, this I deign to be the start of new things.

I recevied an email from an ELT publisher, asking me to complete an editing test. I’m hopeful about this, because as I was doing it, I found it challenging, but not too difficult. It also invovled some writing as well. This was completed and sent off this morning. I’ve had some contact from another ELT publisher abroad, and I’ve given a quote for writing 5 IELTS listening tests. We’ll see if they respond. It would entail a lot of work to get it right, so it wouldn’t come cheaply. I got some excellent advice from a freelance IELTS writer who wrote many of the books I used when I was teaching.

Due to the move, I unfortunately missed a Bookmachine event, and I’m really quite sad for not being able to go. Looking at the photos, it seems it was a great success. However, now I’m living in Berkshire, I plan to try and go to the local SfEP meetings. I just got distracted to see if they had a specific Facebook page, but I have yet to come across one.

Training news. I’ve finally completed my College of Media and Publishing Editing and Proofreading course. I’m waiting on a couple of things back and then I should get my final grade. Hopefully it’s a good one – I’ve worked very hard!

Other news, my wonderful friend from Twitter has invited me to the launch of her next book in September. I’m very eager to go so I can meet her, and also make my way to Bath! This is the book that will be launched. It’s her second book, and numbers three and four are on their way! Please check her out, I love her writing.

Virginia Woolf book news – once again, due to the move, the revisions took a back seat, but now I have my very own writing corner (and when it’s bad weather, we actually have an office!), I’m back with a vengeance. Possibly some issues coming up re copyright, but we’ll see what happens.

Virginia Woolf Statue news – we finally have planning permission! This is amazing news. After a meeting in Richmond yesterday, including the wonderfully talented sculptress, Laury, and the spearhead of the campaign, Cheryl, we are going into full-on fundraising mode. Please, please donate to this wonderful cause and help us to fully commemorate this superb writer. After the unveiling of the Fawcett statue and 100 years since women were (finally) allowed to vote, this is a very apt year for this campaign. Please also share to your wonderful friends and contacts – we need to spread the word about this.

23 April

Today has been mostly good, as per the title. I took my mum for a day out down by the coast, even though it was a little bit windy. It was a lovely day out. Before that, I heard that the mortgage funds have now gone through and therefore we’re just about ready to move. We’ll be moving from Wednesday this week and I’m so excited I can hardly breathe! Moving back into the countryside, albeit a different countryside, will be much better than living in London.

However, on the way to the coast, I found I had an email from the National Trust, saying that I hadn’t been selected for interview for their assistant editor position. Disappointed is not the word. I think this would have been the ideal job doing something connected to history, books and wonderful places. Unfortunately, they couldn’t see what I could offer. Slightly devastated to be honest. But it didn’t spoil the lovely day by the coast.

Now that I’ve got a new place to live in, I feel that it needs to be a turning point in terms of work. If anyone knows of any indie publishers of fiction or EFL or ESL publishers that could do with an editor or proofreader, I’d be very grateful if you would give them my details, or send them to my website –

I’m still patient, but I’m stepping up my game now in order to find some paying work.

16 April

Today has been a good day. I received a great testimonial from one of my friends for proofreading his first children’s book. You can see it here. I feel like I am slowly getting the hang of being freelance, even though I have yet to secure any real, paying jobs. I imagined this is how it would start, so I’m not too worried, just determined to keep going and not give up.

The second good thing is that the Virginia Woolf book and the statue project are now featured on the Byte the Book website and will also feature in their newsletter which comes out tomorrow. I’m extremely grateful to them for allowing it to be featured, as well as tweeting about it. I’ve been working hard on the revisions to the book for most of the day, and I’m currently looking at quotes from Woolf about the many visitors that she recevied, and right now the focus is on Katherine Mansfield.

The other thing I had to do today was go to the job centre. As someone who is not making any money yet, this is still allowed, but as soon as I get some income coming in, this will not. And not before too long! It’s always demoralising going in, having to show your book to the people hanging around the door so they can judge you and tell you which desk to go to. Today’s person at the desk seemed genuinely disinterested in me, and in fact, I think she only spoke to say hello, ask me to sign the electronic thing and say goodbye. That was it. Now, I know I have plans (and they’re going alright) to become freelance, but what about people who genuinely need help in looking for work? Surely not even looking at the job book (where one has to write down everything you’ve done to look for work) or asking how things are going are detrimental to anyone looking for a job? Whenever I go there, I often wonder whether I should help them to help others look for a job, because at the moment, the service there is pathetic and unhelpful.

