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Editor for Life: Erin Holmes, managing editor at Firefly Books

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.

Editor for Life: Erin Holmes, managing editor at Firefly Books

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

I’ve been in publishing since 2001. I had acquired my BA in English with a minor in publishing from SFU. I found a job as an editorial assistant in Hamilton, Ontario, on Workopolis; the interview was via telephone and it went very well. So I packed up my Honda Accord and drove across the country to my first “real” job. It was in medical book publishing, which was a far cry from my dream of being an editor at Random House, but I thought, perhaps naively, that it was just a matter of time. Needless to say, 15 years and only two jobs later, my current position is nowhere near what my 25-year-old self dreamt of, but I’ve since discovered that I am immensely satisfied by completely different aspects of the job.

I now work as managing editor of co-editions, meaning that I take books written for foreign markets and make them suitable for distribution in North America. There are so many different changes that need to be made to each book, from language and style to content and imagery. I liken it to a bunch of balloons that are constantly being pulled at by the wind, and I need to maintain a firm hold on every string. It’s much more project management than editing, but I manage to fill my creative well by designing book covers and interiors on a frequent basis. I’ve been fortunate to mould the job to my interests. (more…)