An Editor's Life,  And Now a Word from the Editor,  This Life...

Sunday Snippet: The I Love Being an Editor Edition

I gotta tell you, I love, love my job as a freelance copy editor. I’ve got a editorial high going right now because the book I just worked on was a little slice of literary heaven. This author’s voice is so gorgeous and her stories are enchanting. This is the third one of her books I’ve copy edited, and every one has been such a pleasure. I can’t reveal her name right now, but y’all are going to meet her here this spring because she’s agreed to do an Author Spotlight when her first book releases. I’ll be recommending her books to anyone who’ll listen, so watch the Spotlights, okay?

I also did a proofread with Tor/Forge on my first middle-grade fiction book. What a treat that was! With each book I work on, I’m so very grateful that I switched my focus from nonfiction general reference and textbooks to fiction.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved working on the For Dummies books–the ones I cut my editorial teeth on. It was a kick to edit the computer how-tos, general reference, and textbooks on topics such as American Colonial history, WW II diplomacy, psychology, and pop culture. Ask me anything about housebreaking your dachshund, playing guitar, horses, HTML, bridge, the ancient world, cruising the intracoastal waterways, JAVAScript, Microsoft Office, quilting, troubleshooting your PC… well, you get the picture. And to be honest, if you do ask me about any of those or myriad other topics that I’ve worked on in my editing career, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you anything. If I remembered all the stuff from the over one thousand books I’ve copyedited or proofread since I started my freelancing editing career in 1996, my head would explode.

But fiction is where my heart is. Maybe because I’ve always loved to read, maybe because I am also a writer of fiction… I dunno. But being able to help new writers make their stories sing brings me joy. I hope that my brain and my eyesight and my arthritic fingers (oh, and my tired old heart) hold out for a few more years. There are authors I haven’t discovered yet, stories I know I’ll want to read, and writers I’d love to help to tell their stories with elegance and panache. I love being a copy editor–did I say that already?

Gratitude for this week: Gabe and Jenny’s story is done and in my editor’s hands; I got to work on an amazing book; Liz and I leave for our retreat today; we had a wonderful evening with the kids this week; on the bitter cold days, I’m sharing my treadmill with my friend/neighbor Mary, and it’s a treat to chat with while she gets her steps in.

Stay well, stay safe (don’t toss those masks yet), be kind, and most of all, mes amies, stay grateful.


  • Roseann McGrath Brooks

    I’ve been an editor since 1980-something (to quote Adam Goldberg’s timeline), from vacation Bible school books for toddlers to corporate communications. I, too, love it! I missed the boat on fiction editing, but I think my internal copyedits of everything I read should count. 🙂 I look forward to “meeting” your new writer. Congrats on getting your next book to your own editor.

    • Nan

      Thanks, Roseann! I do think editing is in the blood, don’t you? I totally agree that anything your internal editor fixes in anything you read definitely counts. 😉 Hugs, baby!

  • Janine

    Editing is a very important job. I know I wouldn’t be able to do it. I am intrigued who the new author is that you edited the book for. I guess we will find out soon enough. 🙂