12 April – London Book Fair

After the disappointing end to day one, I made a resolution to return for day two, but I made sure I arrived in the afternoon. I was determined to at least talk to some people and give out some business cards. And that I did. I also wanted to catch up with my friend, My (seen above in the background) and while waiting for her, I met a new friend, Tiff – looking at the camera with me. It was lovely to meet her and talk about various things, including misophonia and flashing, but not connected (at least I don’t think so). It was also good to catch up with My, as we kept missing each other at various events and ones that I couldn’t make. The photo above was taken by Muneera from Bindi Books who I also wanted to meet. We did, but it was very brief. Hopefully we can catch up fully at the next event. This event was hosted by Bookmachine, and it was my first one with them. I have to say, I was impressed at the number of people who turned up and made it a very worthwhile experience. Thanks to all involved.

When I got home, I finally got a mini-job from Upwork. It was very small, but it’s a start. I’ve sent it off, but I’ve had no feedback, so hopefully they were happy with what I edited. I did offer to do one free revision, but I’ve had nothing back.

Another thing I saw yesterday was an assitant editor job with the National Trust. I am a member, and I love going to their properties. When I was young, my parents took me and my sister to so many properties that I forget which ones I’ve been to. It would be amazing to work with them, and I know I would do a good job. The one property that sticks in my head at the moment is of course Monk’s House, where Virginia Woolf lived. I, naturally, applied for the position and hope to hear back soon.

Talking of houses, we have finally exchanged on our flat and a completion date is set. Hopefully, that should be the end of it!

11 April – London Book Fair

So, my second first time at the London Book Fair started off well, but for a relatively new entrant into the publishing world, it’s still rather daunting. A hive of activity, it’s difficult to get your bearings and figure out where to go, as it seems to just keep on expanding further and further down whichever aisle you happen to be walking down. Even with the planning I had done, I felt very much a novice at this networking lark.

I had planned to get to the fair in time to see a talk on children’s literature in translation, which I managed to do. It was a very interesting discussion, featuring my publishing mentor at Aurora Metro. I was also able to meet Ellen, PR person for Aurora who introduced me to their new catalogue, featuring my edited book on the front cover.
Filled with a little more confidence, I set off to do some networking, but I unfortunately allowed personal issues into my head and this affected me for the rest of the day. A little bit of social anxiety thrown in for good measure meant that I left the fair earlier than I anticipated. After a good rest, I awake this morning slightly renewed, and after some excellent advice and listening (AV, you know who you are), I think I’m ready to have another go at the fair this afternoon. There are a couple of people I want to see, meet and catch up with, and it would be a shame not to grasp this opportunity. So, with that in mind, I’m getting myself ready to try again at the fair this afternoon.

5 April

My last post was full of hope, and to be honest, this one is as well but to a slightly lesser degree. The planned move, for this weekend, has been unavoidably delayed and now we don’t know when we will be moving. To quote a famous drag race show, ‘I’m shook!’. I hate living in mess at the best of times, but now it is all to be decided, I can feel the anxiety building up. Nearly all of my books are packed in boxes so I have a very limited amount of work that I can do. Especially on the Virginia Woolf book, but I think I have enough that is accessible for me to keep going.

Two bits of good news, though. Yesterday I finished a brief and light proofreading of one of my friend’s first children’s book. It came complete with illustrations too and I thoroughly enjoyed it. He’s now going to be looking for an agent and he has the contacts thanks to him being the brains behind the children’s TV show ‘School of Roars’. I know that the book will be a success and I’m proud to have been a small part of its development. Hoping to get a testimonial to add to the website. The second piece of good news is that Steve Higgs, the author of the Tempest Michaels books has asked me to record and produce the audiobook for the third in the series, the Klowns of Kent. I’m hoping that it will be as successful as the other two audiobooks I’ve done for him.

I’m slowly building up people to see at the London Book Fair, which takes place next week. I can’t believe it’s crept up on me so quickly, but saying that, there has been some distractions (such as this cursed move!). Hoping to meet and chat with as many people as I can, including Bindi Books, who are a new publisher but for me, look extremely exciting. There are also some international ELT publishers who I want to speak to, and I’ve been in contact with them to see if I can pop by their stand. Hopefully, it will be a useful event!

One other thing to mention is that my sister is organising a walk around our childhood countryside in Kent, in memory of my father who we lost to a massive stroke last year. The Stroke Association is helping to organise it, so I’m hoping we raise a lot of money. It will be on May 18 2018, what would have been his 76th birthday.

2 April

It would be lovely to be jetting off again, but alas, unfortunately not. It’s Easter, a time for resurrection and renewal. All change in my household. In the throes of packing to move out of London and into village life once again. Harking back to childhood days, this change has been a long time coming and I want it now. I’m going to have to wait about another week, but it can’t come soon enough.

I see this as a symbolic change. Change of scenery to me means a change in fortunes. One where I can settle down and get this freelancing business really up and running. It will help that the London Book Fair is just around the corner, (as I was typing this on my iPad, it came up with Boom fair).

Starting a new venture is hard. Something I’m sure I’ve said before, and the doubts are still there, of course they are. But as each day progresses and I still get no leads, it spurs me on to create those leads and make my own future. It will happen.

New location, new fortunes?

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