Editor: Lourdes Venard Company: Comma Sense Editing LLC Number of years in editing: 29 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I first knew I wanted to be a journalist in middle school! In high school and college I worked for the school paper, serving as editor in chief in both high school and college. In the beginning, I thought I wanted to be a reporter—and I did begin my career as a reporter.
But I was drawn to the copy editing side and made that switch about six years into my career. I've never looked back! When I left journalism, after 30 years in the business, I became a freelance editor.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
Although I worked with news articles as a journalist, I now edit fiction, specifically mysteries and science fiction, which are my passions as a reader. Even before becoming a freelancer, I was involved in the crime fiction writing community, so it was easy to make that switch once I became a freelancer.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I typically begin work around 7 a.m. I work until lunchtime and then break to have lunch with my husband, who also works from home. I work for a few more hours in the afternoon and then we may go for a walk. If there's still work to do, I pick it up at night. But I'm still trying to cut back my hours! Like many freelancers, it often feels as if I have more work than hours in the day.
I find it is important to have a structured workday; it makes me much more efficient. Plus, it is important, physically as well as mentally, to have some downtime for yourself every day.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
It's exciting to work with words and to bring someone else's dream to fruition. I get almost as excited as my client when they win a writing award, land an agent, or self-publish a book.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
My biggest challenge is saying "no" when I'm already overwhelmed. I am getting much better at it, however. I have to keep in mind that I'm not doing anyone a favor if I take on a project and then have to rush through it.
What are you currently working on?
I teach copyediting courses through the UC San Diego and Editorial Freelancers Association, so I'm currently grading papers! I'm also editing a science fiction novel that jumps back and forth in time, with many characters and different places, so I'm also working on a very detailed style sheet!
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Become involved in organizations such as ACES and EFA. These organizations have wonderful webcasts and classes, but the opportunity to network and learn from other editors is invaluable. Other editors will get to know and trust you, and may pass on work they can't do.