After completing half a law degree, I veered off course in 2007 to follow a passion for books and editing promised by a diploma from the publishing course, only to end up right back inside legal circles as an editor for the publisher LexisNexis. The publishing course equipped me with the skills needed to work in a demanding and technical field of publishing from keeping up with fast-paced changes in the law and online content to maintaining editorial consistency over thousands of pages of intricate text in very specific subject areas.
I had an old-fashioned idea of publishing before starting the publishing course: some sepia photograph of a pile of manuscripts beside an old armchair, a pipe and maybe some whiskey, and all the time in the world to read and edit some soon-to-be masterpieces. The course proved that the real world of publishing is far more colourful. But I still got to play with that old-fashioned idea at LexisNexis, as legal publishing is populated with authors who have been in the business a long time and some things are still done the old way. Four times a day, I'd receive beautifully handwritten memos by fax with directions for updating a looseleaf text that had been the authority in land law for over 25 years. These would be followed up with congenial phone calls going into the finer points, and every now and then a 200-page fresh handwritten manuscript would appear in the mail, wrapped in a manila folder, which needed to be deciphered and typed, then edited and typeset, to eventually become a book. I loved that our office had a fax machine almost solely for this author relationship, and I came to really cherish the collaboration which was like plotting the next great novel - except this one was about commercial leases, covenants and types of tenancies.
The publishing course was a brilliant year for me and has led to great opportunities and memorable encounters.