Artist Spotlight: Andrea Reuter
Andrea is a professional editor extraordinaire living in Portland, Oregon. As a multitalented developmental editor and copy editor, Andrea supports and improves a wide variety of beloved and award-winning Hazy Dell Press titles, including middle-grade (e.g., the Hazy Fables series), picture books (e.g., Hazel and the Spooky Season), and board books (e.g., You're Out of This World). Andrea recently took the time to chat with Hazy Dell Press about the differences between developmental and copy editing, her passion for crochet, and the lessons she learned editing a comedy website.
What is your favorite part of the editing process?
Seeing the finished product! It’s so rewarding to watch a project grow from a first draft into a fully formed book, or website, or publication. It’s gratifying to know that my contributions helped to bring the vision to life.
Did you always know you wanted to be a professional editor? Do you remember when you decided to make it your career?
Editing was something I felt I had an aptitude for, but I didn’t always love the idea of it as my profession. Early in my career, it seemed very rigid—you follow the style guide, and that’s all there is to it.
Then I started copy editing for a comedy website, and…let’s just say that a lot of the content didn’t conform to a traditional style guide. So that gave me and the editorial team the opportunity to define a style that made sense for that publication. I learned that there is a thoughtfulness to editing that I really enjoyed, and that’s when I fully embraced it as my career.
As you are well aware, development editing and copy editing are both inherently creative pursuits. Do you have any other creative outlets that you enjoy in addition to editing?
I love to crochet! It’s relaxing and tactile, and I can bring it with me pretty much anywhere. I usually have three or four projects going at once—right now I’m making a huggable stuffie for a friend’s little one, a set of breast forms through the Awesome Breastforms group I volunteer with, and an art piece for a community art show taking place in Portland later this month.
Many readers may not be aware of the differences between developmental editing and copy editing. How would you describe these two very important aspects of the book editing process?
In a nutshell, developmental editing focuses on the story and copy editing focuses on the words. For developmental editing, the editor pays careful attention to the plot, character development, continuity, and the overall structure of the narrative. Copy editing takes place afterward, when the manuscript is close to completion, and the editor will examine the sentence structure, spelling, tone, grammar, and consistency of the manuscript. Both are necessary for creating a well-rounded and professional book.
Slated for publication in September 2023, Hazel and the Spooky Season is Andrea's most recent editing project.
How does your sense of empathy inform your approach to editing?
Writing is such a difficult and solitary process, and there’s a certain vulnerability to putting your story out there for others to read, particularly through editing and revisions. I try to choose my words carefully to ensure my feedback to authors is respectful, specific, and constructive. And kind!
If you could give one piece of advice to a young, aspiring editor, what would it be?
I’ve found it immensely helpful to have a community of editors and writers that I can talk shop with. Online groups and professional organizations are a great resource for editing advice, training opportunities, and job leads. Language is constantly evolving, and there is so much to learn—and so many perspectives to consider. Find a network of knowledgeable editorial folks to support you throughout your career.