It’s in our DNA – The Beginning and End of an Era
Once upon a time
One day, in 1983, Pat Anderson gave birth to a chubby bundle of joy. Years later, and after a whirlwind of numerous trials and tribulations, that little bundle is now bossing Pat Anderson around, trying to take over the world, and jumping – with enthusiasm – all the hurdles life throws at her.
In the late 90s, Pat worked alongside several professors at Sheffield University, providing administrative support. Recognised for her outstanding attention to detail, she was asked if she wanted to join a team of academics carrying out European research projects. Pat leapt at the chance. Always looking for a new challenge, she was excited to be travelling, meeting new people and researching – she was in her element.
The professors Pat worked with were editors of two reputable journals: one specialising in international development, the other in European finance. With her exceptional skills in management and organisation, the professors inevitably wanted Pat on their editorial teams. They recognised her skills and abilities and began to make good use of them.
Pat received recommendation after recommendation to other professors and editors; it wasn’t long before she left Sheffield University to become the manager of her own business in editorial administration.
It was a job Pat loved – flexible, fun, challenging, and interesting.
The bygone days of editing
In those days, editing was done ‘Blue Peter style,’ and Pat had to anonymise all three copies by literally cutting out authors’ names before sending them out for review.
I asked Pat how long it would take, from acceptance to final decision; interestingly, and despite the lack of email and manuscript submission systems, the process took roughly the same amount of time as it does today. With all the technological advancements, it’s hard to believe that we haven’t speeded the process up very much. That’s not to say technology hasn’t changed things; it has – a great deal.
But in days gone past, editors received lower numbers of submissions – and less frequently. They also weren’t under as much pressure as we are now. Reviewers were contacted via snail mail, and they weren’t bombarded with review requests flying into their mailboxes every few weeks. Reviewers could take the manuscripts they received on their train journeys, mark them up with a pen and send them back at their leisure.
We know that the technology we have in place today is invaluable; the speed we can publish research is incredible. The last 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic has proven just how important it is to have these resources. But we also know that the sheer volume of research has certainly come with its problems – trying to secure skilled reviewers being one.
The bossy bundle
The bossy bundle Pat gave birth to is me, Lizi Dawes.
I didn’t immediately follow in Pat’s footsteps, and found my career working in sales and customer services for prestigious brands. In late 2010, despite many successes, I knew it was time to focus on something different – something I could feel passionate about. I wanted flexibility, a challenge, and like most of us, to be in control of my own destiny.
I’d always had an interest in Pat’s work, and when she offered to train me in her editorial office, I took on the challenge. I worked alongside her for twelve months, learning the ropes and the nuances of the role. I enjoyed every minute of it – like it was made for me – and I wanted more.
Knowing which hat to wear isn’t a fashion statement. Working alongside a family member can be incredibly tricky.
From a very young age, I recall my parents running a business from home. I always knew that ‘work time’ was when I wasn’t allowed to run around the house screaming, and ‘play time’ was when the office door was closed for the weekend.
Pat described this to me as ‘business hats on’ and ‘business hats off.’ I still picture this visualisation today.
Pat and I can sit down and have important work-related discussions with our business hats firmly in place, then take them off and talk about holidays, what we’re having for dinner and who’s the new detective in Death in Paradise. For me, this is the ultimate tip for those wanting to enter the world of business with a friend or family member.
The perfect partnership
When we knew our partnership was the right path for us both, I started to approach the big publishers. Nothing is ever easy when starting out, and although we faced being turned down by many, we were given incredible opportunities by a few that counted.
My portfolio of journals soon grew, and I moved into working full time. I loved – and still love – the close-knit team of a journal, all working towards the same goal: the friendliness, the kindness, the exciting and interesting people. It was, and is, everything I had been looking for.
Our small business was born, and we gave it the name of PA EDitorial. The name did everything we needed it to do. Pat Anderson and Elizabeth Dawes. PA EDitorial. We officially launched in 2011, and in 2013 we took on our first freelance editorial assistant to work alongside us.
Over the years, our business has grown from strength to strength. We still manage one of the journals Pat acquired back in the 90s, and we’ve seen others come back around. Today, we manage a portfolio of over 100 journals. We work with various publishers offering peer review management support, copy editing, proofreading, journal support on various projects, and more. We have grown from a one-woman band into a substantial business. I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved together.
The end of an era
In our tenth year of business, Pat has decided to step down as an executive of the business and begin her well-deserved retirement. She has worked tirelessly since she was 16 years old. She is an absolute inspiration and the best role model I could ask for. It has been a pleasure working beside her for the last ten years.
To Pat, my mother, cheers, and here’s to you.
The future of PA EDitorial
So what do the next 30 years have in store for PA EDitorial?
With the successful launch of EDiTech last month and new business coming in for PA EDitorial and EDiTech, the editorial services we provide are going from strength to strength.
Will there be global domination? I wouldn’t go that far but, I love building new relationships with editors and publishers and providing the essential bespoke support to the academic world. I have a daughter of my own and wonder if her future will be entwined in our business as mine has. I know for sure that the positive relationship between Pat and I has enabled PA EDitorial to grow, and I am excited for what the future may bring.
Tips to inspire
Looking back over the past 30 years, both Pat and I haven’t been afraid to jump into the unknown. We’ve had faith in ourselves and worked hard to get where we are today.
Remember, everything is achievable, but it takes time and dedication to get there. I want this story to empower anyone thinking of taking control of their own destiny and to encourage them to take that leap of faith, to believe in their dreams and to go out and get them.
If you would like to discuss how PA EDitorial or EDiTech could assist you, then please get in contact at email@example.com - +44 7732 499149