Carolina VonKampen

Editor. Reader. Writer.

Tag: publishing (page 1 of 2)

8 Tips for Traveling to the Gleacher Center for Professional Development Certificate Classes

I didn’t know quite what to expect when I signed up for an in-person class through the University of Chicago editing certificate program. Would it be more similar to college classes or professional conferences I had attended? The Introduction to Acquisitions Editing class that I attended in Chicago was the perfect mixture of both: It was engaging 100 percent of the time; the class was small enough that I felt comfortable asking questions and talking; my classmates were mature professionals; the subject matter was something I was truly interested in; the instructor’s insights into the publishing industry were illuminating and practical.

But the actual classroom hours were just part of the overall experience of traveling to Chicago for a class. Along the way, I picked up some tips that I’ll put to use next time I attend an in-person class at the Gleacher Center. They may be of use to you, too, if you’re going to attend professional development certificate classes through the University of Chicago.

1. Don’t miss your train.

No comment…. If you think there’s a possibility you’ll miss your train or flight, don’t book the last one out of town so you have the option of hopping on the next one. That way you’ll make it to Chicago in time to check into your hotel or Airbnb and get to class the next morning. Again, this is *totally* hypothetical and not something that actually happened to me.

2. Bring food with you.

When I’m traveling alone, I don’t particularly want to leave my luggage alone in my seat. Somehow, I managed to avoid that situation by partially dehydrating myself for the first half of the trip and bringing food with me so I didn’t have to pay for (what I’m guessing is overpriced) train food. I was glad that I had thought to bring a sandwich, two Lunchables, a bag of Butterfinger bites, a bottle of kombucha, and two bottles of water with me for the six-plus hour train ride. It’s also not a bad idea to bring food to eat in Chicago, too, if you want to save money on a meal or two.

3. Show up early.

I underestimated how long I’d have to wait for coffee at a coffee shop that was between my Airbnb and the Gleacher Center, so I was the last to arrive at the class. I walked in two minutes early — and that was about thirteen minutes too late, especially for the first day. Next time, I’m going to plan more carefully and aim to be in the classroom 15 minutes before class starts.

4. Eat the free food in the classroom.

One very important reason to show up early for class is that the classrooms come with free food. Yes, free food! Obviously, I didn’t know this the first day of class, but on Saturday, I didn’t stop before class to get coffee or breakfast; I just ate in the classroom. The Gleacher Center provides pastries, bagels (and a toaster!), and fruit, as well as coffee, water, and orange juice, and I took full advantage of it.

5. Don’t dress up too much.

I had no idea what to expect in terms of dress code for the editing certificate classes, so I wore a dress and a blazer. As in, I bought a blazer specifically for the class because I didn’t already have one. No one else was so dressed up; even the instructor took off her blazer for most of the day. I was glad that I had thought to bring a sweater so I could tone it down and not be stuck in a blazer all day. Business casual is definitely acceptable in these classes (at least the editing ones), and that’s what I’m going to stick with in my next class.

6. Wear comfortable shoes.

Whether you’re going business casual or slightly more professional, wear shoes you can actually walk in. I got blisters on my feet after walking a little too far to lunch the first day (Portillo’s hot dogs were calling) and then didn’t want to walk to anything the rest of my time in Chicago. My feet have learned their lesson.

7. Plan where to eat before you get there.

Part of the reason I ruined my feet the first day of class was because I hadn’t planned where I was going to eat lunch the first day, so I panicked and walked to a restaurant I knew, even though it was 15 minutes away. This trip to Chicago is the third time in the past six months that I’ve gone to a city without determining where I should eat near the conference or class site, and after every trip, I’ve vowed to do better next time.

Ideally, before I leave for a class or conference, I should look up restaurants near the building I’ll be in and actually plan where to eat so I’m not standing outside for 15 minutes searching for restaurants that are within my price range. In the Introduction to Acquisitions Editing class, we got over an hour to go out and grab lunch, so there was plenty of time to sit down somewhere or grab a quick lunch and eat outside and walk around. (P.S. If you have any recommendations for lunch and dinner spots around River North, especially near the Gleacher Center, let me know in the comments!) I may also just grab food from Whole Foods next time, as there’s one a few minutes from the Gleacher Center and it’s probably cheaper than eating out for lunch.

8. Stay near the Gleacher Center.

If you can swing it, booking an Airbnb or hotel near the Gleacher Center is really helpful. As an introvert, being around people all day—especially in an interactive classroom setting—exhausts me, so being able to quickly retreat to my Airbnb when class ended was great. Staying within a 10-minute walk of the center meant that I was better rested for class each day and didn’t have to worry about the logistics of traveling to and from the class. However, I know that I can’t afford to stay so close to the Gleacher Center for future classes, but if you have the means and can find a cheap Airbnb or hotel nearby, it’s a time-saver.

gleacher center
My Airbnb was in the tallest building on the left—and I could see it from right outside The Gleacher Center.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to attend an in-person editing class at the Gleacher Center. The class itself was informative and worthwhile, and the chance to travel to a different city for a few days was invigorating. I’m excited to put these lessons to use when I return to Chicago for an Intermediate Manuscript Editing class later this fall.

If you’ve attended classes at the Gleacher Center, what tips would you add to my list? Let me know in the comments below. And if you’re traveling to the Gleacher Center for classes soon, I’d love to hear what class you’re taking!

