Posts filed under Editing

Marissa Page: Senior Writer & Editor

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Name: Marissa Page

Age: 25

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in English, M.S. in Management

Current Location: Phoenix, AZ

Current Form of Employment: Sr. Writer and Editor 

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

Policy and procedure editor at a financial services company. 

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I got my first "official" (i.e., paid/non-internship) job—a staff position as an editorial aide at my university—through connections I made during my very first editorial internship. It pays to network and put yourself out there, even if it seems uncomfortable at first. Peers and mentors you meet in your first job(s) are your biggest allies. I still list many of them as references on applications, and do my best to check in with them at least once or twice yearly to maintain those relationships. 

Additionally, I didn't turn down any chances to put my resume out there, even if it was just on a local job board and seemed like a long shot. I'm so glad I did, because my current employer found my resume on one of those postings and reached out to me directly to schedule an interview. It just goes to show that you never know who is paying attention! 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career? 

My current role as a policy and procedure editor has been significant in developing my professional writing skills. I've learned the importance of editing without sacrificing meaning, and that every single word matters, particularly from a compliance perspective. Additionally, learning how to turn complex technical documentation into clear and concise language that anyone can understand has proven to be an invaluable skill, one that also helps me with my personal writing when I find myself being a little too verbose. My senior manager had my team read a book called On Writing Well by William Zinsser, in which the author writes, "Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it that shouldn't be there." That is my mantra these days. 

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did as many university internships as possible, and sought positions as a student worker that directly applied to my college major and long-term career goals. The beauty of school-sponsored opportunities is that those types of mentors value your long-term goals and simultaneously recognize that you first need to excel as a student before you can reach those bigger aspirations. It's a nourishing type of professional development, one that won't leave you drained or overwhelmed. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Be confident in your goals, but creative in how to achieve them. When applying for jobs, consider the types of companies that need writers and editors, but aren't typically the first employers that come to mind, such as hospitals or tech companies. As an undergrad, I never imagined myself working in financial services, but I've completed some of my most important and rewarding work as a writer and editor in this industry. 

Lastly, it's never your job to tell yourself no. If you see an opportunity that excites you, even if you think it's a long shot, you owe it to yourself to pursue it. Your knowledge, capabilities, and experience—and the positive ways in which others perceive those things—may surprise you, unlocking doors that you yourself may have left closed.

You can connect with Marissa on LinkedIn here and follow her blog here!


Posted on March 1, 2018 and filed under Writer, Interview, Interviews, Editor, Editing, Writing.

Megan Barnard: Editor

Name: Megan Barnard

Age: 24

College & Majors/Minors: Hollins University: English major with a concentration in creative writing. Double minors in communications and history. 

Current Location: Baltimore, MD

Current Form of Employment: Full-time editor at Angel Publishing

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm currently an editor at investment research firm, Angel Publishing. I primarily work for Energy and Capital where I write blog posts, PPC (pay-per-click) articles, marketing copy, and copyedit.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I spent at least half of my senior year applying to writing/editorial jobs… And I found nothing. Job hunting was nearly a full-time job on its own. It was incredibly frustrating to see all these entry-level jobs that needed 1-2 years of experience. I ended up getting a job working customer service in a call center (which I had about 4 years of experience in) for a travel agency in Boston.

I spent about 9 months in the call center… and found that it was not for me. I had moved back to Maryland (where I’m from) at this point and telecommuted for work, but I desperately wanted out of customer service. I did anything I could to make myself stand out: I polished my LinkedIn, I contacted alumni from my university, and I applied to all jobs that possibly fit my experience.

I found the job posting for my current job on Craigslist. I applied immediately and got an email back that day, then had an interview and job offer within a week.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

It wasn’t a job per-se, but I wrote a Senior English Honors Thesis during my senior year of college. The thesis wasn’t required to graduate, but I found that the time and research I had to put into it (I was writing a novel), along with the hours of actual writing and one-on-one meetings with my thesis advisor were vital for developing my writing skills. It also gave me the opportunity to work on my writing daily, and helped me realize that writing and editing was actually something I loved to do each day. It confirmed that I was in the right field of study.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I wrote my Senior English Honors Thesis. I created a resume and LinkedIn account, I kept my GPA high and became a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society. I also doubled minored in history and communications. History, because I loved the subject, and communications, because it pairs really well with an English degree and looks good on a resume. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don’t give up. Don’t listen to the people who laugh when you tell them you’re getting your degree in English (those “you’ll be my next barista” jokes are obnoxious). English is a beautiful field of study, and you can succeed at it.

