Editor: Christopher Walz Company: Cubicle 7 Games Number of years in editing: I've been working as an editor in tabletop games for a little over three years and managed and edited a magazine for about two years. So, about five years of experience as a professional editor.
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I'm a 32-year-old living in central Kentucky with my young son, where I work as an editor for Cubicle 7 Games, a tabletop roleplaying game publisher, and do some freelance editing as well. I've loved language and writing forever and pursued some of those passions with a Classics degree from the University of Kentucky, where I also went on to obtain a Masters in Library and Information Science.
After school, I bounced around a few different jobs for a while without a clear path. Eventually, I landed a job managing and editing a magazine for an associations management company that served members much like ACES, but in the information technology industry. I never considered pursuing editing as a profession but found I really enjoyed my work here.
A couple moves around the country, having a child, and a few jobs later, I again found myself editing, but this time in an industry I have followed passionately my entire life—tabletop roleplaying games.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
These days it is certainly tabletop games with a specific focus on roleplaying games. I have worked on a lot of fairly well-known licensed properties such as Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Doctor Who, and the Lord of the Rings. These present unique but really interesting challenges around ensuring the content we create accurately reflects the larger property, while still letting our creative team have their own touches.
Outside of games, my focus tends to be on fantasy and science-fiction, which fits well alongside many of the games I work with.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
At Cubicle 7 Games, a rather close-knit publisher, I am a part of our creative team. I work closely with Producers (a role that, for us, is part project manager and part creative director) for each of our game lines. While we do have several staff writers, much of the writing we use is penned by freelance writers and game designers.
The bulk of my day is spent reading and marking up accepted manuscripts for upcoming releases. While I deal with many of the same tasks a copyeditor in any industry would, there is a certain technical aspect of games writing. Much like technical writing, the game has to function well when played, not merely read well. Much of my focus is on these "game mechanics" and ensuring they fit nicely with previous titles and established ways of playing.
Outside of being nose-deep in manuscripts, I often meet with other creative team members and freelance writers to help guide and coach them. As they do for many of us, deadlines come hard and fast in the games industry, so I sometimes act as a writer when manuscripts need some extra care.
For time management, I am lucky to work alongside very organized project managers at Cubicle 7. We recently adopted a new company-wide PM and time management software suite, which has been working well. In my personal freelancing career, I rely on a comparatively haphazard system of old-fashioned calendars and whiteboards.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love being the "voice behind the throne," so to speak. I feel that my opinions and suggestions are taken seriously and often help steer a project into a better place. I've always seen myself as more of a coach and not so much a player, and I enjoy that.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Time management is definitely a challenge for me. I have worked entirely from home since 2019, which was a big transition for me. While it is ultimately a positive change, it came with a lot of working strange hours at first. Now, even though I am at home, I try to treat my workday as a "normal" workday as much as possible, even if I don't have real shoes on.
What are you currently working on?
A whole lot of stuff I can't mention!
Joking aside, I work evenly on all of Cubicle 7's Warhammer game lines, which include the historic, much-loved Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying, the "grimdark" science-fiction setting of Warhammer 40,000, and the brand new Warhammer: Age of Sigmar game, Soulbound. I've also just recently completed a big project for our Doctor Who game line, which we will be announcing soon.
I'm also the editor on several Kickstarter-funded roleplaying games, which are about to hit the editing stage.
Luckily. it seems with everything going on in the world right now, people are still excited to stay home and pretend to be fantastical worlds.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
As editors, I feel many of us are tied to our work processes quite deeply, and that is good more often than it is not. That said, don't be too resistant to changing your processes or investigating how other people do things. Each project is different and your work style might not fit everything.