Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes
I’ve wanted to be an editor since I was in the eighth grade butchering my classmates’ stories and realizing how much I enjoyed doing content editing and copy editing. So I began my serious study of the English language because, frankly, public education doesn’t teach English that well, and it was up to me to fill in the holes of my education (like how to REALLY use commas, not just commas in a list). But it wasn’t until college did I start to take this career path seriously, especially considering I knew I would need credentials before even interning or at least working at a local magazine.
After being published in The Oddville Press, I came across a thread on their associated website that was asking for slush pile readers. Having no experience, I expressed my desire to be one due to my love of the English language and wanting some editorial experience. So they took me on as a slush pile reader where I finally got experience on the other side of things. One thing I learned from them: that first page is critical because there are lots of other subs to read and if I don’t like that first page, I might as well pass on it because it’s just time consuming to read a manuscript that doesn’t interest me. I slush piled with them for about a year before they ended the magazine because we just couldn’t keep everyone together, but it was an experience I was happy to be a part of. It’s a small step toward achieving a dream, after all.
After The Oddville Press caved, I somehow stumbled across this gothic magazine–even though I can’t remember how. I saw it was a brand new magazine looking for some staff members, and I decided to apply as an Executive Editor. Not only did I have The Oddville Press as experience, but I was an editor for my high school’s newspaper (I really don’t count it because I didn’t have too much of a say in how things were done), and I wrote for the teen section of my local newspaper. The owner of the magazine decided to bestow me with the title, and I got to work right away writing articles, editing the articles of others, editing fiction, writing fiction, doing some photography, looking for poetry and photography, and seeking out ads to put in the magazine. I even edited a few pieces for a program we were trying to do for teen journalists. I even wrote an entire style guide for the magazine based off the Chicago Manual of Style because I noticed my style of editing differed from the other editor’s style of editing, and we needed one style in order to give the magazine some consistency. So I learned loads working for Sorean. But I eventually had to leave because Sorean was on a break, and I needed to move on, as, during my stint at Sorean, I got called on as an editorial and communications intern for YALITCHAT. I was also working at my university’s writing center at the time, where I learned a lot too and began receiving clients for my freelance editing.
As an editorial and communications intern, I was in charge of keeping the website edited, maintaining a list of paid members, maintaining Georgia McBride’s marketing plan, assisting Georgia McBride with with her beta readers, and even her own manuscript on occasion; editing and formatting the newsletter; writing for the newsletter (of which I did like two or three times); vetting query submissions for the agent inbox (at YALITCHAT, if your query gets approved, it gets sent to an agent who puts it as top priority versus those that haven’t been vetted); line editing query letters ready to go to an agent; and assisting with member concerns and greeting new members. I learned enormous amounts about editing from Georgia McBride who edited half of my manuscript. I also learned loads just from beta reading for some of her clients when she wanted to prove a point to her client because he/she wasn’t willing to make the changes needed to better the manuscript. Unfortunately, this is when fibro began to attack me and I had to resign. I just couldn’t do it. Plus, I was in the process of forming my own literary magazine.
In truth, I wanted my own literary magazine for the longest time, but I had no experience and had no idea how to go about starting one. But because of all the experience I received from my previous editorial stints, I finally received the knowledge on both the editorial and business ends of how to start one. That, and meeting Daphne, who was interested in helping me make this happen, birthed The Corner Club Press (so named because we sat in the corner of the classroom with our friends and called ourselves The Corner Club). I enjoy every moment of getting to make this magazine come alive. I used to do the photography, but lately all my photography ideas have mainly been for my novel and I can’t come up with any that can comply with a magazine. I still edit, and it is a joy being able to make someone’s day just by sending them an acceptance–even though we do not pay. I love interacting with the writers on the Facebook page because I aim to be personal with everyone who likes us. Even though there have been times where I’ve had to take long vacations from this literary magazine, I have always came back to it because people want to be in it no matter what. And I want to be fair to the writers who submit to us because, well, without writers this magazine wouldn’t exist. Seriously.
I currently am existing in my editorial dream. I’m not being paid for The Corner Club Press, but I certainly do get paid for my freelance editing, of which wouldn’t be possible without all the editorial experience I’ve earned the past few years. I love having my own magazine, my own project, and I love being a freelance editor because I get to function as a teacher and watch my clients grow as writers. That is invaluable experience I would not give up for anything.