My top tips:

Create a LinkedIn account. It’s actually way more important than you might think during school. Make sure it looks professional, with your resume and a headshot, and then connect with people from your school, no matter how much you hate networking.

Network. I know, I hated this part too. I think half of us become an English major because we like working with words, not people, but networking is a vital part of the career world. The more comfortable you become with it now, the better it will be. It’s okay to be afraid, but do it anyway.

There are jobs in the field of English—but you have to look for them. Finance and IT are fields that always need writers and editors. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in finance or IT, apply anyway. I was hired at my current position without knowing anything about the world of finance, but most editors would rather hire someone who knows how to write and teach them about their topics, rather than teach people how to write.

Apply to jobs you don’t technically have enough experience for. I’m not talking about jobs that need 10+ years of experience, I’m talking about the entry level ones that say 1-2. Here’s a secret: almost all job listings say that they want 1-2 years of experience, even if they’re actually looking for people who’ve just graduated. The worst thing that can happen is they say no.

I know a lot of English majors are interested in getting in the traditional book publishing field. I was too, but I didn’t have any information about how to get into those fields, and the career center at my school was not very helpful.

Since then I’ve learned some things. A lot of literary agencies look for interns. I mean a lot. I never had the chance to apply to them, but you can. Bookjobs.com has a lot of listings, but you should also go on the individual websites and look for internships. They say they don’t have any? Send your resume and cover letter anyway. After all, you’re offering free (most literary internships don’t pay) help, so what’s the worst that can happen? Some agencies and publishing houses even have remote internships that you could do while in school.

Lastly, the field of English is one of the most undervalued, but important fields we have today. There are very few jobs around where you don’t have to read and write well, and while it might not be your dream job, you can find a job using the skills you learned in school. Don’t give up. 

To learn more about Megan and her writing, visit www.englishmajorswithjobs.com. You can also follow Megan on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


Posted on July 15, 2017 and filed under Editing, Editor, Publishing.

Cassie Armstrong: Freelance Editor

Name: Cassie Armstrong

Age:

College & Majors/Minors: BA in English literature with a minor in history; MA in English with an emphasis in folklore

Current Location: Colorado Springs

Current Form of Employment: Freelance editor who owns her own business

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm the owner of MorningStar Editing LLC. I'm an editor.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first job out of college was a cashier in a college bookstore. My husband and I had moved to Flagstaff so he could go to grad school at Northern Arizona University. I saw a notice that said "now hiring" and applied to be one of the cashiers. Eleven years ago I quit teaching to be available to take care of my infant grandson. After taking care of him for a few years I decided I needed something else to do in my "spare" time. I had been a college English teacher and thought that I could be an editor. I acted on that thought and picked up the phone and called a few local publishers. From there, I started my freelance editing business. I love working with words and can't imagine doing anything else.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Teaching. I was a substitute teacher, an adjunct for three community colleges in three different states, a staff reporter for a business journal, and a university college English teacher who taught freshman comp and research to sophomore English students. Writing has always been an important part of my career.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

While I was in college, I only wanted to be a teacher. That was my focus and goal. But I didn't take education classes. Instead, I took classes in ethnic studies, ethnic literature, and folklore even before those classes were cool. Those classes instilled in me a love of different cultures. They also helped me appreciate differences. This has been invaluable for every job I've had since college. This also comes in handy when I edit cookbooks, craft books, or other types of nonfiction and fiction.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don't listen when your family asks you what you're going to do with a degree in English after you graduate. Appreciate your communication skills and your ability to analyze. Think about your interests and abilities. Find something you love and pursue it.

To learn more about Morningstar Editing, visit www.morningstarediting.com. You can also follow Morningstar Editing on Facebook, connect with Cassie on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter


Posted on March 11, 2017 and filed under Editor, Editing, Interview, Interviews.

