This week on Talk Learn Connect, Writer Yvonne Reddin asks Content Writer, Literary Agent and Book Editor Jeremy Murphy, to share some TLC (Talk Learn Connect)

You have a broad range of work experience from working as a contributor in the Irish Catholic to the Sunday Tribune, was this diversity of workplaces a deliberate choice or something else entirely?

A little bit of both really. I graduated in 2007, after which I worked in advertising sales. I stayed in that industry for two years, before going back into education.
After I finished my master's, I did freelance work as a journalist, and I also taught part-time in various colleges and schools. It was a choice in the respect I was yet to fully settle on a career.
I felt my mind and interests pulling me in contrasting directions, and I had yet to find a career I felt was the right fit for me.
However, the economic climate at the time certainly contributed to this; when I finished my masters in 09 the country was deep in recession.
It was hard to find permanent work and one couldn’t be too choosy, I even took an unpaid internship at a local authority.

 

Jeremy profile pic

“YourStory is a new venture, but I have been working as a book editor for a lot longer and I probably have a little more to impart in that field”

 

Could you tell us about your campaign #atimetowrite?

Yes, I started that campaign as I felt the Covid19 pandemic was a perfect opportunity for people who may have considered writing in the past but never found the time to write.
These times we are living through are difficult in so many respects but I do feel writing and works of the imagination can be cathartic. People often say times such as these exacerbate the need to create and people subsequently seek imaginative vents.
The #atimetowrite campaign consists of a series of social media posts, mostly creative writing exercises, poetry recitals and other content, aimed at stimulating and inspiring people. I also offer some free editing advice and tips.

What was it that brought you to where you are now, founder of YourStory Publications & Content, can you tell us something extra about what you offer that nobody else does?

YourStory Publications & Content grew out of the work I was doing as a content writer. While I continue to do content writing for businesses of all types, I want YourStory to focus more on publications like brochures and guidebooks, particularly for the hospitality sector.
Last year, I worked as a content writer for listowel.ie, the website managed by Listowel Community & Business Alliance, the Chambers of Listowel in Kerry. My job was to write in the voice of the locals, with their tone and style of humor, as that captured everything unique about the town.  I felt it would be great to produce a series of guidebooks that applied this philosophy; produce authentic content in keeping with the location’s unique features and character.
I hope Open Killarney will be the first YourStory publication and capture what is unique about Killarney.
I do think my approach to editing is slightly different in the following respect; I think explaining to the writer what is working in the manuscript, what s/he is getting right, is just as important as analysing and explaining what is not working; appraising is just as important as critiquing.
Having your book appraised by a professional editor can be daunting for writers, and it, therefore, helps with morale when the editor has also analysed what the writer is doing right. It doesn’t mean I am a soft editor; far from it.
It means if I think the writer is making a mistake, I will be honest and explain and analyse in detail, but I will also explain in detail what s/he is doing right. It usually means I have to take a bit longer appraising, and my Reports - and a sample of one that can be viewed on my website - are very robust, but I feel the writer receives a better service in the end.

 

I have read many articles on the effects of the pandemic for publishers and authors in relation to launching new books, which has not been good for both.  But authors and publishers have found innovative ways to engage with their readers.  What have you found that has helped you in an innovative way?

I think it is too early to assess the wider societal and economic impact of the pandemic. We don’t know yet what changes will be long-term. If there is a greater migration online, that will of course change everything.
Not many people know this, but over 50% of books (certainly in the US) are already sold online, and if this figure increases dramatically it will force retailers and publishers to adapt; they will have to adapt, or they will die. It has been suggested that publishers may sell more books directly through their website.
This is not necessarily a positive development for me, as this could have a negative impact on competition, but I would certainly agree that the current situation, where one e-commerce giant has a virtual monopoly on the online market, is not good either.
On a personal level, I think people are interacting and engaging more in social media and networking platforms. This is positive. I also feel people are forming more online communities as a result of the pandemic; rather than just interacting one on one, I have noticed a trend towards social media communities, and I would be very interested to see whether this is backed up by data.
If used properly, this can give smaller businesses like mine possibilities to grow their networks.

Can you share any words of wisdom that helped you in your successful career?

You have to think of your client; what are s/he’s needs? What does s/he stand to gain by availing of your service?
This advice sounds simple, but it is very important when it comes to promoting your business and service.
Contact Jeremy here Jeremy Murphy
Twitter here @JeremyEditor
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