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Cathy Vallance, UQP editor
Posted 08.10.2020

Meet the UQP team: Cathy Vallance, editor

How long have you been in your role?

I started working at UQP as the children’s editor in 2012. I now work across the whole list, but I still have a soft spot for children’s and YA books.

What drew to you to being an editor?

I studied creative writing at uni, but I’m too much of a tortured artist to do it professionally. I have so much admiration for authors for being able to get their words, ideas and souls onto the page. Editing is the perfect job: I still make books but I get to skip the hard bit – writing them!

How did you get into publishing?

As part of my uni degree, I did an internship at UQP. I absolutely loved it and decided to pursue a career in publishing.

What does an average day look like for you?

I read. A lot. I read manuscripts on submission, revised manuscripts from authors and at least three sets of page proofs per book. I probably read each book about six times throughout the production process. At every stage I’m thinking, How can I make this book be the best it can be? I also write a lot: structural reports for authors, reader’s reports for publishers, blurbs, cover design briefs, so many emails! But mostly I project manage. I book in and brief designers, illustrators, proofreaders and typesetters; liaise with authors; post out manuscripts – I do anything that needs to be done to get the book made.

What’s the best part about your job?

There are many ‘best parts’. When you meet an author and you’re instantly on the same page creatively and you just know you’re going to love working with them. When you’ve provided editorial feedback to an author and they send in the redrafted manuscript and it is AMAZING! When a designer submits fantastic cover concepts. When advance copies come back from the printer and they’re so lush and beautiful and you feel so proud to have helped create them. I could go on…

And the worst?

Checking indexes and endnotes – but someone’s gotta do it!

Most memorable day in publishing?

I’ve had lots of proud moments, but a particularly special one was when two books I’d project edited took out their categories at the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in 2016. Working with Samantha Wheeler on her gorgeous middle-grade novel Everything I’ve Never Said was another career highlight.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on some fabulous children’s books, including the companion to Kate Gordon’s gorgeous gothic fairytale The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn.

What advice would you give someone wanting to work in publishing?

Read widely and outside of your preferred genres. Chances are you won’t always be working on books that you’d usually read, particularly at the beginning of your career, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add value. Try to get a job in a bookshop while studying (I never managed to, but I think it would’ve been insightful). Be prepared for the deepest and most frequent paper cuts of your life. But mostly: GO FOR IT! It’s a wonderful profession.

What do you like to read for pleasure?

My favourite books are the ones that are make me laugh and make me cry. I won’t name favourites because there are too many, but if I’m giggling over one page and bawling my eyes out the next, it will be in my heart forever.