Robin Epley: Magazine Section Editor

Name: Robin Epley

Age: 26

College & Majors/Minors: California State University, Chico: B.A. in English Literature, B.A in Journalism, News/Editorial Option, Minor in History

Current Location: Sacramento, CA

Current Form of Employment: Magazine Section Editor

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I currently work for Comstock's magazine in Sacramento, CA. It's a monthly regional business magazine that covers 10 counties in and around Sacramento. I am the Special Sections Editor, which means I conceive, pitch, write and/or assign 3-5 stories every month that have to do with a special topic — last month we covered a specific county, next month we're solely covering architecture, so it varies a lot.

Some people would call this "advertorial" journalism, in that we sell ads against the stories in this section and also I work with the Sales team here to come up with the best topic for that month. But the stories are 99% my ideas and my or my writers' execution. I also am a feature writer, which means that often, I'll write one of the 4-5 feature stories for the magazine. My first feature for Comstock's ended up being the July cover story! Additionally, my work as an editor means I'm reading articles for most of my day and copyediting them, which can span anywhere from a 500-word blog to a 5,000-word feature article. I can often be found with a red pen in hand, and I hoard them from my coworkers!

 My first day at Comstock's! :)

My first day at Comstock's! :)

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first writing gig was as a weekend reporter at my college town's daily paper. Obviously, the regular reporters don't want to work on Saturdays and Sundays, so they would hire a journalism student from the college to fill in those days. I worked at that job for the last 2.5 years of college, every single weekend. I'd usually have a photographer with me and would cover 4-5 local stories. Sometimes it was just re-writing press releases, but I often did on-the-spot news reporting and covered emergencies. I actually saw 2 dead bodies at that job (at separate times) and got shot at for driving too close to someone's pot farm up in the boonies of Oroville. (Technically they were shooting into the air to warn me/other reporters and responders away... but still!)

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I'd have to say my freelance writing has always been really important to me and my career. I moved to Boston after college for a few years and really struggled with the freelance life. I ended up taking a lot of retail and waitressing gigs just to pay the bills. But I have always wanted to be a writer and editor and I knew I'd make it happen someday. When I moved back to Sacramento a year and a half ago, (where I'm from, originally) I got hooked up with some local journalists who really made an effort to make sure I had connections and opportunities, and I will always be grateful for their help. I got my current job at Comstock's because one of those journalists set me up freelancing there, before I ever even considered applying for an editor position. It was the freelancing that I think got me the job, because they knew my work and what I was capable of. I still freelance for various sites, including a tech-in-government site and Bustle.com.

“It was the freelancing that I think got me the job, because they knew my work and what I was capable of.”
 This very green photo was taken by the newspaper photographer while I was on an assignment at a soup kitchen in college. I was probably 20 years old? 

This very green photo was taken by the newspaper photographer while I was on an assignment at a soup kitchen in college. I was probably 20 years old? 

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

Just write. Write so, so much. Even if it's horrible awful stuff that you'd never show to anyone, even if it's a poem about how your big toe hurts today, write write write. My favorite song from Hamilton is "Non-Stop" for those few lines that go: "How do you write like tomorrow won't arrive, how do you write like you need it to survive, how do you write every second you're alive?" I feel like that's what writing should be like. You should need to burn with the need to write if you're going to make it as a writer today. I write journalism but I'm also a storyteller and an author and constantly running social media projects on the side. The more you write, the better you will become, and the better you are in college, the more opportunities you'll have after. Also, and I can't say this strongly enough, hook yourself up with some people who are already in the industry. Who you know just as important as what you know.

By the way, lest you think, "Oh, she has a journalism degree and is a journalist, what's she talking about her English degree for?" I have to tell you that I use my English degree every single day. English taught me how to tell stories. It taught me how to recognize good writers and good writing. It taught me what to look for when I feel something is missing from my writers' stories and most of all, it taught me how to sharply hone my skills in grammar and the technicalities of style — I use those skills every day as a journalist.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Someone once told me that if I could see myself as happy doing anything else, I should go do that instead. It seemed really harsh but I get what they mean now: Being a writer (and by extension here, a journalist) is HARD. People will laugh at your degree, they will tell you what you are doing is useless, they will try to trip you up and stop you from doing what you love. Instead of letting them stop you, let that disdain fuel you. Let it be the fire underneath you to prove them wrong. I don't care if it takes you 20 years after college to become a successful writer, because I know how hard it is and how hard you must have worked to finally achieve your goals. Anyone else who cares to call themselves a writer will understand too. And trust me, when you buy your first set of business cards with your name and "Writer" underneath it, it's worth everything. <3

To check out Comstock's magazine, click here. Be sure to also check out Millennials in Media, a mentorship program founded by Robin. You can follow Robin herself on Twitter and Instagram, as well as through her side project, Drunk Austen. You can follow Millennials in Media on Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow Drunk Austen, Robin's side project, on Twitter and Instagram here and here.


