Meet the team - Grammar Factory Melbourne publisher

Meet Jacqui

Position: Founder

Catch phrase: Saving the world, one apostrophe at a time.

Goes by: Jacqui (preferred), Jacq, Little Miss Pretty (you have to know me very well to get away with this), Jacqueline (hi dad).

Location: Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, though currently living in Tallinn, Estonia - the startup capital of Europe.

Education: Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing and Editing) from Monash University.

Books: Book Blueprint: How any entrepreneur can write an awesome book and Fund Your Book: 5 steps to form powerful funding partnerships (release date: May 2018)

Hello and welcome - I'm looking forward to getting to know you (and your book) better! For the moment, though, here's a little about me.

I’m a Melbourne-based publisher and editor who frequently gets itchy feet and finds herself working from far-flung corners of the globe. My team and I love working with business people, speakers and entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on the world, build their credibility and create more opportunities by self-publishing a book.

You see, a book can be a very powerful tool – the secret key that will open doors to hidden opportunities and the secret echelons in your industry. It also makes you feel pretty bad-ass (I mean, you become a published author!).

But it only works if you write a great book. And I believe that every entrepreneur and business leader can write a great book, but you need the right support to do it.

This is our role. You see, most of our authors aren't experienced writers. Most of them are time poor, and most haven’t written a book before. This means they don’t want an editor who will give wishy washy feedback, or a designer who doesn’t bring any original ideas to the table. They want the support and guidance that comes from working with a team of publishing experts.

So we will pull your book apart, examine the parts, reassemble it and polish it so it shines. We will put a professional cover on the front that will look right at home on the shelves at Dymocks next to the latest bestsellers. We will print it on the same presses that major publishers like Penguin use for their books. And we will make your book available around the world via 1,800+ online retailers. (Want to learn more? Check out our book publishing services.)

In other words, while many self-publishing companies offer the bare minimum, we go above and beyond.

Why? Because I believe ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough. You are writing a book that represents your knowledge, skills and expertise. You're writing a book that represents your business, or that will propel you to take the next step in your career, and mediocre content isn’t going to cut it. It needs to be great. And a human spell check isn’t going to raise it to that standard.

That’s why we never return a mediocre book to a client. While most books come to us with the potential for greatness, we never let them leave our desks until they are actually great.

Meet Sara

Position: Editor

Catch phrase: Make the right mark!

Goes by:  Sara (no h!)

Location: Middle Earth (also known as New Zealand) has been my home for the last few years

Education: Masters in Theology from the University of Cambridge

Books:  The Night Butterflies (a dystopian thriller)

It’s my mission to help people get their words out into the world. I think everyone has a book in them, and seeing thought leadership spark inspiration and stories brought to life are what make my world go round. A book is not only a labour of love but also a work of art – being able to help structure, shape and shine the final piece is a precious process requiring energy and commitment. I love engaging with ideas both familiar and new, helping craft the vessel through which they’re shared in such a way as to make the messages clear and relevant for those embarking on the journey.

I consider myself more an ‘English language enthusiast’ than a member of the ‘Grammar police’, but I can’t deny a passion for correct punctuation that borders on obsession. Rather than twitch at text speak, I channel my powers for good by making sure your book is architecturally sound, both impressive to view when it comes to overarching structure and tied together solidly on a line-by-line level. As a self-published author myself, I know the value a professional editor brings to a book – they are an integral part of presenting a credible body of work to the world. Let me help you bring your book to life!

Meet Gina

Position: Editor

Catch phrase: Friends don’t let friends use filler words.

Goes by: Gina, although sometimes I put on a mask and pretend my name is Gigi the Jargon Slayer.

Location: Melbourne’s funky inner north.

Education: Bachelor of Music (Honours, Griffith University), Graduate Diploma of Divinity (Ridley Melbourne) and Certificate in Professional Editing and Proofreading (Open Colleges).

I’ve played with words all my life, and while I like to read and write I love to edit. Helping an author re-engineer their own words to produce a clear, persuasive and unique book is an intensive process, and one I become thoroughly immersed in. Seeing those carefully crafted words emerge on a flawless printed page makes the intensity worthwhile.

Editing is a stealth art, and I like to pretend I’m a bit of a ninja (albeit a rather nerdy one – swap the nunchucks out for glasses and a thesaurus). We editors slip in behind the text to smooth out awkward expression, plump up underfed ideas and weed out random acts of punctuation. We tend to shaky structure as well as wordy clutter. We make arguments pointier and punch lines punchier. Then we disappear, leaving readers none the wiser. And that’s the way it should be, because a professional editor’s job is to bring out the author’s best writing so they can share their great ideas with the world. Let me work behind the scenes for you – it will be your own voice that shines through.

Meet Michelle

Position: Editor

Catch phrase: You had me at the proper use of ‘you’re’.

Goes by: Michelle, Mich (preferred), M, Michie Moo, Michmellow… the list goes on.

Location: Albert Park by day, Elwood by night (though I’m always planning my next holiday).

Education: Double degree from Curtin University, majoring in journalism and performance studies (theatre darrrling).

Books: One day. I’ve written a blog – does that count?

After trying my hand at journalism, I discovered I much prefer being on the other side of the fence, helping writers – trained and untrained – whip their words into polished, publishable content. A self-confessed grammar nerd/perfectionist/stickler, I actually get a rush of endorphins when I see well-written, perfectly punctuated text (perhaps because it’s so rare).

I believe the key to a good book is the author’s ability to present a big idea, well-expressed benefits, a logical thread and a satisfying conclusion. That’s a big ask, which is why it’s so important to work with an editor – preferably one who knows what they’re doing and has a genuine interest in the finished product. I’ll give you an honest appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of your book, and guide you through the writing and editing process, to help produce a book you’re proud to put your name on.

