Happy New Year! As we start 2016, it occurred to me that I’ve never actually completed an interview form for my own blog. You can learn more about me by clicking around this website, but here’s my attempt at completing the interview sheet that I ask everyone else to complete. Enjoy!
When did you start writing/editing professionally?
I started writing professionally in 2007, when I wanted to get a novel published. I realized I had a better chance of success if I had some bylines, so I contacted a local paper about writing for them.
I started editing professionally in 2012. As the only freelance writer in a small town, the chamber of commerce contacted me about editing some of their documents. I discovered a knack for it and decided to add it to my list of services.
In 2015, after years of tinkering with a variety of types of writing and editing, I launched Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, focusing on fiction editing and copywriting. These are definitely my writing and editing strengths, and I love every minute of the work I do.
Why did you want to be a freelance writer/editor?
I didn’t really want to work freelance. I love working in an office and being around people, but I also love writing and editing and there aren’t any full time jobs in my area for a writer/editor. What really pushed me to take the leap was when my aunt moved in with us in 2012. She’s mentally handicapped, so she needed someone at home with her. Working as a freelancer let me keep working while being able to stay home for my aunt.
What’s your specialty/focus? Why/how did you pick this?
As a writer, I love copywriting – brochures, promotional material, web sites. I still write the occasional article for local papers, but I prefer copywriting whenever I can.
As an editor, I love helping people with their novels (I’m a certified fiction substantive editor with the Christian Editor Connection). I work primarily on adult fiction, but am also comfortable with young adult stories. I don’t edit children’s, middle grade, erotic, or horror because I don’t read those.
I’m happy to copy edit or line edit for non-fiction, but I’m not as confident in my substantive skills for that genre.
What’s your favorite part of this kind of work?
I’m an absolute word nerd, and I love helping people use words to say what they want to say in the way they want to say it (a lot of people think they’re doing this, but their word choices and/or punctuation send a completely different message).
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome during your career?
Focus. I’m not very self-motivated, so I’m easily distracted. I work much better in a structured environment with set rules and standards, and it’s very easy to let things slide when you work in your living room for yourself.
What’s surprised you the most during your career?
Honestly, the more I study, the more surprised I am to realize how much I already understand about writing and editing, I just didn’t know the official term and format. I seem to have a natural talent for reading something and mimicking the style/voice, so that’s helped a lot when writing copy. (I’m not trying to brag, just being honest…)
If you could give a new freelance writer/editor one piece of advice, what would it be?
Know your worth. It’s understandable to do some free work early in your career to get experience and develop your resume, but as some point you need to stop working for scraps. When trained professionals work for $10/hour, it drops the value of everyone’s work.
Your time and talent is valuable – don’t give your services away!
If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?
I would have joined a professional writing/editing group sooner. I’ve learned so much through these associations. They’ve been invaluable to my career.
What’s your favorite kind of work? Why?
Copy work – I know how hard it is to get a business up and running, and a good web site is invaluable. Too many people spend money to have a web site designed, but then they write the copy themselves without realizing that a badly-written web site accounts for more than 40 percent of web traffic leaving your site.
Copy matters! And I love helping people develop copy that accurately reflects their business.
What does your work space/office look like?
My desk is in the living room, so I’m surrounded by a chest freezer, piano, gas fireplace, and sectional. I have a convertible desk so I can work sitting or standing, and I have two monitors so I can easily look between documents. Almost every inch of my desk and work table is covered with papers, books, notes, etc. It’s messy, but I like it.
What is your go-to snack when working?
I’m too moody to have a go-to snack: sometimes I need sweet, sometimes I need savory. The only snack I can always eat are potato chips, so I don’t keep them in the house (or I’d eat the whole bag).
Excluding the CMOS (that’s a given) what one editing resource would you recommend? Why?
I would recommend connecting with a group of editing professionals. I’m a member of the Christians Proofreaders and Editors Network (PEN). I’ve learned more through my association with this group than I have from any book or magazine.
If you could only recommend one writing resource, what would it be? Why?
For fiction, The Basics of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke. This is the best basics book I’ve found. Even if you don’t write Christian fiction, this is a must-read.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
People often think that because they passed high school English they can write their own content, but it’s a skill that needs to be developed. If you just want words on a web site, you can write it. If you want your home page to grab people’s attention and pull them into your web site, hire a copywriter.
You can connect with me online at several places. Check out these sites:
www.karinbeery.com – fiction writing and services
Facebook – learn more about Karin Beery, author
LinkedIn – learn more about Write Now Editing & Copywriting, including freelance and leadership info
Twitter – a little bit of everything