The Black Cat monthly round-up: December 2022

This is the fifth December round-up for Black Cat Editorial Services, which seems like an achievement in itself. As is tradition, it is time to consult my project-tracking spreadsheet. It tells me that my 2022 projects had a combined word count of 2,873,453. That’s slightly down on 2021, but it takes my career total to more than 15 million words. Some of the drop is explained by my tutoring time increasing to 176 hours for 2022. A good chunk of that was down to the CIEP’s end-of-year discount on courses in 2021 – it was very successful in attracting new students – so I’m not expecting it to be so high in 2023.

What I’ve been working on

I finished the critique I had been working on – contemporary romance (even with elements of fantasy) is a little outside my wheelhouse, but it was enjoyable to work on something a bit different to my usual fare. I moved on to the copy-edit of a manuscript I had critiqued an earlier version of. It’s always a huge compliment when one of my critique clients asks me to take on the copy-edit of their revised work, and I love being able to see how the story and characters have developed in response to the feedback I gave previously.

Book reviews

My latest book review for the CIEP has been published. It was a pleasure to read Louise Willder’s Blurb Your Enthusiasm: An A–Z of literary persuasion. It’s a book that can be read for fun and for a purpose – if you are an independent author who struggles to write cover copy, this would be a great place to look for inspiration.

Book post

I am fortunate to have some absolutely wonderful clients, and one of them is Ashleigh Bello. We first worked together during the first UK lockdown, when she was one of the precious indie clients who kept me going during that difficult period.

I’ve worked on five of her books in total and it has been one of the best experiences of my editing career so far. I think a great editor–author relationship is built on trust, honesty, team work, and humour, and we’ve pretty much got it nailed. It was a lovely Christmas present, then, to receive a copy of the beautiful paperback Ashleigh has produced for the first instalment in her epic fantasy series. I continue to be astonished by the quality of the cover art and I think it does justice to the world and characters she created.

Ashleigh’s very kind words made me a bit teary when I read them. I can’t really express just how much it means when a client takes the time to do something like this. It makes all the tough times worthwhile. I look forward to working together again soon. I know – spoiler alert – there’s a Belvedor prequel coming in 2023 and I can’t wait to find out what happens!

Looking ahead

I didn’t have that much of a Christmas break this year, so I’ll be taking the opportunity to relax a little at the beginning of January.

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