The third annual BookFest St. Louis was held in the Central West End on Saturday, Sept. 21. As a writer, editor, and reader, this is one of my favorite weekends in St. Louis, as I get the opportunity to hear several writers talk about their craft for free. These conversations between authors always inspire me and encourage me to get better at my writing and editing.
Here are the highlights from the three BookFest St. Louis sessions I attended this year, as well as some thoughts on the event itself.
I find the mundane details of an editor’s process fascinating. I love talking with other editors about what time tracking software they use, how they navigate style guides (do they search or use the table of contents on Chicago Manual of Style’s site?), if they Google basic facts and proper nouns, how they organize a style sheet.
No matter how long you’ve been editing, it’s useful to talk shop with other editors. I always learn new tools to use or ways to work from these discussions.
The Editorial Freelancers Association’s conference took place Aug. 21-23 in Chicago, and I was lucky to attend. I took the train to Chicago on Tuesday, explored The Art Institute on Wednesday, then attended the opening reception of #EFACon2019 on Wednesday night. I met up with a group of editors from Instagram (hi, Alyssa, Jaclyn, Angela, and Heather!) and had a blast attending the conference with them.
I attended two keynotes and six sessions throughout Thursday and Friday and live-tweeted so fellow editors can catch up on the sessions they missed. Read on for insights from the presenters who spoke at #EFACon2019.
As an author, it can be hard to know which developmental editor to choose because each editor’s process is so different. And unlike a line edit, copy edit, or proofread, it’s more difficult for an editor to do a sample developmental edit. You can ask a developmental editor for past client references or their portfolio, but even then it’s difficult to tell what exactly the editor contributed to the book.
I’ve found that the best way to make sure I’m the right fit for a potential developmental edit client is to explain my process thoroughly so they know exactly what they’ll be getting.
I’ll admit it: I have a tendency to overspend on books. I buy books impulsively after reading a recommendation on Instagram or seeing it on a listicle of new books. This led to me reading some great books in 2018 from a variety of small presses, but it also keeps filling up my shelves with books that I’m not committed to reading anytime soon. I’m not going so far as to drastically KonMari my book collection, but I am rethinking my book buying habits this year—both because shelf space is low and because freelancing full time doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room in the budget.
My goal is to buy books more intentionally while still allowing myself to read widely, buy new releases, and stay up-to-date on the book market. Here’s how I’m buying books in 2019.
The first year after graduating from college with an English degree is a pivotal time for a writer: Should I keep working on stories and essays I wrote in college? Should I write new material? Is it worth my time submitting to literary magazines, or should I just write for fun? Will I be so burned out from college writing courses that I’ll just stop writing?
The truth is, I did feel burned out after college. I’ve written about how I felt like I wasn’t a writer in college because I couldn’t write every day; turns out, that problem follows you into a full-time job, especially one that draws on your creative energies like editing does. Making time to write (or even revise older pieces) is a deliberate choice you have to make.
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.
Summer: It’s too hot to exercise outside, and it’s also too busy to curl up with piles of books indoors in the sweet, sweet central air conditioning of our new apartment. I’ll admit: I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. Or maybe it’s more like a reading slowdown. And admittedly, I haven’t been writing blog posts or book reviews, either. So before you start asking, “What have you even been doing all summer?” (hint: so much work), here’s what I’ve been reading in summer 2018.
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