Editor: Ritchelle Buensuceso Company: Banana Leaf Publishing Number of years in editing: 14 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
Okay, well, I’m a freelance editor. I handle academic, fiction, and nonfiction texts. I love stories. And that’s probably why I got into editing—to help writers tell their stories, their message, in the best possible way.
I studied communication as an undergrad, and after college I applied to a boatload of different jobs. One day I got a call for a job that I honestly didn’t remember applying to—it was a copyediting job in the journals division. The company provided paid training for six months, which really sharpened my skills and gave me solid editing experience. I’ve had other jobs since, but editing has always been a part of whatever job I’ve had.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I’ve been editing academic publications the longest. So I guess in a way that’s my focus, but I wouldn’t say there has been a conscious effort from me to be in that niche. It’s probably a combination of personal interest, my training and experience, and opportunity. But in 2018, I decided to expand my services to include fiction and nonfiction because I was needing some variety. That part of my service is doing well and brings me great joy. There, my focus is women’s fiction because that’s what I most enjoy reading, but I also have clients in the science fiction, fantasy, and mystery genres.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
Ugh, I'm not very good at managing my time. I have a block of time to get some serious work done, and that’s from 10am to 3:30 p.m. I have a routine I try to follow, but my days are pretty flexible. With COVID, my second-grader learning at home, and a new baby, I’m quite fortunate to have a work schedule that can be as flexible as I need it to be
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
It’s like sculpting. Sometimes you need to provide structure to a work, sometimes you need to take off layers of unnecessary material to reveal what’s important, sometimes you just need to polish. It’s part of the creative process, and that’s rewarding to me. At the most basic level, editing helps someone get their ideas across and be understood by others, and in a world where there is much confusion and misunderstanding, I think that’s important.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Because the terms used for editing are inconsistent, sometimes writers and editors have different expectations when they say proofread, copyedit, line edit, content edit, etc. Of course, that would impact the type of edits, the rate, and the turnaround. How do I work through it? Communicate, communicate, communicate to establish expectations.
What are you currently working on?
A mixed bag. I’m copyediting journal articles—that’s pretty regular. I’m also proofreading a digital learning course for teachers, copyediting a YA space opera, and doing a development edit of a cozy mystery.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Keep learning. Know the rules and when to break them. Be kind to yourself when you miss something --- some typos are tenacious!