Interview #1: Tamira K. Butler-Likely, PhD


Years editing: 3
Job title: First-line editor, freelancer
Job description: Editing research grant summary statements according to AMA format
Training: Poynter certification in copyediting, job experience 

EXPERIENCE

How did you get your current job?
I saw the job listing posted and applied because I wanted to stay up-to-date in the science field without actually working in the lab. I was not as familiar with AMA style, which was the guide that was used, so I had to study up on it and learn the internal style guide.

What positions have you held?
I own Likely Write Editing, so I have served as a freelance editor for books, academic grants, dissertations, and more.

DOING THE JOB

Are there any complementary skills that are important in your job?
My background in biological sciences and research is definitely important in my job. Understanding scientific terms helps me better identify errors.

Do you use any editing tools to get the job done (e.g., PerfectIt, Adobe stamps)? If so, which ones and can you give us an example of how?
I always do a full read-through myself, but I do use PerfectIt to improve my accuracy. For instance, PerfectIt will catch any inconsistencies in capitalization, spelling (grey vs. gray), etc., that I may have missed.

COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS

Are you the only editor in your department? If not, how do you and your colleagues talk about editing among each other?
I am not the only editor. The first-line editor position is a part-time position, so I believe most of the other editors also have other jobs. Each project is assigned a manager that communicates with the assigned editors on that project.

We don’t really communicate with each other, but we do with the manager of the project. The manager will then send out communications to the group as needed. We also have a team share page where updates are posted. Following the internal style guide is very important, so the communications that are sent are mostly feedback about any edits made that were against the style guide. An example of the error is given and the location of the direction in the style guide and the AMA manual is given.

Do you participate in a community (or communities) that supports editors? If so, what is it / what are they?
Yes, I am a member of ACES: The Society for Editing. I am also in a few Facebook groups (Editor Alliance, Business + Professional Development for Editors).

Some editors think the editing speaks for itself, that the hard work alone will advance their careers. Do you have any thoughts on whether editors need to do more (e.g., networking and talking about what they do)?
I do believe networking, posting on social media, attending conferences, etc., is important to grow and advance your career. While your hard work may also open doors for you via referrals, advertising for yourself is crucial as well.

THE PERSONAL

Tell us about a project that you’re proud of.
The Making of Some Kind of Feminist: A Poetic Journey of Reflections and Revelations, by Dana L. Perry. It is the first book of poetry that I’ve ever worked on and it really spoke to me.

Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?
I love to garden, spend time with my family, and travel, which is why I have a travel business on the side lol. I also love to bake and read non-work-related books.

RESOURCES

What resources would you share with fellow editors?
Poynter is great, and they have some free training courses (www.poynter.org). ACES is also great for networking and finding jobs, as well as training (www.aceseditors.org). The Purdue OWL is a great resource for different style guides (https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/resources.html).

4 thoughts on “Interview #1: Tamira K. Butler-Likely, PhD

  1. This is such an important project right now. One way for white people to support and amplify is (with permission) to include the featured editors in our referrals lists so when we have to bounce work we can also support POC.

    Like

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