Despite my years as managing editor for textbooks written in-house at EKS Publishing, I'd say my copyediting career began in 2004, when I started working as a freelance writer/copyeditor at Glodow Nead Communications. Reviewing, editing, and sometimes rewriting early-draft lifestyle industry press releases gave me a taste for the collaborative nature of editing. Others had already written these pieces, and it was my job to create the best possible versions while honoring the authors' intent and preserving the brand voice. I quickly realized that I had the skills to satisfy clients' editorial needs and my own love for collaboration.
Presenting samples of my own written work is easy enough. It's a far greater challenge to depict editorial accomplishments for an audience that wasn't there to witness the process. The obvious answer would be displaying "before" and "after," but I can't think of any writer willing to lend his or her "before" to a public portfolio! Instead, I offer two case studies of my process.
Job: George Lucas Educational Foundation
Title: Blog Editor
I spent five years editing blog posts for the George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia site (half of that time as a contractor, the other half as a full-time employee). The bloggers whose work I edited wrote in a variety of distinctive voices, and my task was preserving those individual voices while also maintaining the overall voice and standards of the site. This included emphasizing the commonality of diverse bloggers with wide-ranging expertise, keeping the tone positive and the language accessible, and using the site's considerable resources to support and enhance the content.
According to Edutopia's Executive Director Cindy Johanson, sessions on Edutopia.org grew by 48% (from 2.3 million to 3.5 million) during my two and a half years as full-time editor. Please read this case study to learn more about my editorial tenure.
Project: Abe Feinberg's Every Child Left Behind: Public Ignorance is the School Administration's Best Friend
Title: Developmental Editor and Copyeditor
Abe Feinberg came to me with a long manuscript that included a memoir of his years as a teacher/reformer, a case study documenting chronic administrative mismanagement in a large urban school district, and a scrapbook's worth of clippings and artifacts to support both. I helped him identify and strengthen the themes running through this work, organize his storytelling, dramatize key events in ways that would better speak to his audience, and consider some of his book design and publication options. On his acknowledgments page, Abe kindly wrote:
"I am particularly indebted to Alan Lipton who did a masterful job of all phases of editing. Not only did he arrange sentences and maneuver paragraphs into a more readable order, but his organizational skills and thorough editing talents were invaluable in the entire process."
High Praise From Leoni Consulting Group
Finally, I'd like to share a generous evaluation of my work by Elana Leoni, from an email addressing her team at Leoni Consulting Group after completing a big push to deliver a major report on a tight deadline:
"Alan, who many of you may not know, comes from the land of Edutopia and boy, we put him to a test today. He started copyediting today at 9 am PT and didn't stop until 5:10 pm PT. At many times, Steve and I were just watching him work and stood in awe of his speed and attention to detail. I don't know anyone who would say yes to this last-minute request and do it with such efficiency and such a positive attitude."
Before this, I'm not sure that I ever had an audience while working in a Google Doc. I'm glad they liked what they saw!