Posted on October 6, 2016 and filed under Writing, Journalism, Editing.

Lericka “Elle” Bryant-Henry: Business Owner, Writer, & English Tutor

Name: Lericka “Elle” Bryant-Henry

Age: 35

College & Majors/Minors: Southern New Hampshire University, B.A. English Literature and Creative Writing with a concentration in Non-fiction writing/ M.A. in English and Creative Writing 

Current Location: Laureldale, PA

Current Form of Employment: Business owner, Writer, and English Tutor. For published works, I’m professionally known by my pseudonym Elle Henry.  

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Currently, I’m juggling many roles! I’m a full-time writer working on my fourth book, I’m a blogger for a local newspaper, and I recently opened an editing service assisting new and established self-published authors with editing and proofreading help named Tres Chic Edits.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I saw my purpose in life, and it was writing. I left a very lucrative government job to focus on school and writing full-time. Everyone thought I was insane. But I wasn’t happy in that civil service position and it was reflecting negativity in my personal life. For those who know me well they will tell you that I eat, sleep, dream, and breathe the written word. I love writing so much; I'm working on my second English Literature degree. My life was stagnant before I joined the English major community. One day I woke up looking down two different paths… (paraphrasing Robert Frost, roll with me). 

I needed a change, but I didn’t know which way I wanted to go. I’ve always carried a journal. I was always encouraged to write; however, creatively I was still silent. Determined, I persevered by believing in myself—I finished my B.A. in English and Creative Writing and my first book of poetry and stories Pieces of Me. I could have chosen the easier route continuing to work for the government with everything handed to me. Instead, I chose the road less traveled, working hard for a career I was passionate about only to flourish. I haven't stopped writing since dedicating myself to this dream full-time. I love the written word so much that it's my desire to one day influence young girls to write creatively. I was always the girl with glasses who read books, now look at me… the girl with glasses who writes books!

After leaving my life as a civil servant, I started my writing career as a book reviewer and blogger on my Avid Writer Elle site. This site is also dedicated to my life as writer struggling to publish and find autonomy in this huge literary community. From there, I heard about a blogging community called Hype Orlando, a subsidiary of the Orlando Sentinel in Orlando, Florida. I submitted my proposal for “Candidly Elle,” a blog describing not only my life as a writer, but my candid take on popular culture and current events.

Deciding to take my English education and focus on editing was a chance I’ve battled back and forth with for a while. I remember when I first started out—no one really wanted to provide any insight on self-publishing to an English major. I felt the community was a little exclusive, and they looked down on those who pursued a higher education in English or Creative Writing. Deciding to flip that, I opened Tres Chic Edits, and now I not only provide editing services, but I also provide writing consultations to those struggling to find their footing in the publishing world. 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

In my pre-English major position, I was an Executive Assistant at two Naval hospitals. This position required a lot of attention to detail because I was the voice for all outgoing correspondence and evaluations for military and civilian personnel. It was a very daunting position because I was the assistant to a department head that housed 500+ people. Having a strong background in English was very important. I incorporate that attention to detail into my current writing and editing jobs. 

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I didn’t participate in any internships (which I now regret) due to being a military spouse with a deployed husband at the time. So, I definitely encourage internships—they help you transition easier into your chosen profession. 

I did find a few likeminded individuals who encouraged my writing. We formed a group holding weekly meetings to catch up on school topics, while working on writing prompts in the group to further enhance our writing. This not only helped in terms of preparing me for certain creative writing courses; I was more exposed to constructive criticism of my work. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

As English majors, we are already subjected to the “you can’t find a job in that major…” line. I believe as a writer, we tend to be the most judgmental, harboring the most uncertainty when it comes to our work. There’s a quote I put in my first book, Pieces of Me, specifically to inspire writers with self-doubt. “Just grab a pen and write, don’t stress about the critics. When it’s all said and done someone will love it.” The same could be applied to an English major pursuing a different profession outside of writing. Believe enough in yourself to follow your dreams, and if you stay true to that motto, everything else in life will fall into place. 

