Editor: Jake Poinier Company: Boomvang Creative Group # of years in editing: 31 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts and had done a bit of writing for my high school paper and for my hometown paper during college summers. Like many of us, I suspect, I'd frequently heard the question "What the heck are you going to do with an English degree?" The answer was becoming an editorial assistant at Golf Digest's trade magazine. I eventually worked my way a few notches up the ladder, but realized I wasn't going to get much farther. (My instinct was correct—many of the upper-level editors are still there!) Subsequently, I moved to Arizona to work at a competitor of Golf Digest, then later for a custom magazine publisher. In 1999, I pulled the corporate ripcord to go freelance...and haven't looked back.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I'm an omnivore. My business is a blend of writing and editing on a diverse array of topics for lots of different clients. On the writing side, I do everything from marketing/ad copy to whitepapers to ghostwriting. Editing is generally assignments such as polishing my clients' important business materials, along with a few nonfiction books a year for indy authors.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I'll confess to not being much of a planner. I stick to a simple online calendar along with a handwritten to-do list. I'm at my most creative in the morning, so that's when I'll churn through anything that requires brainpower. That's also when I prefer to schedule any client conversations or interviews for articles I'm writing. After lunch, I'm wrapping up any end-of-day deadlines or doing admin stuff.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Exposure to a million different topics. Honestly, the aspect I find most rewarding is really the business side: helping clients solve problems or polish their image.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
I'd say working on something that a client isn't prioritizing: I can't get the information I need, can't schedule appointments with SMEs, or the deadline is "whenever." Working through that requires persistence and patience. If there's a silver bullet, I haven't found it yet.
What are you currently working on?
I've got a pile of blogs, emails, and social media posts that I need to write for a client who runs an ad agency, so that's my immediate priority. There are two website projects that will be ramping up in the coming weeks. My experience after 20 years is that January gets crazy when people get back to the office and their to-do lists—so I'm mentally preparing for the avalanche!
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
These are specific to life as a freelancer, but also apply in an office environment: 1) Understand the business that your client is in, what they care about, and how they prefer to communicate. 2) Be low-maintenance. (Related: Nobody likes a peever.) 3) Develop a reputation for reliability—be the person your clients can turn to when they're in a bind.