Kay Coulter, like many editors, didn’t set out to be an editor. As is often the case, one thing led to another and Kay now finds herself as an experienced ESL book editor. Here’s how she got started on her journey…
When did you start writing/editing professionally?
I published my first book in 1996 and revised it in 2000–Proverbs for Personalities.
Why did you want to be a freelance writer/editor?
I was trained and experienced as a professional speaker and was encouraged/challenged to write books to make available at my event venues. I found writing uses much the same methodology as speaking, so I started by writing about personalities, one of the subjects that my ministry partner and I spoke on. Since then I’ve published two other books (Victim/Victor: It’s Your Choice and Free to Be). After the second one was written, I joined my business/ministry partner in editing (Janet Crews). I learned much about the editing process through my own books being edited. I needed supplemental income as my event schedule was slowing down, so editing provided that.
What’s your specialty/focus? Why/how did you pick this?
My specialty is working with authors whose first language is not English. One of my earliest clients came from West Africa and she needed a lot of help. Since that first effort I have done about twenty books for her, she has recommended me, then others caught on that I was good at interpreting what ESL authors were trying to say. So my expertise just evolved.
What’s your favorite part of this kind of work?
Helping authors and teaching them principles of good writing. I also enjoy learning new things from their books.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome during your career?
The times of famine! It is a challenge to keep a good outlook when work is slow in coming in.
What’s surprised you the most during your career?
The validation I have received from authors, and the support of Kathy Ide when I was dealing with a problem author.
If you could give a new freelance writer/editor one piece of advice, what would it be?
Learn all you can about the process; don’t be afraid to admit you need help.
If you could do one thing differently in your career, what would it be?
I would probably do more marketing.
What’s your favorite kind of work? Why?
I love doing fiction! The rules are relaxed and I get to read a good story.
What does your work space/office look like?
I took over one bedroom in our house to be my office. I can tolerate a lot of clutter but I still know how to find things I need. I have my resource books at hand on a long table behind my desk chair and my computer is on a desk, along with my scanner and printer. So I don’t have to get up much! Ha! I also have two bookshelves, one of which holds several weights of paper, notebooks, stackable trays for miscellaneous items, and plenty of pictures of my family. I keep a daily desk calendar for scheduling. I also have several organizers (so I can pretend to be organized–Ha!). There are two file cabinets in which I do organize files.
What is your go-to snack when working?
Dr. Pepper and Sweet & Salty Bars
Excluding the CMOS (that’s a given) what one editing resource would you recommend? Why?
The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style–because it has more emphasis on Christian writing.
If you could only recommend one writing resource, what would it be? Why?
Writer’s Digest–a good source of articles having to do with all kinds of writing.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s important to follow God’s will as closely as possible. I would never have written anything had I not felt led of God to do so. I spent 25 years in ministry, speaking and singing on behalf of a world hunger organization and other mission efforts, as well as women’s ministry. God used that service to help me to continue to grow and stretch as a writer and editor.
Thank you so much for appearing on my blog! Have a blessed day!