You can find Lericka “Elle” Bryant-Henry on AuthorElleHenry.com, on HyperOrlando.com, and on Facebook here and here


Posted on August 22, 2016 and filed under Editing, Editor, Interviews, Interview.

Brande McCleese: Adjunct Instructor, Editor, & Poet

Name: Brande McCleese

Age: 40

College & Majors/Minors: Southern New Hampshire University - Bachelors English Language and Literature, National University - MFA Creative Writing, Southern New Hampshire University - Masters English 

Current Location: North Carolina 

Current Form of Employment: Adjunct Instructor, Editor, & Poet

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I’m currently an adjunct instructor at several colleges and universities. I teach Creative Writing, Literature and Composition courses. As a sideline, I edit books, business documents and papers. I also blog at southpawscribe.wordpress.com and have been featured on soar.forharriet.com in addition to having poetry published in two anthologies.  

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I stumbled into my first teaching positions. I was on one campus with a couple of my friends who are alumni and I was speaking to someone from the English, Language and Communication department about a poetry event that I was planning. I mentioned that I had a MFA and then the chair of the department joined our conversation and asked if I was interested in teaching. I said yes and had an interview the next day. I’ve tutored and run the writing center at a local community college and the dean of the campus mentioned that she needed someone to teach a Composition course on campus and remembered that I was qualified. Since then, I’ve been teaching at one or both schools every semester in addition to writing and editing. I’d never considered teaching as a profession before completing my MFA. In fact, it was only while discussing MFA vs. MA with a professor that I realized that the MFA is a terminal degree and what type of doors it could possibly open for me. 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

It would definitely be editing. I was an editor for a long time before I knew it. I’ve been “fixing” my peers' papers since high school and once I found out that people were willing to pay for it I was shocked. I earned money in high school and college by editing papers and it seemed natural for me to continue to do it after college. I have taken a few courses on editing and have discovered that I love editing the work of others but not my own writing. 

I also have written poems for people/occasions and that was a job that I created for myself by always having a notebook and writing poems or sharing the poems that I began writing for my mom for Mother’s Day and her birthday. Both jobs ensured not only a confidence in creating but also that I was constantly working on something that I enjoyed.  

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

“One of the most important things that I did while in graduate school was to tutor students. I feel like my lectures and my expectations were formed during those sessions.”

Everything. I think that my education, both undergraduate and graduate, prepared me for what I’m doing now. I will caution everyone who plans to teach at any level to be willing to continue learning. I am currently taking a course on teaching writing classes because I wanted to enhance my skills and pick up some new ideas. One of the most important things that I did while in graduate school was to tutor students. I feel like my lectures and my expectations were formed during those sessions. I also learned how I wanted to structure my writing assignments and a bit about what constituted a successful essay in my eyes.  

I also loved that I was required to write every day. If you are planning to write, then that’s essential. I recently developed my first writing routine outside of NaNoWriMo and since grad school. In my opinion it is so hard without the structure of school. In college, I wrote every day especially when working on my thesis. After college, it becomes harder to balance everything and to have a dedicated writing schedule, but I manage to blog every week for the most part and to continue working on other projects.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

To not get discouraged by what you read about job prospects and to write consistently (if you love writing). I was an English major because I loved reading, I loved writing, and those were the skills that I wanted to build my career upon. I remember a discussion with a friend who said that being an English major was senseless because there’s nothing you can do with it. No one in my family ever asked what I planned to do with my degree, none of them were even surprised by my major. I’ve had plenty of support from friends who are educators and those who know of my love of writing but I’ve also received comments from naysayers asking why English? Those same people tried to discourage me from pursuing my graduate degrees in the same field. As an English major, I feel prepared for everything, except math classes. 

You can read Brande's blog at southpawscribe.wordpress.com and find her writing on soar.forharriet.com


Posted on July 11, 2016 and filed under Teaching, Teacher, Editing.

