BookFest St. Louis is a wonderful daylong event that lets the St. Louis community hear a variety of authors speak for free. I attended the festival in September with my friend Hannah and her sister and had a great time. Here are the sessions I attended and what I took away from them as a reader, writer, and editor.
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.
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!
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
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
‘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
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.
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
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
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?