Byte Connects: Nicole Johnston and Caroline Goldsmith

Posted by Monica Cardenas on 18 February 2022, in Byte Connects, Member news, News

Byte the Book loves bringing people from all areas of the publishing world together so that they can learn from each other and collaborate, and we want to highlight some wonderful collaborations that have come about via Byte The Book.

Here's writer Nicole Johnston (above, left) talking about meeting editor Caroline Goldsmith (above, right) at a Byte the Book event.

How did you meet?

I first met Caroline at a Byte the Book event at the Ivy Club around 2012, when she was running Red Button Publishing with Karen Ings – their independent publisher of fiction. I instantly felt I connected with her and, had my first crime novel been ready back then, I would’ve loved to have published with her and Karen. We met again in person at the LBF (pre-Covid) and since then she’s been stuck with me.

What did you ask Caroline to do?

I’ve worked with Caroline on two of my books and she’s stepped in to consult on a few of my book coaching clients’ books. The first project we worked on together was a non-fiction book I co-authored with Anna McAfee. It was a challenging project. We intended the book to tell the story of the #LinkedInLocal movement – a global network of local communities of professionals. More than that, we wanted to tell the good news stories that came out of the #LinkedInLocal which ranged from the impact on the lives of individuals to impacting entire communities. Anna and I were both far too close to the stories and the people behind them. We needed someone who could look at it from a distance but who also cared about the story enough to make sure that the book’s structure was clear but that the impact wasn’t lost. An additional factor was that we were co-authors and telling one story through two different voices – it took a superhuman editor with a huge amount of patience.

Caroline never lost sight of the story and would pull Anna and I back to a clear vision of what we were trying to achieve. She has a unique capacity to be very honest and yet we never doubted that she was on our side. That the book manages to capture the spirit of what #LinkedInLocal was and continues to be, is in no small part down to Caroline. In 2021, we celebrated the book with an online global launch joined by readers and collaborators from across the planet during an almost twenty-four hour period to cover all countries’ time zones.

The second project was my first crime novel – Death Throes, a police procedural about a serial killer. I am a pantser – I like to write fast and on instinct – which is great fun for me but, I imagine, a nightmare to edit. I found out that Caroline and I share a great interest in true crime so her added value was the knowledge she brought to my story. She kept me on the straight and narrow. The complete draft of the novel is now off with agents and I’m not sure Caroline shouldn’t have a billing.

What’s Caroline like to work with? 

She is my go-to editor and even if had I not known that she was a fellow true crime addict I would’ve wanted her to work on Death Throes with me. She has a unique capacity for honesty and delivering the truth while making it clear that she is 100% on your side.

The first thing that is clear about Caroline is that – despite her immense capacity for underselling herself – she is an expert. She has extensive experience of the publishing world – having worked in the industry for over twenty years. Anyone who has worked with her or heard her speak on the subject would say that there is a strong sense that she is someone who knows her stuff and someone who you can rely on.

She communicates clearly and you never have to guess what it is she’s trying to tell you. She always goes beyond the call of duty and I always felt that she was as invested as I was in getting the books we worked on in the best possible shape they could be in.

She’s a straight shooter but extremely supportive and gives me reality checks regularly when I needed them. I think editing is like ghostwriting. It very much helps if you feel a connection with the person working on your text and that you trust them. Both of things were easy with Caroline. She is also great fun, which is a bonus.

I’d recommend her to anyone looking for an extremely skilled editor and all round fantastic human being.

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