Interested in a Career as a Copyeditor? Read REAL Advice From Copyeditors

While obtaining an English degree can certainly set you on the right path to becoming a copyeditor, it doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to jump in head first to a full-time copyediting job! So what can you do to prepare? 

Below, copyeditors with years of hard-earned experience share their advice for how to begin your career in copyediting, where to turn for information, important books to read, and more! 

Are you a professional copyeditor? Contribute to this article by sharing your advice for aspiring copyeditors HERE


$12.85
By Carol Fisher Saller

Carol Saller - Editor - 30 years of experience

What did you do to prepare for a career as a copyeditor?

I stumbled into copyediting and was trained on the job. But I did read a lot of novels. In school I was a classics major (Latin and Greek, French, Italian).

Are there any books you recommend for aspiring copyeditors?

Read my book! The Subversive Copy Editor.

What do you wish a professional copyeditor had told you before your career began?

Be kind and flexible, not a stickler; keep up with language and writing news and trends.

Any other advice for up-and-coming copyeditors?

Get a big fat style manual and start reading. If you can't put it down, you might have a wonderful career in copyediting.

“Get a big fat style manual and start reading. If you can’t put it down, you might have a wonderful career in copyediting.”
— Carol Saller

Tara Moeller - Technical Editor (I copy edit technical documents) - 15 years of experience

What did you do to prepare for a career as a copyeditor?

Bachelor in English plus 6 years in the USN.

Are there any books you recommend for aspiring copyeditors?

All you can get your hands on. I have a whole bookshelf full. They all have good nuggets of wisdom.

What do you wish a professional copyeditor had told you before your career began?

That folks won't like what you do. They will take it personal.

Any other advice for up-and-coming copyeditors?

Be firm but flexible. Your bosses will always want some things edited "their way" vice "the guide." Feel free to let them, just hold them to it on all docs.


$11.90
By David Foster Wallace

Brian Colella - Lead copy editor - 5 years of experience

What did you do to prepare for a career as a copyeditor?

Editing certificate, editorial internship.

Are there any books you recommend for aspiring copyeditors?

Subversive Copy Editor, Chicago Manual, David Foster Wallace.

Any other advice for up-and-coming copyeditors?

Definitely look for an official program such as a certification, or find things you can do with no barrier to entry (Distributed Proofreaders is one option).


$38.07
University Of Chicago Press

Sonnet Fitzgerald - Freelance Editor - 4 years of experience

What did you do to prepare for a career as a copyeditor?

My degree is in Spanish, which sounds illogical for editing. But writing papers in a second language really helped me learn how to scan a document for grammatical errors. I read style guides and take classes from the EFA.

Are there any books you recommend for aspiring copyeditors?

If you'll be editing fiction, the CMOS.

What do you wish a professional copyeditor had told you before your career began?

Find a niche. Don't just say you offer editing—do business editing or academic editing or medical editing or poetry editing. You'll have a much easier time of it.

Any other advice for up-and-coming copyeditors?

I had so many people (surprisingly, to me) tell me I could never make a living as an editor. Don't listen to naysayers. It's a great and in-demand career!

“I had so many people (surprisingly, to me) tell me I could never make a living as an editor. Don’t listen to naysayers. It’s a great and in-demand career!”
— Sonnet Fitzgerald

$17.48
By Janet Kestin, Nancy Vonk

Lauren Pope - Social Media Marketing Coordinator / Copy Writer / Freelance Copy Editor - 2 years of experience

What did you do to prepare for a career as a copyeditor?

I took internships in editing offered by my university for a year and once I graduated. Once I graduated, I registered with Booktrope for freelance work.

Are there any books you recommend for aspiring copyeditors?

Specifically for women in business in general I love Darling, You Can't Do Both (And Other Noise to Ignore on Your Way Up. It's about women in business and I feel like the advice in it applies to any sort of job you take. I also highly recommend having an AP Stylebook on hand at all times at your desk.

What do you wish a professional copyeditor had told you before your career began?

Learn AP Style. I dealt only in MLA during my undergrad and the working world deals in AP style. I had to play catch up and fake it for a long time.

Any other advice for up-and-coming copyeditors?

