Editor: Jevon Bolden Company: Embolden Media Group # of years in editing: 17 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I was in school to be a neurosurgeon when I began to feel something wasn't quite right. "Would I really be stuck doing this most of my life? Would I get do other things like enjoying a family?" If this was the case, I thought in my young mind, then I want to be "stuck" doing something I really love. As I sat with this question, what could I do for the rest of my life, spending most of the hours of my day, and not tire of it? My mind went back to the one class I would not skip in my senior year in high school—English. I loved English class—the reading, writing, and especially the questions and ideas that came up in our class discussions. Who wouldn't want to be engulfed in words and ideas all day every day? So I made the switch—from premed biology to liberal arts English. It makes me chuckle every time I think about how ridiculous this change seemed to those around me. I was doing well in the sciences and maths. Anyhow to maybe escape some of the peering eyes, I transferred from a private college to a public school and completed my BA degree in English with a minor in sociology. Upon graduation, I applied to as many places as I could that were offering entry-level positions for people with English degrees—copywriter, magazine editor, copyeditor, assistant editor, editorial assistant, and so on. I landed ONE call back from my spreadsheet of about 30 jobs I'd applied for. That ONE call back led to an in-person interview, a job offer, and a position I grew in over the next 12 years. During that time, I moved from copyeditor to developmental editor, and finally senior acquisitions editor. Then I moved to another company as a senior editor, before I launched my own publishing consulting firm in 2017.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
Honestly, the niches chose me and I have grown to love them and the people they've allowed me to work beside. At times, opportunities felt limited to me as an editor of color. I said yes to the opportunities that opened to me. I've been fortunate to have a really great career in adult nonfiction covering categories such as Christian living, prayer, faith, family, women's topics, natural health, mental health, etc., as well as some years in children's nonfiction—activity kits and books, stationery, journals, guided diaries, and oh, some fiction showed up in there too sometimes
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I can't imagine that I have a typical editor's workday anymore. I am a literary agent, ghostwriter, writing coach, and now lead my team of freelancers through the process of publishing projects my company produces for our authors. Much of the editing I do, if any, is more along the lines of project management in between the time I spend writing and acquiring and pitching authors to publishers.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Content development. Though I started as a copyeditor and I can get with the details, but shaping the big picture and developing how a topic will be handled with respect to the author's voice—ugh! Like, totally to die for!
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Time management can be my biggest challenge, especially as my company goes. The harder I find it to manage my time, the more I begin to assess if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing that really builds the company, or am I doing too much of what should be delegated to others. Therefore, delegation is how I am learning to work through my time management challenges.
What are you currently working on?
Really? I'm working on everything! I have a few writing projects due at staggering times over the next few months. I have about four book publishing projects moving through. I am onboarding new team members and leading an online writing community. And I am shopping 3 or 4 authors' book proposals to publishers.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Take your time and learn all you can. Be a sponge. Keep track of your growth and contributions. Be engaged, proactive, and present with your teams. Negotiate your salary when you know you deserve more.