How did you get your current job, and what positions have you held?
I officially started my company almost three years ago. Before that, for two years, I worked as an assistant site director at an assisted living facility for previously homeless elders. I wanted direct service work experience. While working there, I became a board member of the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, took a grant-writing class, and wrote (and partially won) my first grant for the organization.
I then started writing more grants as a volunteer and doing prospect research for nonprofits. I eventually left the living facility and became an educational programs assistant at a company that managed educational trips to Africa, where I wrote and edited itineraries and educational material. I also briefly worked at the Greater Boston Food Bank as a grant writer.
I realized I enjoyed editing more than writing. I wanted to copyedit but couldn’t find any copyediting jobs. So I looked for something that wasn’t just copyediting.
I got a job as a production coordinator at a transcription company and was tasked with duties that included editing a variety of transcripts: finance, legal, academic, medical, government, marketing, and history. I persuaded the director to let me copyedit their training manuals, operational documents, and marketing materials. While I was at this job, I got more involved in the editing community, worked on getting a copyediting certificate from University of California, San Diego (UCSD), did volunteer copyediting, and set up my business. The day I quit, I was informed that I passed a copyediting test for a journal and was offered a weekly amount of work that paid close to what I was being paid at my employer. So I was thrilled!
What copyediting training have you had?
I completed the UCSD copyediting certification program and have taken numerous webinars. I also read a lot of books on writing, editing, and grammar.
Before I started my company, I took the Freelance Accelerator Workshop led by Laura Poole (of Archer Editorial Services) and Erin Brenner (of Right Touch Editing), which really helped me learn how to run an editing business.
DOING THE JOB
Are there any complementary skills that are important in your job?
I have a B.S. in economics and an M.S. in crime and justice studies. Since I mainly edit in those areas, having that education really helps me understand the material.
Do you use any editing tools to get the job done (e.g., PerfectIt, Adobe stamps)?
I use PerfectIt, and I use Adobe stamps when I am marking up text in PDFs.
COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS
Do you participate in a community (or communities) that supports editors?
I am part of a mastermind group that consists of three other women who are similar in age (late 30s to mid-40s). Two editors in the group came up with the idea and invited me and another editor. We meet once a month and discuss a topic, e.g., professional development, marketing, websites, systems, and metrics.
I am also a member of ACES: The Society for Editing and the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA). I was a chapter coordinator for the EFA Boston chapter for two years. I’m also part of Facebook groups for editors: Editors of Earth (public), EAE Backroom (private), Business + Professional Development for Editors (private), and Academic Editors (private).
Some 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)?
Networking is helpful, but learning how to market yourself is really important. I had a business mentor (a fellow editor) who helped me figure out how to market myself to my ideal client. So finding a mentor, clarifying what makes you stand out, finding where your clients are, engaging with them, and finding a niche can really help your business. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to marketing.
Tell us about a project that you’re proud of.
There’s not one in particular. I mainly do academic editing, so when I see a published paper that I’ve worked on, I get pretty happy.
Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?
I enjoy swimming, biking, and spending time with my husband and seven-year-old dog.