Editor: Jennifer Peterson Company: Peterson Editing Services Number of years in editing: I edited my first manuscripts in early 2016, and that autumn I started my own freelance editing business.
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
My interest in editing started after I wrote my first novel. My reasoning was that the better I edited my own writing, the less the publisher will feel they have to change. I sharpened my skills writing and editing my next several books, and while I was working as a copy editor for a small press publisher I discovered I wanted to go into professional editing as a freelancer.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
The main area I focus on is fiction. I am a lifelong reader and now a writer, and along the way, I've developed a firm sense of narrative continuity, paragraph and chapter structure, plotting, character construction, and interactions. I also enjoy working with self-help, diet, esoteric and occult subjects, and other categories of nonfiction works. My personal reading list is very broad and has fitted me to handle these subjects and more. I offer writers, especially beginning writers, specialized help to make their books successful.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I start my workday when I am at my freshest, in the morning around eight o'clock. I check my email and read online news, and then I get to work. I allow myself two breaks and a short lunch in my editing workday. If I have a project deadline coming up I will work extra hours and over the weekend to finish it and get it back to the author on time, but I don't overwork myself. Editing is a job that deserves my full attention and energy, so I try to keep rested and fresh in order to give it my total concentration.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love working with the authors, communicating with them and discussing plots, characters, their artistic vision, and the direction they would like their works to go. Every author is different, and every work is unique.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Sometimes it's hard for me to find time to write, myself. I have started getting up earlier in the morning to give myself some time to work on my next book. Even if I only jot down a couple sentences that day, it's progress toward my goal.
What are you currently working on?
I have recently finished editing another self-help book and a sci-fi novel. I am actively posting in several editing groups on Facebook, and I'm currently working to expand my repertoire of skills and what I have to offer.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Don't just start out with the vague idea of becoming an editor. Decide what subjects you would like to concentrate on, and do everything you can to sharpen your skills in those areas. Establish your presence on social media; potential clients get to know you that way and you can keep company with other, more experienced editors who can help you with your career. Editing is a fulfilling and interesting career. It takes a while to break into the field, but keep putting yourself out there. Don't give up!