Editor: Laura Poole Company: Archer Editorial Services, Inc. # of years in editing: 24
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I interned at a university press when I was a senior in college and fell in love with publishing. I dabbled in proofreading, typesetting, and editing and realized my sweet spot was in copyediting. I started my freelance business in 1997, at the age of 24, and have been going strong since then.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
Scholarly nonfiction in the humanities. I worked my way up from "general nonfiction" to scholarly work over many years. Once I had a loyal client base, I could narrow my focus to the humanities. I enjoy the work and particularly like the challenge of cross-checking references, making notes consistent, and even editing all the chapters of a multi-author edited volume!
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
After I drop my daughter off at school and cruise social media, I'm at the desk and ready to work by 9 am. Morning is my best focus time, so I try to reserve it for editing. Lunch break at midday, then more editing, although I have trouble focusing, so I often mix in errands and business tasks (invoicing, correspondence, cleanup) in the afternoon. I am usually done for the day by 5, if not earlier.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Even though my work tends to be "invisible," I love the satisfaction of knowing I helped a writer's work be the best it could be.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Business wise, self-discipline to stay on task is a toughie, something I'm always working on. Editing wise, it's trying to take something badly written and make it good enough--my strength is taking something that's moderately well written and making it excellent!
What are you currently working on?
A handful of things! Articles for a top 5 economics journal, an edited volume on university governance, a volume on popular geography in Tokugawa Japan, and a corporate history.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Trust yourself--you know more than you think you do. Even if you don't feel ready, dive in to the work and see what happens. Learn graciously from your mistakes. Seek a mentor.