Thursday, 1 December 2011

My Self-Publishing Adventures: Part 4: Interview with Editor Nik Perring

Once I had selected the stories I thought I would include in my collection, I wanted a second opinion and an keen eye to check them over. There was no way I was going to self-publish anything without having it edited, so when I discovered The Story Corrective it was a no-brainer. I had known Nik Perring for a while online but somehow it had gone under my radar that he also edited short stories until I read a blog post he had written.

He did a fabulous job of editing my stories,  so I have invited him onto my blog for an interview.

Hi Nik, welcome to Ramblings of a Rusty Writer.

Hi Rebecca! It’s great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Nik Perring
Please could you give us your bio in under 50 words?

I’m an author and editor. I’ve had two books published (with one to come): ‘Not So Perfect’ is a collection of short stories which came out last summer through the wonderful Roast Books; and my children’s book, ‘I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do?’ was published by EPS in 2006. I also founded The Story Corrective.

(I know that’s a little bit over the limit, but what’s a few words between friends, eh!)

What sort of writing do you do?

All sorts! I started off writing for magazines and newspapers, almost ten years ago now. Which is scary. (Really, where did that go?) A little while after that I started writing fiction, and that led to (or solidified) my love of short stories. I had some published, then I published my children’s book, when I was 26, a few years later. And then I fell back into writing short stories and, as I mentioned earlier, was lucky enough to have a publisher as cool as Roast Books wanting to publish them.

So, while my writing’s been varied (I’ve also blogged regularly for over 5 years) it’s mostly been about, or around, short stories. I’m really lucky that people have seemed to really like them.

How long have you been an editor for and how did that come about?

I think that the moment you start taking writing seriously you become an editor of sorts. It’s the only way (unless you’re ridiculously talented or lucky – I am neither) to make your work good enough to be published, or good enough to do the story idea justice, or be good enough for people to enjoy it. It really is a huge part of the process.

But, technically speaking, I’ve officially been an editor since last summer when I started The Story Corrective, an editing consultancy specialising in short fiction. I wanted to provide a simple, efficient, and affordable service to people who want to make their stories better. And I’d been doing that, in different guises (behind the scenes for writer friends, and through teaching, and running workshops) for a few years, already, so it felt like a natural step to take.

I think a lot of people assume that editing’s a really complicated thing, and really it’s not – well, not all of it! All you need is an eye for it, and plenty of experience (which helps develop that eye) – and it’s not all about spotting misplaced commas and typos either; it has as much to do with understanding story shape and structure and how stories work, as anything else.

Do you prefer writing or editing?

I honestly love both. I think I simply love writing and words and stories. And while writing will always come first (I am a writer after all!) it’s really, really brilliant to be able to work with people and their words in other ways too – and editing and teaching allows me to do that.

What is your favourite thing about editing?

This is either going to sound horribly trite or really arrogant – but I really like being able to help people make their stories better.

And your least favourite thing about editing?

That’s a tricky one! I’d not really thought of that before. I love the job. I suppose the money could be better (though if it was, The Story Corrective wouldn’t be so darned fantastic value!).

You have recently had a collection of short stories published, please could you tell us a little bit about that?

Of course. ‘Not So Perfect’ is a collection of 22 short stories. Some of them are very short. Some of them are about things which might sound a bit odd. There are women in there who throw up small animals. There’s a boy in there who’s a shark. There’s a couple counting down the last five years of earth. There are also strawberries. And a lot about love and relationships and how we, as people, relate to each other. 

Do you have anything else in the pipeline writing-wise?

I do. Next spring, The Friday Project (HarperCollins) are publishing a book called Freaks!. I wrote it with the wonderful Caroline Smailes and it’s been illustrated in a really cool comic book style by Darren Craske . It’s another collection of  short stories (there are fifty in this one) and they’re all about people with superpowers, real or imagined. I’m super excited about it.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Nik!

You can find Nik's books on Amazon by clicking on the links below:
Not So Perfect
I Met A Roman Last Night, What Did You Do?

Click here to read the next post in this series: an interview with cover artist, Paul Townend.


  1. Nik’s ‘Not So Perfect’ is a wonderful book. I can highly recommend it. He’s incredibly modest about his abilities.

    Ironically as the BBC continues to downgrade the short story on Radio4 and replace it with yet more news, the short story seems to be blossoming as a format.

  2. p.s. I can also recommend it highly!

  3. Nice post! You can't beat having a good editor, I say. Good luck with Freaks, Nik - looks great!

  4. Thanks Pete! That's a fine thing to read!


  5. And thanks, Rachel! Thrilled you think so!


  6. And, of COURSE, thanks to Rebecca for inviting me here and for asking such great questions. Best of luck with A Knowing Look!


  7. Smart girl to get your work professionally edited before sending it out into the world! All the best to you and your book, Rebecca, and to Nik as well.

  8. Fantastic interview! Nik's 'Not So Perfect' is an amazing collection that I truly enjoyed. He' uber talented and if he wasn't so nice, I'd have to kill him.

  9. Oops - HE'S. See? I can't even edit properly.

  10. And thank you, Talli! But how are you so sure I'm nice?! I might not be, really! ;)

  11. What an interesting interview. I love Caroline Smailes writing so I definitely have to check Nik out :-)