The One Secret to Being a Good Editor

Sleepy cat

By Anne Perry

Posted on January 28, 2015 in Books with tags Life in Publishing

It’s not what you expect. (It might be.)

Yesterday, an editor named Mandy Brett posted a fascinating article about the realities of life as an editor. You can – and should – read the whole thing here. It touches not just on the fun, creative aspects of the job, but some of the darker, more difficult issues that editors face. But there’s one thing she doesn’t mention. It’s the one crazy trick, the single thing banks don’t want you to know, the ultimate secret that editors swear by. The thing that helps us focus, relax, and really dig in to whatever project we’re working on.

And that secret tool… is cats. Yes, cats haven’t just won the internet (and our hearts). They’ve also buffaloed their way into our professional lives. Let me explain.

pretty kitty

This is my cat Harvey. She’s named after the pooka in the Jimmy Stewart film (you haven’t seen Harvey? GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW. It is genuinely one of the funniest, sweetest films ever made.) Anyway. Harvey is aptly named, as she’s one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever known. She’s also really helpful.







helpful cat




Here she is, helping me read submissions.







harvey 2


She’s brilliant at helping me to focus; when she’s not reading alongside (or, erm, in front) of me, she’s rolling around on the floor being adorable. Happily, my heart – like all editors – is made of stone. I have never once, in professional career, set down what I was reading to go pat the kitty. Nope. Not once.






harvey upside-down


Not even when she’s being super adorable. Heart of ice-cold stone here, folks.










hungry kitty


This is my other cat, Peep. She’s also super helpful; her constant reminders that she’d like to be fed again, more, now, please, yes right now, are especially useful when I need to focus.








so many cats


In conclusion, cats are the one thing every editor can’t work without. Seriously, ask any editor you know. They all have cats.






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