IPEd

Greta Lukavic

2021 IPEd Student Prize winner

Greta Lukavic, a student at the University of Melbourne, has won the 2021 IPEd Student Prize with her essay, ‘Analysing the Legal and Ethical Issues Arising from Margaret B Jones’s Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival and Localising the Ramifications of Publication’. Pamela Hewitt spoke with her.

How did it feel to hear that you were the winner of the 2021 IPEd Student Prize?
I was surprised and flattered. The news that I had won the prize was also accompanied by some lovely feedback from the judging panel, which was greatly appreciated. It’s always a pleasure to explore a topic you are interested in, and to discover there is an industry-based audience who engage with your ideas is the icing on the cake.

Can you tell us something about how you came to pursue studies in editing?
I previously worked with some outstanding editors on my own creative projects. These opportunities offered me an insight into an editor’s world with the way they can reshape, elevate or clarify a piece of work.

Editors are industry specialists who can help writers better understand their audience and retarget their content. They have to keep their finger on the cultural pulse and understand marketplace shifts, audience values and current trends.

After completing my undergraduate degree in English Literature and Theatre Studies/Creative Writing, I began studying for my Master’s Degree in Publishing and Communications. I focused most of my curriculum around the publishing component as I grew increasingly interested in the many editorial roles that exist within the publishing world.

What sort of editing interests you most?
I’m very interested in structurally editing novels. It can be such a treat to work with a passionate writer who will either (rationally!) push back against or follow your suggestions.

If I was able to choose my own editing projects, I would lean towards genre fiction — especially YA centred around a diverse character cast — because I know how formative these works can be to their readerships, meaning there’s a real opportunity to creatively reinforce social change.

Do you see your future in publishing as an in-house or freelance editor?
Ideally, I’d prefer to work as an in-house editor. I’ve done a bit of freelance work and find it challenging to set myself parameters when I’m off the clock.

I would much prefer the structure and support that comes with being part of a larger team, knowing that my role as an editor will be backed up by marketing, design and legal departments.

How do you regard the challenges and opportunities for new entrants to publishing?
It can be challenging to chip your way into the publishing world since the Australian industry is considerably smaller than other overseas markets. Nonetheless, we are lucky to have a few local independent and global presses offering a range of internships.

Never discount the experience you will get from working on a student journal. The skills you’ll pick up are transferable and will help to clarify the kind of positions you are interested in. There are many types of editors — acquisitions, proofing, structural and commissioning — and this can be an important first step towards understanding the type of editor you want to be.

Do you have any advice to anyone considering enrolling in an editing course?
Brace yourself for a tonne of reading! You will have to reread a text dozens of times but also keep up a certain level of hobby reading if you want to be conversant with current industry trends and evolving genre conventions.

Additionally, remember that proofing content is only part of the job. You’ll also spend a great deal of time communicating with your team, with your clients and with other departments. Interpersonal skills are just as important as technical ones.

Lastly, remember to network with your course mates. The Australian publishing industry is very close-knit so the people you are studying with may be your future colleagues.