Editor: Dr.Otito Iwuchukwu Company: OttyFab Consulting LLC Number of years in editing: Nine years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I was "classically" trained as a pharmacist before going on to graduate school to get my PhD. I am currently an associate professor in a school of pharmacy, where I teach pharmacogenomics (the science of how our genes influence our response to drugs) and digital communications for the pharmacy professional. I have always been interested in grammar and communications and how to write persuasively. This was an interest that was somewhat driven by my personality. I tend toward introversion, and as a result, I am finding myself being able to express myself better in words. This interest spilled over into helping others (friends and colleagues at the time) refine their writing in order to suit the purpose for which they were writing.
In 2013, a friend had written a novel but had received feedback upon self-publishing regarding errors in the book. Because they knew I had been doing this pro-bono, they asked me to help and said they would pay me. When I was done, I remember them saying that I did better work than the official editor they had paid to edit the book. This piqued my interest in the consulting and business side of editing, and from there it was just such a good match. I started taking courses and learning more about the science and art of editing and working with authors. I also learned/recognized that editing fiction was not something I wanted to do. I leaned into general nonfiction, academic writing, and children's books, and that is what I have been doing since 2013.
What is your area of focus, and why did you select this niche?
My main specializations are academic editing, children's books, and general nonfiction. Academic editing interests were a result of my job training, but my interests in children's books and nonfiction arose organically. Although I teach at the college level, a lot of my volunteer activities have to do with childhood education, and also having children to whom I/we read aloud every day is some fashion for about seven years running piqued my interest in the business of publishing children's books and how the final product gets to the end users. This led to self-education and external training in the how-tos for editing this genre over the years.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I do my editing consultations and editing on the weekends and on a day set aside for research and consulting (Fridays).
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
The reading and research involved—I can't get enough of it. Love of learning is one of my top VIA character strengths, and editing is one area where I get to optimize this strength along a self-directed continuum. Also, the idea that I get to contribute to getting an author's work out into the world.
What is your biggest challenge, and how do you work through this?
My biggest challenge is time (and energy) management. I am big on this because I realize I cannot be everywhere and all things to everyone. I work on this through time blocking and going through my day with a project mindset in terms of "What do I want to accomplish today that would move the needle in the areas I am committed to during this season of my life?"
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a children's book about working together and being a good team player as well as being your brother's keeper (I am excited about this one), and also a book on superfoods (nutraceuticals and phytochemicals).
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
It's a business of words, and the idea is that one ought not to get emotionally attached to them. But words have power, and so as much as possible, try to work on projects that you enjoy and do not be afraid to say you cannot take on certain types of work that may contain hateful language or ideas that may not align with your values (especially if it's your own business/company and you are not constrained by an employer).