Why I Enrolled in the University of Chicago’s Editing Certificate Program

If you asked me what my plans for professional development were three weeks ago, I would have told you that I planned on reading some books about editing, following along with #ACESchat on Twitters, reading up on specific publishing-related topics online, attending ACES: The Society for Editing and Sigma Tau Delta conferences, and viewing ACES webinars.

My plans changed with one night of internet browsing that ended up on the University of Chicago’s Editing Certificate program webpage. After a few days of leaving the application half filled out, I applied for the certificate program on a Wednesday, was accepted on Friday, and was bumped from waitlist to class roster that following Tuesday—for a class that started the day before. Short story short, I’m now enrolled in an editing certificate program! Continue reading

Reflections on Copy Editing My First Full-Length Book Manuscript

In January, I copy edited my first full book manuscript. Naturally, it was an exciting moment for me as an editor. I had prepared for the edit for a few months, but I didn’t know quite what to expect when I sat down to copy edit 46,000 words within one week for the first time. I learned a few things that will make my next book project easier to tackle.

Here’s what I learned (and some things I wish I did) while copy editing my first book manuscript: Continue reading

Editors Can’t Be Perfectionists

I just finished copy editing my first full book manuscript. After I had read through the entire thing, I was searching for “their” to check agreement, and I came across a sentence that was missing a word.

I stared at my computer in horror and blathered incoherent noises for a minute.

Later, as I was doing a final scroll-through of the Word document, I spotted an “every” that should have been “ever.” Oh no! I fixed it, obviously, but the negative thoughts rushed into my head: The manuscript is probably riddled with errors—egregious, noticeable errors—and I will be found out and never trusted with a book manuscript again. I’ll be stuck editing blogs until I go blind.

But then I remembered a very important lesson that I’ve had to teach my perfectionist self: Editors can’t be perfectionists. Continue reading

How I Successfully Cold Emailed My Way Into Two Publishing Internships

‘Twas the summer of 2016, and I was desperate for an internship somehow related to publishing. After my searches for internships showed that there were no relevant ones in St. Louis, where I would live for the summer, I had to figure out how to get the professional experience I desired. I had a list of publishers and literary magazines in St. Louis, so I started cold emailing. Not all of my cold emails were successful; most recipients never acknowledged my emails, in fact. But two were successful.

I emailed Amphorae Publishing and Open Books Press/Brick Mantel Books, introduced myself, and asked whether they needed an editorial intern for the summer. Both publishers responded that yes, they could use an intern.

Now, I’m not suggesting that I know some special secret about cold emails. I don’t—I just got lucky. But if my emails succeeded, maybe they’ll work as helpful templates for writing your own cold emails. Continue reading

To Read or Not to Read: An Experiment in Intentionally Buying Books

I buy too many books.

I see a book that looks mildly interesting on Instagram and save it to my TBR Instagram Collection. I come across interesting articles on LitHub, enjoy the writing or subject, and save the author’s most recent book to my Amazon wish list. I realize that an author who wrote a book I liked has another book…or two…or three…so I buy more of his books for my collection, figuring that I’ll read it some day. I buy them because I write in books, so borrowing from a friend or a library would result in some annoyed friends or libraries.

But the problem is that at this rate, I’ll never read all the books I buy. Honestly, even if I stopped buying books today, I’d have years of new reading material on my shelves. I want to read more, in general, but I need to be more intentional about my choices, especially in which books I spend money on.

Continue reading

Reflections on the Personal Significance of 3 Ishiguro Novels

Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature yesterday; although I am delighted he won such a prestigious award, his importance to me is of a more personal nature. You see, three of his novels played an integral role in the first year of my relationship with my husband, Sean. Readers are funny in this way. Despite the fact that I could study Ishiguro’s novels using my English major skills and write about his skill and genius as a storyteller, I find myself reflecting on the emotional significance of three of his novels upon my life. Continue reading

My Thoughts on BookFest St. Louis

St. Louis just hosted its first annual book festival, BookFest St. Louis, in the Central West End. As a reader, writer, and editor, this event was a dream come true. We don’t get a lot of literary traffic down here in St. Louis, so to have this many authors and book-focused events in one space on one day was amazing.

It’s pointless to describe each event I attended—that would be boring to read. So instead, here are some observations about the various BookFest St. Louis performances and panels I attended. Continue reading

7 Essential Elements Your Book Review Policy Must Have

So you’ve decided to be a book reviewer. You’re itching to get your hands on some advanced review copies for free. But how do you go about doing this?

The first thing you need to do is make sure your book review blog looks professional and represents the type of books you like and the type of reviewer you are. Then, you need to write some book reviews. Authors and publishers aren’t going to send you books if you haven’t proven that you are capable of reading a few books and writing reviews.

Once you’ve written several book reviews and posted them to your blog and elsewhere (Amazon, Goodreads, #bookstagram, etc.), you can start to position yourself as a reviewer worthy of receiving copies of books to review. Create a new page on your book blog titled “Book Review Policy,” put it in your menu, and include these seven elements in it: Continue reading

Steven Meyerhoff Pursues Writing With Passion

Steven Meyerhoff’s 31-year career as an editor of various forms of media, including newspapers, magazines, books and online content, has allowed him to focus on his passion, journalism that evokes an emotion from readers.

“It can be in a newspaper or magazine, bound as a book or online; it could be a photo, or a video,” Meyerhoff said in an email interview. “I love journalism that has a purpose, that makes people think or act, that makes people angry, or happy, laugh or cry, or in this day and age ‘share’ or ‘like’ or ‘favorite.’”

Meyerhoff discovered an appreciation for English and creative writing in high school because of its subjective nature. Continue reading

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