Since 1981, I've edited a couple of hundred books and several periodicals, as well as dissertations, business reports, and advertising copy, among other things. I started out as a proofreader, then began editing books for small presses in Vermont and New Hampshire—lots of cookbooks and gardening books—and eventually established a national clientele, primarily of book publishers, for whom I have edited a wide variety of materials (see Books Edited).
Fiction or nonfiction, trade, academic, or niche publishing—whatever I am editing, the most important part of my job is to help the author communicate his or her ideas to the reader, and to do that without sacrificing the author’s voice. I do copyediting, substantive editing, and developmental editing, as well as proofreading and indexing. I’ve compiled bibliographies and endnotes; composed titles; written captions and flap copy; and worked with authors and designers to choose illustrations. I'm also accustomed to working with authors whose first language is not English.
Attention-getting items on my book list include Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City, which gave birth to the television series; a short and little-known work by James Michener, The Eagle and the Raven, published late in the author’s life by a small press in Texas; Sherman Alexie’s first novel, Reservation Blues; and a nonfiction book about the Civil War, Shrouds of Glory, by Forrest Gump author Winston Groom (who credited me in his acknowledgments as “possibly the best line copy editor I have ever known”).
Over the years, my clients have repeatedly remarked on my thoroughness, as well as my attention to detail and my ability to consider the organization of the whole project while attending to its many parts. One long-time client described me as being good at rephrasing without having to rewrite. I am accustomed to working with The Chicago Manual of Style and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. These days, I work both on hard copy and with Track Changes in Word. I have at least a passing familiarity with French, Spanish, Italian, and German.