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  • Lizi Dawes

Time Flies: Ten Years of PA EDitorial


So here we are, ten years later. People say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun,’ which is true, but it also speeds by when you’re working hard and growing a business.


I remember sitting on the sofa in the living room of my little terraced house with Pat one evening and deciding to turn our self-employed outfit as editorial assistants into a functioning business, with people working for us.


For two years, Pat had been training me to understand everything there was to know about journal management. I’d worked with her on several projects, asked a huge number of questions and spent the last 12 months working alone on my own projects.


“We spent days thinking of different names for our business; how could we stand out from the rest? What words would encompass what we do but also add personality or personalisation?”


Defining Us


It took some time, but eventually, we decided we would call ourselves PA EDitorial. You have probably figured this out for yourselves, but the PA is capitalised for Patricia Anderson and the ED in EDitorial, capitalised for Elizabeth Dawes.


We agreed that our services would focus on peer review management. With my prestigious customer service background and our mutual love for project management and organisation, we knew we could be more than just an agency or providers of a basic management service. We could excel – and we wanted to excel.


We asked ourselves even more questions: do we tell publishers we are mother and daughter? Will it influence our chances of being taken seriously? Would people presume that Pat was just doing her daughter a favour by slipping her a few contracts without due consideration or training? So we made another decision and decided to keep our relationship separate from our new initiative. Even though we knew some had their suspicions, and others certainly knew, we wanted to be as professional as possible.

From Little Acorns



Pat already had a few contacts in the profession, mostly with editors, but we wanted to work with some of the bigger publishers too. We knew that to grow our business, we had to plant the acorns for success.


So, the challenge was on! Some of the editors Pat worked with generously passed our details onto their contacts. We spent hours researching the right people at all the different publishers, the individual editors, societies, and various others that we could build long standing relationships with.


Eventually, word spread. Reputation and trust take a long time to build, but we started to receive quotation requests and were so excited. We not only believed in what we were doing, but others did too. Finally, we won our first contract with Taylor and Francis – an excellent journal we still manage today – Quantitative Finance.


Over the years, we worked closely with the editors, Jim Gatheral and Michael Dempster, to improve the workflow of their journal, implementing small changes and assisting them with the day-to-day questions, queries, and submissions. As a result, our relationship has gone from strength to strength, and they were kind enough to provide us with some wonderful feedback on our services.


“We have worked with PA EDitorial since 2012, first with Lizi Dawes and then more recently with Sadie Thrift. Both have provided our authors and us with prompt, dedicated and professional editorial assistance from the start. PA EDitorial has therefore become an indispensable part of our editorial process, and it is our pleasure to give them our highest possible recommendation.”


This kind of feedback was exactly what we needed to give us the boost to strive for more. Eventually, we transitioned this journal over to Sadie; she was our first freelancer and a perfect fit into our team with a strong work ethic, diligence, and considerate personality.


Better Together



As the business grew, so did our team. The following year, we took on another four freelancers, all but one still work with us today. Our ethos as a business is to provide our team with a pleasant and satisfying working environment. Even though our team all work from home, we want them to enjoy their work, the relationships with the journal teams, and of course, us.


Things have changed over the years: more systems, more rules and regulations, more spreadsheets to fill in and more information to document. This means we are rightly accountable to the publishers we work with, leading us to ensure that the same accountably exists within our team. To do this, we work diligently to select the best people we can – the people we feel we can trust.


“For this reason, we have the privilege of working with a wonderful team of intelligent, independent, and conscientious freelancers.”


As working mothers, both Pat and I believe in the importance of flexible working. Whether we have a child, are a carer for someone, have a disability, or simply want a positive work-life balance, we should all be entitled to choose how work fits into our lives: to decide when we work and how much we do.


When we take on a new journal, we are contracted to provide specific service level agreements to the publisher; this enables us to give our freelancers the flexibility to work hours and days to suit their lives. Flexibility is an integral part of how our business functions, and it is extremely important to both Pat and me.

With the continuing successful growth of our business, we now have a team of nearly 40 freelancers, mostly women. Some with no experience in journal management but recognisable potential to do well within this industry, others with many years of experience – some more so than me. Our team is strong; we communicate daily, applaud achievements and support struggles.




Being your own boss certainly comes with its challenges, but the rewards are exhilarating. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work and dedication it took for both Pat and me to create this positive place to be.


Giving Back Time




PA EDitorial has gone from strength to strength, which means the relationships we have are built on solid foundations. Our reach has successfully grown to the point where we now work with journals and publishers of all shapes and sizes across the globe.


In doing this, our aim is always to support and assist our journals, publishers and authors in a way that helps to give them back some of their valuable time so they can focus on the vital work they do.


With this year being our tenth anniversary year it seemed fitting to launch EDiTech officially at the beginning of 2021. EDiTech enables us to tailor packages that are bespoke to suit every need. To find out more, click here.


If you would like to know more about how PA EDitorial or EDiTech can help you, please feel free to contact me at info@paeditorial.co.uk.


PA EDitorial – No task too big or too small



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