Interview by Marta Orellana; copy edited by Katie Beaton
Laura Poole will be teaching and sharing her wisdom with us during the Editors BC seminar “Freelance 201” on October 16, 2021.
Let’s get to know Laura a bit before her exciting session!
Tell us a little about yourself, Laura
I live in Durham, North Carolina, with my husband and daughter. I work from home, and during my carefully guarded free time, I enjoy baking and quilting. I even tried out for the Great American Baking Show right before the pandemic! My signature bake is a Bordeaux pastry called a canelé.
I am a modern quilter, meaning I enjoy contemporary designs with modern aesthetics. My current goal is 24 completed quilts in 2021—and I’m ahead of schedule! You can see my quilts and some of my bakes on Instagram, @poole.laura.
I also love to travel (when it’s safe), and I’m definitely an extrovert!
Can you tell us about Archer Editorial Services?
I started Archer Editorial Services in 1997 when I quit my job to freelance full time. I focused on general-interest non-fiction copy editing, but since then I’ve moved into scholarly non-fiction. I work almost exclusively for university presses and other scholarly publishers.
I offer mainly copy editing but also do some proofreading here and there. I also create and conduct training for editors and publishers.
I particularly enjoy supporting other freelance editors in business building.
How did you get started in your editing career?
I began in college, with a work-study at the university press, where I boldly asked them to put me with someone who would teach me something, not just have me make copies all day. That’s where I fell in love with publishing and knew I wanted to pursue it.
I eventually got a job as a desktop publisher (layout) at a local company, then convinced them to promote me to a new position as assistant editor.
Meanwhile, I’d been picking up freelance jobs on the side for ages, and the demand kept growing! When I realized I could make more money freelancing, I quit my job and never looked back.
I was a very naive 24-year-old, but it worked!
What do you love the most about your job?
These days, I love that I have such great loyal clients—I get to pick the projects I want to work on, and not be forced to accept everything that comes my way.
I love learning new things in so many different fields, even though I specialize in humanities. In the past few years, I’ve been doing more sex and gender studies that have been fascinating.
What do you feel are the skills you have that clients most appreciate?
My sharp eye on fact-checking is one thing, for sure. I have caught errors in proof stage that everyone else missed because it seemed correct—for instance, the name of a particular character in a specific comic strip.
Lately, I’ve been able to use my (even limited) knowledge of inclusive and welcoming language to point out problematic areas to clients, who were very grateful.
Can you give us a little teaser about your upcoming session, Freelance 201? What do you hope attendees will take away from the event?
Freelance 201 is for people who have been “doing work, getting paid” for a few years. Maybe they have reached the initial goal of making a living. But it’s natural to wonder, “What’s next?”
We don’t get promotions, raises, or opportunities unless we create them ourselves!
So, this seminar is about making your own opportunities. Sometimes it’s about checking in with your initial vision to see what needs changing, sometimes it involves raising your rates or (gulp!) firing clients, and sometimes it means taking even bolder steps. I’ll be covering several different ways—including mindset shifts—to help grow your freelance business!
Marta Orellana lives in North Vancouver, BC. She is a copy editor, translator and proofreader, specializing Web writing and editing as well as academic and technical writing. Marta is also a French Immersion teacher and a polyglot, whose love of language is what has driven her appreciation for the written word.
When Katie Beaton discovered her love of editing, she decided to enrol in the Editing Certificate program at SFU. A year and a half later, having completed the program, she knew she wanted to work as a professional editor. To achieve that goal, she plans on gaining as much experience as possible in order to take the Editors Canada’s professional certification test. Until then, she continues to pursue her other love: travel (only when it’s safe to do so of course!). When she’s not exploring the world, she can be found teaching yoga and enjoying every brunch spot Vancouver has to offer.
Image provided by Laura Poole