My Editing Past and Future

One of the great things about Portland State University’s Book Publishing Program is that we students get to dive into each of Ooligan’s departments—marketing, digital, design, editing, social media, and acquisitions—through our classwork. I had one department in mind when I applied here: editing. I, like almost everyone who goes into publishing, really want to be an editor. I thought I had a good grasp on editing. After all, I have a BA in English literature with a minor in creative writing. I started my own freelance editing business called Edit Revise Perfect. I have clients that love my work. I thought I was set.

However, when I first applied back in 2012, I didn’t get in. Why? Well, there were a few reasons, honestly, but one of the reasons was that my resume had mistakes. It wasn’t edited properly. I was shocked. Not edited properly? I looked at the document many times. How could there be mistakes? Sure enough, when I looked at it again with fresh eyes and really paid attention to the little details, there were mistakes. Quite simply, it wasn’t consistent. As an editor, it was a humbling experience. I knew, then and there, that I had to get into this program and learn how to catch those errors.

When I took my first editing class from Per Henningsgaard in Winter 2015, I learned all four Cs of editing. I learned that consistency is key, but clarity, correctness, and coherency are important too. I also learned to read slowly—very slowly. One of the most important lessons I took away from the class was how to style a developmental edit letter. I had a very specific way of writing them for my clients before, but the way Per taught the subject makes much more sense; his way respects the author’s emotions more than mine did. I bowed to his editorial judgment. Since then, I’ve applied the new style to my business, and I know my clients appreciate it. I feel like I honed my skill quite a bit during his class.

But I wanted to learn more.

This term, I’m taking copyediting with Adam O’Connor Rodriguez. While I do copyedit, it isn’t my strongest suit. I’m a bit rusty on all of the rules, and more often than not, I refer back to my guides. This term, I’m hoping to not only better embrace some of the rules, but to learn tricks to remember them. While referring back to guides is not a bad thing and is something every editor should do if they are unsure, I hope this class will sharpen my copyediting skills so I won’t have to look as much.

I’m also excited about applying what I’ve learned and what I will learn to my Ooligan Press comanagement position for Write to Publish 2016. One aspect of the job is looking over the team’s work to make sure that any writing (press releases, website copy, social media posts, etc.) is done properly. I look forward to that challenge and (secretly) hope the editing department won’t have much to say about the W2P documents after I’m through with them.

Overall, I’m quite happy I got into this program. The book publishing program is a unique one, filled with hands-on experiences that students would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. I thought I knew a lot about editing before I started here. Turns out I only knew the tip of the iceberg, and I look forward to diving deeply in the future.

Write to Publish Recap

By Kait Heacock
This year’s Write to Publish conference, our fourth, marked a great success for Ooligan Press. Not only did we make money (always a plus), we also introduced many new people to our student staffed publishing house, and more importantly, we helped bring writers, readers, and publishers together. Fresh off the success of our first Transmit Culture lecture series, we continued our work toward demystifying the publishing industry with an all-day conference that featured readings, panel discussions, and workshops.
 Lidia Yuknavitch on a panel
The day’s theme was “Write What You Know” and focused on non-fiction in its many forms, from travel writing and memoir, to journalism and biography. Writers Lidia Yuknavitch, Floyd Skloot, Kevin Sampsell, Ooligan Press’s own Sean Davis, and many more writers explored what it means to write from personal experience. The panels were lively as industry professionals discussed such topics as ethics in journalism and how to sell a travel writing piece.
Per and student
In the classroom publishing panel discussion, Director of Publishing, Per Henningsgaard, discussed the role he feels publishing plays in education, noting that it can be used to “teach anything.” Former Director of Publishing and Ooligan Press founder, Dennis Stovall, believes publishing education helps empower students by giving them an outlet for their writing. He now volunteers with Roosevelt High School students at their own student staffed press. Some of the Roosevelt students appeared on the classroom publishing panel to discuss their own publishing ambitions, which includes publishing their own book later this year.
Journalism panel
In the morning workshop “History and Biography: Forward Through the Past,” Michael McGregor, the current MFA Director, PSU professor, and a writer himself, said that the writing you should be working on now is “whatever you’re obsessed with.” For all those writers who attended this year’s Write to Publish, we hope that whatever your next project is, you find the best avenue for writing it. Hopefully, this year’s Write to Publish conference helped make that path a little clearer.