I got started by tutoring English at my campus career center and from there I was getting paid $20 a paper to edit for people through the career center. Your university offers internships and programs that will hone your skills and bolster your resume, you just need to look. Ask your favorite English professor or seek out your adviser and let them know. My biggest mistake was waiting until I was a junior in college to ask any real questions. Capture the moment now and you'll thank yourself later.


$11.40
By The Modern Language Association of America
$12.80
By The Associated Press
$40.21
By JAMA & Archives Journals

Victoria Allen - Writing consultant and freelance copy editor - 10+ years in business

What did you do to prepare for a career as a copyeditor?

I have a bachelor's degree in English, with a literature concentration. I started as a copy desk assistant and worked my way up. Knowledge of the style books and gramnar, as well as expertise, make the difference in copy editing.

Are there any books you recommend for aspiring copyeditors?

Read up on the style guides: AP, APA, Chicago, AMA, MLA

What do you wish a professional copyeditor had told you before your career began?

Know what you are worth and fight for what you are worth as a good editor.

Any other advice for up-and-coming copyeditors?

Gain experience every chance you get to gain experience. Diversify your experience as well: news editing, technical editing, book editing, and medical editing all require variations of the skill, so become familiar with more than one area to stay marketable.

“Gain experience every chance you get to gain experience. Diversify your experience as well: news editing, technical editing, book editing, and medical editing all require variations of the skill, so become familiar with more than one area to stay marketable.”
— Victoria Allen

Martha Humphries - Freelance - 25 years in business

What did you do to prepare for a career as a copyeditor?

Worked as a proofreader and learned from my superiors. Read and studied the Chicago Manual of Style.

What do you wish a professional copyeditor had told you before your career began?

Learn your craft and stick to your guns.


 Samantha Enslen: President &amp; Owner of Dragonfly Editorial

Samantha Enslen: President & Owner of Dragonfly Editorial

 Brittany Olsen: Editor

Brittany Olsen: Editor

 John Essex: Owner, Editor at Peak Medical Editing, LLC

John Essex: Owner, Editor at Peak Medical Editing, LLC

Posted on July 3, 2016 and filed under Articles, Editing, Featured Articles.

Samantha Enslen: President & Owner of Dragonfly Editorial

Name: Samantha Enslen

Age: 45-ish

College & Majors/Minors: Double major, English and Women's Studies

Current Location: Tipp City, Ohio

Current Form of Employment: President and Owner, Dragonfly Editorial

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I run Dragonfly Editorial. We're an agency that focuses on content strategy, writing, and editing. Writing and editing—those are pretty straightforward. Content strategy is more complex. It's about deciding what to write, how to write it, and who to write to—before you ever put pen to paper. 

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I found my first words-related role working in a coffee house: Jolt N' Bolt, on 18th Street in northwest DC. One of my customers owned a publishing house nearby. After a few months of making him lattes, I screwed up my courage and asked if he needed an intern. He probably didn't, but he let me come in every afternoon anyway and (literally) work in the mailroom. I took customer orders, packed up books, and shipped them out. This was in the days before Amazon. 

One of the editors must have felt sorry for me, because one day she gave me their holiday catalog to proofread. I'm sure it had already been proofed, and she gave it to me just to be nice. But I found some mistakes. The next day, she came right up to me as soon as I arrived and said, "This is what you need to do. You need to be a copyeditor." That's how I discovered my profession.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I don't know about the most important, but the most fun writing-related job I've had is with Grammar Girl. I write about the origin of various idioms, like "spick and span," or "off the cuff." 

Writing has always been a slog for me. I can do it, and I think I do it well, but I often find it onerous and stress-inducing. Writing these short posts has helped me experience writing for the first time as an exploration, rather than a chore. 

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did very little other than study hard and take my work seriously. I think that's your job in college. Screw partying. You need to suck up every ounce of learning you can. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

An English degree should teach you to ask questions, to read, to research, to synthesize information—and then to express what you've learned clearly, in writing. If you can do that, you'll be an asset in any workplace.  

So I guess my advice is to not worry about the "marketability" of an English degree. Rather, trust that it will teach you to think deeply and write clearly. Those skills will serve you in the long run, no matter what industry you land in.

 Samantha's bookshelf

Samantha's bookshelf

Check out Dragonfly Editorial HERE, and follow them on Twitter


Posted on June 18, 2016 and filed under Content Marketing, Editing, Editor, Interviews, Interview.