Editor: Ted Olson Company: Story Road, LLC Number of years in editing: Two years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
My editing work evolved from my interest in fiction, which gained traction during my career as a copywriter. I had a wonderful experience reworking my first novel with a developmental editor. She was like a compassionate thoracic surgeon. Eventually, she became my mentor. Thus, as my 31-year copywriting career came to a close, I worked to begin my new passion: creative writing and editing. That's how Story Road, LLC was born.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
Fiction. I enjoy literary fiction, but I'm seeing more genre fiction taking on the qualities of literary work. I think that blend will continue. I'm not sure I selected this niche. Sometimes I feel it selected me. I'm continually learning.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I try to keep a full-day routine, similar to the routine I had while copywriting. Each morning, client work comes first. If I have time, I'll pursue my own projects—whether they're revisions or first drafts. If there's time left in the afternoon, I'll go practice my bagpipes or trumpet.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love working one-to-one with writers. I enjoy offering suggestions in the margins on someone's manuscript. But I really get a kick from sitting down and talking over the nuances of a story and discussing why certain things work better than others in fiction.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Balancing my time between building my business and pursuing my own projects. The perception is that you need to publish to build your creds. I don't know how true that is. I know great editors and teachers who've never published anything. But right now I'm trying to establish that credibility and distinguish myself from other editors.
What are you currently working on?
I have a client with a wonderful novel who is so passionate about learning. Right now, I'm working through chunks of his chapters. I'm also doing some proofreading for a children's author, revising my first novel—again, and preparing to attack my second novel on its first revision.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Develop your people skills. With clients, remember it's their manuscript. Give them your best suggestions, but don't overwhelm them.