Editor: Kristy Gilbert Company: Looseleaf Editorial & Production Number of years in editing: 12 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I've known I wanted to be an editor since eighth grade, when I joined a writing group and had just as much fun giving feedback as I did writing my own stories. I picked an affordable college that had an editing minor (which taught me CMoS, substantive editing, and basic document design) and found my way into several on-campus journals and jobs before launching into the wider workforce.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I specialize in editing science fiction & fantasy and designing elegant, readable book interiors for all genres.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
Ha! I still have small kids at home and I'm a work-from-home independent editor, so each day is a little different. I usually tackle emails and quote requests in the morning while my youngest does online reading activities, and the afternoons are my power hours when I tackle big chunks of edits or designs. I plan admin tasks for when I know I'll be interrupted a lot.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love that my work life revolves around books and stories. Narratives are so often how we humans make sense of the world (even when the narratives are set in imaginary worlds). I love seeing the different ways authors tell stories and helping them get those inventive narratives ready for readers.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
The flexible schedule of freelancing is a double-edged sword. That flexibility has served me well through many life changes, moves, and my kids' early years. But it also means I'm fitting my work in around my kids' lives and needs, so it's a constant balancing act. I try to stay patient (with my kids, my clients, and myself) because it seems like every few months I'm reevaluating how best to make the schedule work. (Maybe things will smooth out once both kids are in school?)
What are you currently working on?
This summer I have lots of manuscript evaluations and a few exciting nonfiction book designs on the docket. I'm also drafting a guide to copyediting science fiction & fantasy--basically the guide I wish I could have had 12 years ago.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Be open to opportunities you didn't plan for. Some of my most interesting contracts and clients come from unexpected quarters and require me to stretch beyond my comfort zone. Sometimes I learn that I don't want to stretch that way anymore, but most times I grow into the work and enjoy the journey.