Editors Unplugged: Get to know our panellists for Professional Editorial Standards in Action (Part I)

Interviews conducted by Catherine Dorton.

Our popular monthly program meetings often feature a jam-packed agenda. We like to keep our introductions short, so you can hear more from our panellists and less from us! It’s hard to do justice to the incredible wealth of experience these guests bring to the table, so we are offering you a preview with this short Q&A beforehand.


Amy BrownAmy Brown

What were your goals when you started your career and have you reached them?

I was looking for a career that I could develop on my own time, do from home, and be intellectually engaging. Editing absolutely fit the bill on all three counts! As I’ve matured as an editor, I have learned so much about communication, respect, and empathy.

If you could pick a new profession, what would you be and why?

Funny you should ask. As of this month, I am training to become a personal and business development coach. I wanted to keep the freedom and challenge of freelance editing and add more human contact; I’m perhaps too much of an extrovert to be a full-time editor!

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram? Other? Why? Why not?

No Twitter: too upsetting; No Facebook: too many relatives. I love Instagram; I’m @amyrhoda there. I use LinkedIn all the time to look people up, connect, and remind myself how to spell names.

Amy Brown is based in Toronto and has worked as a freelance academic copy editor and proofreader since 2010. She is a member of Editors Canada and leads the Professional Editorial Standards Communication Task Force. As well as copy editing academic papers, she edited and consulted on the production of several self-published books on software architecture and psychology. As of October 2018, Amy has shuttered her copy editing business and is applying the skills she developed as an editor to a new career in personal and business development coaching.


Elizabeth d'AnjouElizabeth d’Anjou

What were your goals when you started your career and have you reached them?

I didn’t have any goals when I started my career as an editor—except not becoming a freelance editor. That was my mom’s profession, so I knew it would be uninteresting and uncool.

The year I finished high school, I got a summer job working as an admin assistant at a publisher through a friend of my mom’s; the managing editor there went freelance the next year and hired me during the summers I was in college. I started out doing admin and support tasks but was given more and more editorial work with supervision over time. I enjoyed it but always considered it a summer job. After I graduated, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do—I thought I would eventually, probably, decide to go to graduate school somewhere, for something. I came back to my editorial assistant job while I figured it all out…and sort of forgot to leave. After a while I realized that a) I had become an editor, and b) that it was both interesting and cool. Who knew?

I was, however, getting a bit restless in my assistant role and decided to go out on my own. I still didn’t have many clear goals in mind, other than not commuting in the snow any more. I had learned some pretty good editorial skills but didn’t have very good business sense. It took me quite a few years to get to the point of approaching my freelancing strategically. In general, it seems to me that young freelancers I meet today are much savvier than I was; they usually understand from the get-go that a freelancer is a small business owner.

Even today, I’m more of a “go-with-the-flow” than “set-a-hard-target-in-the-distance” person. But I do set business goals for the next year or two, and I make sure to step back every once in a while and think about what’s working for me in my business and my life, the balance between them, and what I might want to do differently.

If you could pick a new profession, what would you be and why?

Sometimes I think I would like to be a midwife. I don’t have kids, but I was in the room supporting a very dear friend and her husband when they had their first child, and it was an extremely affecting experience. For weeks I had a hard time focusing because anything else I was doing seemed so inconsequential when compared to helping an actual new person arrive into the world.

Only much, much later did it occur to me that there’s an obvious metaphorical connection between a midwife and an editor.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram? Other? Why? Why not?

Twitter all the way. Editor Twitter is awesome.

In over 20 years as a freelance editor, Elizabeth d’Anjou has edited trade books, textbooks, academic articles, memoirs, government reports, games, and more. She teaches copy editing for Ryerson University and presents communications workshops across Canada. She recently completed a two-year term as director of standards on the National Executive Council and is currently chairing the publications subcommittee for Edit Like a Pro!, the update of Meeting Professional Editorial Standards. Elizabeth has held many other roles in Editors Canada over the years, including serving as national membership director, co-chairing the Toronto branch, and running the national conference (though not all at the same time). Elizabeth lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario, and helps to co-ordinate the Kingston branch.

This article was copy edited by Nikhil Lobo.

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