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Editor for Life: Sandra O’Brien, editor of Canadian Children’s Book News

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster
A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Sandra O'Brien

Sandra, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do (and where you live), and how long you’ve been an editor.

I’ve only been the editor of Canadian Children’s Book News since April 2016. It’s my dream job and one of two publications that the Canadian Children’s Book Centre produces. I work from home, which is in Ajax, Ontario, and I love being able to do that. I’m a wife and the mom of two university-aged kids and two furbabies—both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

As the editor of Book News, I choose and assign books to be reviewed by reviewers across the country, decide on and assign articles to be included in the magazine, juggle all sorts of deadlines, and, of course, edit the pieces we include in the magazine. I’m very fortunate that we have a copy editor who catches all the mistakes I don’t. I also work closely with Meghan Howe, the librarian at the Book Centre and our designer. And I read, read, read Canadian children’s literature. (more…)

Seminar: A is for author: An introduction to editing picture books

Editing picture books for children is a uniquely creative undertaking. Children’s book editors need to understand how words and pictures work together to tell a story, so they must possess not only a facility for language but also an appreciation for illustration and a keen eye for design.

This seminar will introduce you to some of the special skills needed to edit picture books, with a particular focus on the relationship between the editor and the illustrator. We’ll take a close look at the process of creating these types of children’s books, from concept to illustration roughs to final layouts. How does this work differ from other types of editing? What kind of feedback should the editor offer the illustrator? What roles do type, layout, and other design choices play? How do you know where the page breaks go, and how can those decisions support the storytelling?

In this seminar, you’ll get a thorough overview of this unique area of book publishing. (more…)

Editor for Life: Suzanne Sutherland, author and children’s books editor at HarperCollins in Canada

Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster

A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.

Suzanne Sutherland

Suzanne, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do, and how long you’ve been an editor.

I’m incredibly fortunate to work with a roster of phenomenal authors as part of HarperCollins Canadian children’s program. Because our list is quite small, I’m able to take on an active role in each stage of a book’s development—from acquisition through to publication, working both with internationally bestselling authors as well as with first-time novelists. It’s not a bad gig at all! (more…)