Interview 30: Renee Clark

Recent graduate
Major: Business Administration
Location: Florida

What interests you about copyediting?
One of the things that interests me about copyediting is the challenge of learning something new. About a year ago, I was itching to change careers and find something that was more fulfilling. While I was skimming possible courses to take — and different job boards — the website for the Editorial Freelance Association (EFA) popped up. After searching the site, I thought this would be a great place to start. And, luckily, it was! 

What area(s) of copyediting are you interested in?
I am most interested in blogs and articles centered around the current retail space and retail technology. But as I gain more experience, I hope to copyedit short stories and young adult novels. 

How are you nurturing/developing your interest in copyediting (or similar interests), especially during COVID?
Taking courses through the EFA has been extremely helpful. I have taken copyediting courses and listened to webinars on how to build a freelance business. I am now practicing using The Chicago Manual of Style. Also, I have joined ACES: The Society for Editing to continue my course training. I plan to attend the ACES annual conference in April. It will be my first conference, so I am a little sad that it won’t be in person — but I’m really excited to connect with other editors and enjoy the experience.

What, if any, copyediting experience have you had so far, and what did you like about the project, organization, or tasks?
My copyediting experience comes from projects given to me by friends and family. One proofreading project from a friend focused on how to give the best customer experience. It was a small project, but I felt good about helping her enhance her thoughts and create a cohesive project she could feel proud to share with her team. Currently, I am seeking work with local businesses and nonprofit organizations to build my portfolio. 

What would most help young editors (and editors of color) enter the editing profession?Staying consistent and staying positive. Looking for copyediting work can be daunting at first. One of the courses I took through the EFA was called Getting Editorial Work from Publishers and Book Packagers. That course helped me change the way I search and ask for work. I found out what a letter of introduction was and the importance of setting up a to-do list for marketing yourself and strategizing about your goals. The course also covered using social media. Joining groups and following other editors, authors, and publishing companies can be a great way to find clients who may be interested in your skill set.

Anything else you might want readers to know about diversity in editing/publishing, or about starting out in this profession?
If you are just starting out in editing, I would suggest finding a niche, something that you are an expert at that can really show off your knowledge. Connecting with other professionals in that area could, potentially, get you your first job. I found my niche with my retail background and have connected with some great people. I’m crossing my fingers in hopes of finding my first gig soon.

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