Meet Carolyn

Position: Editor and Chair of the Save the Semicolon Committee

Catch phrase: Keep calm and hire an editor.

Goes by: My name, which is Carolyn; not Caroline. Although some call me the Word Warrior.

Location: Beautiful bayside Melbourne, four blocks from the beach, in the world’s smallest house.

Education: Bachelor of Arts from Melbourne Uni, majoring in English and history, plus a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Speech from La Trobe.

Books: I’ve written a few. My titles include Surviving Redundancy; by Someone Who Did (Wrightbooks, 2003), Blake’s Go Guide to Renovating Your Home (Pascal Press, 2004), As You Were; the History of the Altona RSL (2006), The Workies; 50 Not Out (2009), plus numerous local histories for community groups, businesses and families.

I like reading books too, but have a nasty habit of re-writing them in my head as I go along. I’ve also been obsessively re-writing signage since the age of seven. Restaurants with blackboard menus beware – I’ll erase that incorrect apostrophe before you can say ‘possessive’! Fortunately, Grammar Factory is a haven for punctuation vigilantes, and now I have a safe outlet for my addiction.

As the author of a few books, I understand that producing one is always a team effort. Authors aren’t magicians whose fingers pour out perfect words as they type. They need help from a dispassionate third party who will hit the delete button fearlessly and give them the unvarnished truth about their manuscript. But they also need someone who can help find solutions to their writerly dilemmas and guide them down the difficult road to publication. And self-published authors need someone like this – a professional editor – even more. So please, send your diamond in the rough to me, so I can polish it to perfectly punctuated glory.

Meet Julia

Position: Cover designer

Catch phrase: Creativity is a drug I cannot live without

Goes by: Julia or Julz

Location: Sydney, Australia

Education: Graduate Diploma in Advertising and Graphic Design (Lorraine Martin College)

I've been a creative at heart for as long as I can remember. Back in school, I was my happiest in an art class with some scraps of coloured paper and a paint brush.

Fast forward 15 years, I am combining my love of design and marketing, allowing me to wake up each morning and do what I absolutely love, which is helping self-published authors bring their important message into the world by creating beautiful book covers that sell!

Specialising in both fiction and nonfiction books, I've  had the privilege to design covers for some of Australia’s leading authors and entrepreneurs.

And yes I do secretly buy books I have no intention to read purely based on their covers. I also choose wine based on how good the labels look.

Meet Charlotte

Position: Internal layout designer

Catch phrase: I didn’t choose the design life, the design life chose me.

Goes by: Charlotte, Charls didn’t really stick.

Location: South side, Melbourne, Australia

Education: Bachelor of Arts (Graphic Design), Monash University

Never for a second was I not going to be a graphic designer. Except for that one misguided week in primary school when I thought archaeology might be fun because I dug up some porcelain in the school playground, but Raiders of the Lost Ark mercifully put a swift end to that – because, you know, snakes.

My first job was in publishing (magazines) and via corporate identity design, catalogues, websites, advertising, signage, having a bunch of kids, album covers, educational texts, more magazines, I’ve come full circle. Back in publishing, and happily ingesting copious amounts of information as I lay out books, books and more books. Ask me anything – guaranteed I’ve read all about it. I vicariously live through the words of a book-to-be whilst making them look awesome, because presentation is everything (and also I’d much rather read about the snakes than see them in real life).

You will find me in my studio geeking out about font-pairings, or out in the wild catching Pokémon.

Meet Jake

Position: Publishing assistant

Catch phrase: Where does the comma go? 

Goes by: Jake, Jakey, Jakey Chan, Eurasian Persuasion

Location: I live in Bogor, Indonesia, but I’m a dual nationality kid – English from my dad’s side, Filipino from my mum’s side. That’s where the term ‘Eurasian’ comes into play.

More than anything, my passion is learning. For me, there is nothing more exciting than learning new skills and developing existing ones. I like to consider myself Jake of all trades – apart from assisting with the publishing process, I can also (kind of) fix broken wooden chairs!

I’ll be honest though. Grammar is not really my forte. It seems to be a trend with the Grammar Factory dudes (hi Squishy!). Thankfully, there’s a lot of editors on my team to help out (and yes – they did edit this for me).

Luckily, you can breathe easy because I won’t be writing or editing any of your work! I’m more of a guide buddy throughout the publishing process. From keeping the project on track to answering any questions, all the way to helping you pick a headshot for your book, if desired. Whatever it is you need, to borrow a line from Randy Newman, you’ve got a friend in me.

Meet Squishy

Position: Eggitor in training

Goes by: Squishy, the Squishmeister, Squishy McSquishalot

Location: Melbourne, Australia (until my dance career takes off)

Education: Personally schooled by Gonzo the Great in musical theatre

I don’t do grammar. Or factories. Factories and chickens don’t get along. Neither do chickens and grammar, for that matter.

I also don’t do lamps. My daddy (Jacqui’s significant other) once sat me on a lampshade because he thought it looked like I was wearing a skirt, and I burnt my butt on the light bulb he neglected to turn off. I’m not a fan of skirts either, but the lamp (and the abuse) is the bigger issue here.

You may have noticed that I’m about the big picture. Typos, spelling mistakes, errant apostrophes … not really my thing (sorry Jacqui). My thing is to make you see your potential – for you to know that you have a book in you, and that that book has the potential to make it big. I’m thinking interviews, TED talks, Oprah – the works.

I hope that, if I keep sucking up, I’ll end up on one of your covers one day.