Fiona Watson

Fiona Watson – Editor

20+ years as an editor/proofreader/project manager working across fiction and non-fiction books, educational resources and magazines.


I'm not totally sure how it happened, but apparently I have more than 20 years experience in the publishing world! During that time I’ve worked for government and a range of publishing houses, in both the fiction and non-fiction world. A large part of my career has been spent in educational publishing and I have worked across a wide range of subjects, year levels and resource types. I have recently started working more in the fiction and general non-fiction market, including fantasy, science fiction, romance and self-help genres. So if you have a primary maths book, a senior history website, a novel or a reference book that needs some loving tweaking, let me put my experience to work for you!

Extensive experience of:
• editing, restructuring and rewriting copy to ensure it is appropriate for the audience and media, both on hard copy and using Microsoft Word’s tracking changes function
• working closely with writers to ensure content is clear, accurate and appropriately structured
• developing and applying style guides and working with project managers and clients to guide the editorial direction of project materials
• prioritising and coordinating workflow and managing my time to ensure deadlines are met and projects are completed on time and within budget
• developing and implementing procedures to monitor and report on workflow, including developing project schedules and creating tracking sheets to ensure projects can be simply and effectively managed
• liaising closely with internal and external stakeholders to ensure the best-quality product is delivered.

Although my most extensive experience is in educational publishing, my early career was in magazines, something I loved, and I have recently been heavily involved with fiction and reference books. And I'm very much open to expanding my horizons and exploring new opportunities. So whatever your project, however big or small, I'd love to hear from you.
Children's Fantasy Literary Fiction Romance
Education & Reference Self-Help & Self-Improvement
English (AUS) English (UK)

Work experience


Sep, 2017 — Present

Key clients: Collins Learning, Leckie, Exam Papers Plus, Henry Jackson Society, Kindle Book Publishing
Key responsibilities:
• overseeing projects from receipt of manuscript to delivery of print-ready files
• editing and proofreading content – including fiction, poetry, self-help, Years 1 to 7 curriculum resources; 11+ revision material; GCSE, A-level and Scottish Higher study guides; political research papers
• working closely with authors, proofreaders and specialist reviewers to ensure high-quality content is produced
• liaising with in-house contacts to ensure they are up-to-date with how projects are progressing.
Key achievements:
• balancing the timelines of multiple projects and clients
• building strong working relationships with a range of clients and stakeholders, including authors and typesetters, to ensure quality projects are delivered on time.

HarperCollins Publishers

Dec, 2015 — Sep, 2017 (almost 2 years)

Key responsibilities:
• working closely with commissioning editors and freelance authors to develop briefs for a range of new titles
• reviewing manuscripts and providing feedback on appropriateness of content
• managing a team of freelance editors, proofreaders and typesetters and ensuring all deadlines were met
• advising on layout of books and finding and commissioning appropriate artwork
• editing and proofreading content and advising on possible amends to ensure content fits to pagination.
Key achievements:
• delivering a range of new Key Stage 1 and 2 titles that were developed and produced within a very tight timeline
• building strong working relationships with a range of internal and external providers.

Thomson Reuters

Aug, 2015 — Dec, 2015 (4 months)

Key responsibilities:
• overseeing the delivery of a suite of legal journals
• liaising with external journal editors, authors and freelance copy editors and ensuring deadlines were met
• editing and proofreading content
• uploading content to the company’s content management system
Key achievements:
• learning the complex and detailed house style guide
• mastering coding – a completely new role for me.

Department of Education, Queensland

Jan, 1998 — Aug, 2014 (over 16 years)

Key responsibilities:
• managing the workflow of a team of editors and formatters
• tracking where individual units were in the production process (there were up to 30 units in production at a time) and reporting on this to management teams
• recruiting and training new editors, monitoring their work and providing feedback
• working closely with members of other internal teams to resolve issues and ensure quality
• ensuring production timelines and targets were met
• advising key stakeholders on how to solve problems and improve processes
• editing and proofreading a wide range of print and online resources for students, teachers and public servants
• working with in-house and external writers to ensure all written content was as clear as possible and all illustrative material appropriate
• checking layouts and websites for accuracy and usability
• liaising with artists, designers, web developers, freelance staff and managers to ensure all project requirements were being met.

Key achievements:
• delivering a large number of high-profile and complex ongoing projects on time
• building strong and productive relationships within my own team and with other key stakeholders
• overseeing the transition from print-based materials to online content
• juggling the requirements of multiple managers.

Hobsons Publishing

Feb, 1994 — Oct, 1997 (over 3 years)

Key responsibilities:
• copy editing manuscripts, checking facts and rewriting as required
• writing headlines, introductions and photo captions
• proofreading, checking and amending layouts and editing copy to fit design
• ensuring deadlines were met by external editors and in-house and freelance designers
• arranging and chairing meetings and liaising with clients and in-house departments
• handling general administration and ensuring that titles were produced within budget.
Key achievements:
• Managed the delivery of a full-colour UK travel guide for people with disabilities. This involved working closely with the client and overseeing the project from initial copy to finished publication. Despite the complex nature of this new project, it was delivered on time and within budget.
• Being promoted to the position of Deputy Chief Sub-Editor, which involved managing staff, ensuring all deadlines were met and passing final page proofs to press in the absence of the chief sub.

European Christian Booksellers Journal

Sep, 1991 — Feb, 1994 (over 2 years)

Key responsibilities:
• commissioning and writing articles
• conducting interviews and compiling news items
• editing and proofreading content
• liaising with, assisting and advising the design department.
Key achievements:
• I initially joined this organisation as a secretarial assistant, but quickly moved into the role of editorial assistant and then editor with responsibility for all editorial matters.
• Implemented the transition from external typesetters to in-house formatting.



O’Shea, Stella


Stevenson, Vince

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