Editor: Alicia Z. Ramos Company: ECG Management Consultants Number of years in editing: Four years full time, with about 15 years in hybrid roles before that.
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I've wanted to be an editor ever since I stopped practicing law (around the dawn of time), but I found myself in employee communications for a long time first. That role involved both writing and editing, and during that time I also started freelancing as a fiction editor. Four years ago I made the leap to a full-time editor role with ECG (while continuing to freelance in the fun stuff).
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
My "day job" (in scare quotes because I work the afternoon-evening shift) is editing documents for a healthcare (closed up per our house style) consulting firm. That niche selected me in that it was the job that was on offer—but I'm very happy with the team here.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
The firm has a document production queue; editors pick jobs from the queue in the order they're due. Most of the documents we see are relatively short, so we'll typically edit three or four in a given shift. (The editing team is spread across the US, operating about 18 hours a day.) I'm one of three editing managers here, so a chunk of my time is spent on leadership activities: meetings, one-on-one chats with my team members, reviewing a sampling of documents and providing feedback, etc. But on the whole, the queue guides all of us and dictates how our days are structured.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love helping people communicate more effectively. That applies whether I'm working with a consultant to describe our services to a prospective client or working with an independent author to bring their book to life.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
When working in a specialized field like healthcare consulting, it can be difficult to ascertain the right level of jargon to retain in any given document. In general, the consultants know their audience better than I do, but I still query terms or constructions that seem unnecessarily confusing.
What are you currently working on?
At ECG, I have a backlog of project experience summaries to edit—descriptions of successful work that we use to showcase our capabilities to new clients. In my freelance work, I'm finishing up an edit on a romantic suspense novel (the third in a trilogy) for an author I've been working with for the past several years... and looking forward to receiving a manuscript from another indie author (his second book) in a few weeks.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Go for it! If you love to edit, there are innumerable paths you can follow to make this career a reality—the opportunities are so much more varied than working for a publisher or being 100% freelance. Network through ACES or other editing associations, be active on social media, ask questions, and find the niche that's right for you. And... get ready to keep learning forever.