I’ve been a copy editor for more than 16 years. Before that, I was a writing and literature teacher, and before that, a graduate student in English. Before that I was just another undergraduate who read a lot of novels, wrote papers about literary works, and aspired to be a writer.
Time has certainly flown since I took my first editing test one summer in New Delhi, a short exercise in what is better known today as “language polishing.”
Over the years, I have seen copyediting referred to by other terms and terminologies — “language polishing” being one of them — but the day a senior editor handed me a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style and said, “This is your bible. Memorize it,” a whole new window on editing opened for me.
After sixteen years of mastering the Chicago Manual of Style and other style manuals, I know now that copyediting is a lot more than just “language polishing” or memorizing style conventions. In fact, it is sometimes an art and sometimes a science, but more often than not, judging by the many blogs authored by editors, it is a practice that borders on an obsession.
Today, I run my own small editing business called Absolute-Ink Editorial, and I live in Houston, Texas. Over the years, I have worked as a full-time, part-time, and freelance copy editor and proofreader on a staggering variety of book manuscripts, articles, website copy, and essays, mostly on humanities and social sciences subjects, but occasionally on medical topics and K-12 mathematics textbooks.During the first part of my career in publishing, I headed small teams of editors, trained them, recruited more, drove quality assurance, and managed textbook projects between India and the United States. After 2012, I decided to go freelance, get married, study some more, adopt a child, and, in 2020, start my own business from my home.
So here I am, waiting to share what I have learned along the way in my journey from avid reader to exacting editor.