In this series, we take you behind the scenes to get a glimpse of the glamorous life at Adelaide’s premier publishing house. This week, meet editor extraordinaire Margot Lloyd.
What made you want to work in publishing – and how did you get your start?
I actually used to work for a few hours a week at Wakefield when I was a teenager, helping with mailouts and databasing. At that point, I hadn’t really considered a career in publishing, but it must have planted a seed. Many years later, finding myself at a loose end after finishing a BA, I thought I might enjoy editing so moved to Melbourne to study at Monash. I worked for a couple of publishing houses there, before moving back to Adelaide and starting (again) with Wakefield Press.
What does your typical day as an editor involve?
Mainly reading, which I guess isn’t surprising! Either that or checking emails or other small admin tasks to break up the day. We also have book launches and sales and other events, which are good fun and stop me from feeling like a total introvert.
What’s the most absurd or surprising thing that’s ever happened to you on the job?
Going to India with the Australia Council in 2017 sticks out. That was unexpected and amazing.
What’s the best thing about being a book editor?
Sometimes while I work I feel like an archaeologist with a tiny brush exposing an amazing piece of work. That feeling is pretty neat.
What’s the worst thing about being a book editor?
The constant and incurable worry that I’ve missed something.
What’s your pet editorial peeve (on the job or as a reader)?
Changing tenses halfway through a piece. Mainly because it’s such a pain to fix!
Also, surprisingly enough, exclamation marks. I use them all the time in casual writing, I think as an act of defiance against my work-self(!).
What kinds of things do you love to discover in a book (on the job or as a reader)?
Unexpected humour. While I don’t generally read comedy, I think the ability to make your reader laugh out loud without warning is very underrated.
What books are on your bedside table right now?
I’ve just finished Jane Harper’s latest book – which I thoroughly enjoyed – and I really want to read Elmore Leonard’s Out Of Sight, which Michael Bollen (Fearless Leader) lent to me.
The chances of me getting to it soon are slim to none. There’s always something else that needs to be read first.