Editor: Rachel Knapp Company: Ramsey Solutions # of years in editing: 20 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
As of 2019, I’ve been editing for 20 years. I started at a small publishing company after I realized I didn’t want to use my degree in Elementary Education. I considered myself a writer, but when I began editing, I was hooked. It suits my personality to take a piece (no matter what it is) and polish it. I also love helping writers connect with their readers.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
Copy editing and line editing—that’s what I’m doing now based on my job description, and I love it. I work on anything from blog posts to social ads to jacket covers. This year, I’ll have the opportunity to copy edit a book project, and I can’t wait to dig in.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
My company uses a project management system for our workflow, which makes it so easy to knock out the work. I come in and look at our “board,” pull the first project, and happily get to work. I also lead a team of six copy editors who take care of an unbelievable amount of words each day. Much of my day is spent thinking about processes, meeting with other departments, and spending time with my team to answer questions and talk about fun copy editing things.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Our company has just rolled out new standards for brand and voice, and as editors, we are guardians of the brand (that’s one of our editing core values). It has been so rewarding to help my team and our writers use these standards to write and edit. The standards are ushering in a simple, direct, conversational, and “sassy” voice. It’s so fun to dig in and help direct the initiative with other content leaders. The process has been one big collaboration among teams and across disciplines. All of our content has a mission (we want to change lives!), so we’re working together to present tough topics—like getting out of debt, saving, and investing—to our readers in an approachable way. Honing this voice has been the most fun I’ve had in all my years editing. It’s not fun unless it’s challenging!
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
My biggest challenge is leading a team and doing all the tactical work. I’m often in so many meetings that I don’t get a ton of desk time, or if I have desk time, my brain is fried from all the meetings! I take two mornings a week to work in a different area of the building so I can really focus on editing and reviewing the work of other editors. There’s a lot to do and only one of me, but like I said earlier, I love a challenge!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on so many things! I work with our publishing team mainly, and we’re in the middle of doing a substantive edit on a new book. And when I say “we,” I mean our amazing Managing Book Editor. While I wait for my turn, I’m editing emails, blogs, landing pages, and anything with words while also getting new editors up to speed by reviewing their work. We hired four new editors this year, so I spend a lot of my time working with them to learn the style guide and the way we edit.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
My biggest advice is to trust your editing gut. Many editors are attracted to the discipline because they love to follow rules. And that’s a big part of the job—but understanding that it’s also a creative endeavor will take you far. If you don’t develop your “gut,” you won’t know when to break the rules (and in my current role we do it all the time). I think being a creative editor, one who understands nuance and is confident making gut decisions, will set you apart from the rest.