Working at Harlequin: Copyediting (and Sushi) with Gina Macdonald
Welcome back to our series on what it’s like to work at Harlequin. Today, we’re chatting with copyeditor Gina Macdonald! Gina gets to read your favorite books before they hit the shelves, and is here to share not only what she works on, but what she’s looking forward to reading next.
What is the first thing you do in the morning?
The first thing I do when I get into work (besides make sure I have my coffee!) is check my emails. Often I’ll have replies from queries sent out the day before, and I’ll want to resolve those first thing.
What does the average day in your role look like for you?
Every day is different in copyediting! Sometimes I’ll be working on copyediting a manuscript, but for in-house copy editors, that’s rare. More often I’m copyediting prelims (the copyright page, praise quotes and letter from the author at the beginning of a book) or marketing material.
Sometimes I’m working with manga: sending it out to freelancers to be copyedited or reviewing the copyedited files. Basically we receive manga files from Japan to copy edit, which are translations from Japanese comics (based on our English books) back into English comics. They can be challenging, but also a lot of fun to work on.
As well, throughout the day I’ll be sending or answering queries, and sometimes I’m asking my fellow copy editors for help with a tough grammar question.
What got you interested in the publishing industry?
I’ve loved books since I was old enough to know what they were, and I always knew I wanted my future career to have something to do with them. For a while I thought about teaching, but later I decided I wanted to read books before everyone else could—and it was a fabulous choice.
What piece of information or advice do you wish you knew going into your role?
This is tough, because I’m glad I had the learning experience of getting to know the romance industry and my position firsthand. Some broad advice, since our offices just moved downtown, might be that even though there are tons of amazing lunch options here, don’t spend all your money on sushi for lunch every day! Oops.
Tell us a funny story about something that happened while you were at work.
Often the funniest things I encounter are typos. I think my favourite recurring one is “wonton” when it should be “wanton.” Copyediting manga also has its moments; sometimes an idiom in Japanese doesn’t quite make sense when translated into English and you have to figure out what it means. A good example was “deciduous memory loss.” Apparently this meant “short-term memory loss”!
What upcoming books are you most excited about?
In terms of Harlequin’s books, I’m super excited about all the books from our new imprints, Hanover Square, Park Row and Graydon House. I’m especially looking forward to getting my hands on The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington by Charles Rosenberg. I also love our YA titles, and I can’t wait to read the sequel to All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis.
Remember to come back next week for the next post in this series!
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