Today is Otherworld Editorial‘s second anniversary! In the days ahead I hope to make some long overdue updates to the web site, but in the meantime it’s fitting that I take a moment to express my gratitude to all those who have supported OE the last couple of years.
To the family and friends who have had my back, to the professional associates and acquaintances who have recommended my services and sent referrals my way, and to the wonderful clients who have entrusted me with their words…I thank you. Your faith has meant the world to me.
Today marks the first anniversary of Otherworld Editorial. Yes, really! Believe me when I say no one is more surprised that OE is still a going concern than I am. What started as a dubious experiment to formalize my freelance editing services during a dreary economy has easily exceeded my most optimistic expectations, not only in the number of authors who have sought me out and retained my services, but in the tremendous satisfaction I’ve taken from the work itself. And as anyone who knows me will attest, I’m a pretty optimistic guy to begin with.
Even so, I’m finding I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that Earth has made a complete circuit of sun since I launched OE.
Time speeds up subjectively as we get older. I first noticed this in my late teens. I realized that as one’s past gets longer, common temporal units of measure—months, years, decades—take up an increasingly smaller percentage of one’s total life experience, giving us the illusion of accelerating toward old age. But even though I understand intellectually that this momentum is all in my head, I now find myself taken completely off guard by how quickly this last year has gone by.
Partly this has to do with the inordinate number of career-related milestones I hit during this time. As interest in OE was gaining steam in late 2010, I made my TV debut as a featured participant in a Biography Channel special about the Captains of Star Trek; in late March 2011, I accepted a position on the editorial staff at Tor Books; in May I celebrated my 20th anniversary as a publishing professional; in June I mourned the death of Martin Harry Greenberg, who taught me the importance of giving unknowns a chance to shine; in July my first story in more than two decades was published; and in August I attended my first Worldcon, the premiere gathering of luminaries in science fiction literature, and the venue of the genre’s most prestigious award, the Hugo.
It was an eventful year. And throughout it all, Otherworld Editorial kept going and going, the proverbial Energizer lagomorph.
I’ve never been comfortable boasting of my accomplishments. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But I’m unapologetically proud of OE: it’s allowed me to connect with some pretty amazing and passionate people whose enthusiasm and appreciation for the services I provided has been, to me, the highest measure of OE’s initial success. And as thrilled as I’ve been with the number of clients I’ve taken on over the last twelve months, being told time and again that I’ve made a positive difference to the craft of these aspiring writers has meant much more, validating my belief that helping storytellers is the work I was meant to do.
So a heartfelt thank-you goes out to everyone who entrusted me with their words this past year—those who took a chance on me when there were so many other editorial consultants out there to choose from. I’m humbled by your faith in me.
That was Year One. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Time for another lap around the sun.
Scored this on a visit to Simon & Schuster today.
Feeling very jazzed!
I had intended to post an update sooner, but it’s been a busy couple of weeks. The new job has been great, my coworkers are awesome, and I even found a great place for gyoza. I also picked up two new OE clients during this time, celebrated my oldest son’s acceptance to the arts program of his first-choice high school, and joined my youngest for the start of his first season of little league. In summary, life is good.
Below are some shots I took of my new professional digs, the truly amazing Flatiron Building. The first shot is the building as seen from the Northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street.
Below is what it looks like from the Southwest corner of of Fifth and and 22nd Street.
This last image shows the Broadway side.
My deadlines for the week have been met, so I can go to LunaCon guilt-free. The difference this will make to my ability to enjoy myself and make the most of the con cannot be understated. Oh, I’ll still have plenty of work waiting for me come Monday, but it won’t weighing on my mind all weekend.
The con has published its programming schedule, and the selection of panels is every bit as interesting as I’d hoped. I’m focusing on two tracks: business and writing, with a couple of stopovers in literature. In between, I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends, and making new ones.
Strange things are afoot. I’ve picked up three clients in three days, and this development comes after a fairly busy January and February. But while it’s tempting to imagine this is the start of a trend, I know better than jump to any hasty conclusions. Still, the continued interest in OE is very gratifying, and I feel pleasantly energized by it.
A confession: I never thought I was wired for freelancing. I’ve spent too many years gainfully employed by one company or another to think I could adjust to the uneven work flow, the irregular income, or the lack of structure that comes with being an independent contractor. And yet, here I am. The most surprising thing for me, though, turned out to be not that I was able to adapt to going freelance, but just how easy the transition was.
Twelve years working for a New York publishing house can pound the crap out of you. I’ve seen it happen in far less time. But the truth is, I really love editing. Always have. Sure, there’s a fair share of frustration that comes with the job, because so much is beyond an editor’s control or ability to influence. I had my days of banging my head against the desk—who hasn’t? But there’s a unique sort of rush I get from brainstorming with a writer, from being one of the first people to read a manuscript, or from suggesting a turn of phrase or twist in a story that an author knows will make a positive difference.
Making a difference is, to me, what being an editor is all about. It’s the drive to want to continue collaborating with writers and helping to fuel their creative fire that led me to doing the very thing I thought I couldn’t do: re-imagine myself professionally.
It’s been an interesting journey so far. But honestly, the decision to follow this path wasn’t entirely my own. I had plenty of help: authors and former co-workers who have encouraged me; friends and family who have supported me; and a wife and children who every day make me feel as if I’m capable of anything.
All things considered, that’s actually a pretty cool place from which to begin.
Now let’s get to work.