Sandra Wendel, Write On, Inc. (founded in 2000), based in Omaha, Nebraska (which shows that editing can be done remotely anywhere in the world)
Facebook (founder of this group for first-time authors): https://www.facebook.com/groups/firsttimeauthorsclub
Blogger on Medium: https://sandrawendeleditor.medium.com/ (launching in January 2024 a column on editing on Medium called Between the Lines under The Writing Cooperative publication)
Status: part-time/full-time? Full-time independent contractor.
Annual salary range/hourly pay rate? Hahahaha. The best measure of project pricing or hourly work would be the Editorial Freelancers Association annual survey. Use their numbers as a guideline. Don’t be tempted to give away your time. My projects range from an hourly rate of $75 for publishing consulting to thousands of dollars for ghostwriting.
Can you define the duties of an editor? What does your day look like?
I contributed a blog about this very topic for Medium.
What sort of training/education did you receive?
Bachelor of arts, journalism, University of Iowa
Lifelong learning through
- online courses presented by professional organizations such as the Nonfiction Authors Association and the Editorial Freelancers Association,
- in-person classes at a local university as a nondegree student,
- attending (and presenting at) industry conferences, and
- sitting in on hundreds of webinars conducted by publishing, writing, and editing professionals
What’s a recent project you worked on?
I am working with a man who was born a prisoner of war. His family was interned in a POW camp. The horrifying part is that this incarceration was in the United States of America when the US government rounded up Japanese Americans living on the West Coast and herded them into desolate camps in the West during World War II. His memoir defines how this brutal experience shaped his family, his childhood, his outlook on life, and how the racism followed him throughout his professional career as a respected scientist. Chilling, uplifting, a story of resilience. My role has been as a developmental editor, with a little book coaching, and eventually I’ll take him through production and publishing.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I tell people I am not particularly interesting but that I have met some of the most fascinating people in the world who have stories to tell. I love helping them tell their stories. I have worked with Holocaust survivors (an honor); cops such as a DEA agent, Secret Service agent, homicide detective, SWAT cop, narcotics sergeant; US government watchdog/whistleblower over pandemic relief funds; mental health therapists; a priest who served with Mother Teresa in her Yemen leper colony; lawyers; CEOs; rear admiral who was a Top Gun and commander of a nuclear aircraft carrier; combat-wounded Iraq/Afghanistan veteran; Mayo Clinic doctors; world travelers; teachers; college professors; a clairvoyant medium; New Age guru; Disney voice host; FBI analyst; daughter of a NASA astronaut; financial wizards; LAPD undercover cop; Las Vegas Mob historian; tech manager; real estate moguls; rose expert; sky marshal; and ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
What’s something someone wanting to get into your career field should know?
Stay current with other professionals and software resources such as PerfectIt.
This is solitary work. Create a serene workspace for yourself. Block out distractions.
You can’t be perfect all the time. Even though you want to be.
Authors are vulnerable. Respect their work.
Keep learning and polishing your skills. Specialize in certain genres you love.
Find a mentor to get experience and guidance in working with real authors and live manuscripts. Coursework only takes you so far. I am open to mentoring new and aspiring editors.
Are there any resources for breaking into the industry or internship opportunities you’re aware of that you can share?
Aside from the usual certification courses, work with a veteran editor as mentor and attend webinars by others in the chain of publishing. For example, know about book production and marketing because editors are making decisions with authors that will affect the marketing, such as titling and length and content. Find out how books are produced digitally, how cover design matters, why back cover copy is the hardest part of a book to write, and understand the process from idea to draft to editing to design to marketing.
What I felt was missing for first-time authors (and they are all first-time authors) was a book that explained editing, So I wrote it: Cover to Cover: What First-Time Authors Need to Know about Editing ( https://www.amazon.com/Cover-First-Time-Authors-Editing-publish/dp/1732640408 ). I recommend it to editors too.
The NFAA blog is always looking for contributions. Check out our contributions page and see if you or another nonfiction author or speaker you may know could provide an article or interview: Click Here.