Ask an Award Winner: An Interview with Margo LaPierre
The Editors Canada student relations committee recently completed a series of interviews with Editors Canada award winners. Each month, we’ll bring you the highlights of our interviews in the hopes that those featured may inspire student editors beginning their careers, as well as editors who are already established.
Margo LaPierre was the winner of the 2019 Claudette Upton Scholarship.
S. Robin Larin: What inspired you to become an editor?
Margo LaPierre: I wanted to be an editor in high school. I’m not sure what inspired it, apart from being obsessed with reading as many books as possible. I remember thinking editors were incredibly cool. I wasn’t wrong!
SRL: What advice would you give to student affiliate editors?
ML: Figure out which community you want to work in, and which community most aligns with your interests and abilities. Twitter and Facebook are great social media platforms for editors, but there are other ways to seek out communities and engage if you’re not into social media. Get creative. Find someone with the job you want, find their contact info online and politely ask if they might have time to answer some questions through email. Seek out volunteer opportunities in your field.
SRL: What has been your biggest challenge in your editing career?
ML: Time management. I began with a mindset that I should say yes to everything, and I had to learn to be selective.
SRL: Who has been one of your biggest influences in the editing world?
ML: The authors I work with are my biggest influence. I learn from them what resonates, and I’m constantly amazed by the craft and wisdom of those authors. Each person brings different strengths to the table, and together we contribute to the creation of a high-level manuscript. My most influential teachers in Ryerson’s publishing program were Gillian Rodgerson, Joy Gugeler and Janice Weaver. I recommend their courses.
SRL: What is your favourite editing-related resource (book, website)?
ML: The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself by Susan Bell and Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovitch are excellent guides created for writers as well as editors. I would never subscribe to the idea that one guide, anthology or manual could ever have the last word on editing. Editing is a practice that is constantly in flux.
SRL: What effect has winning this award had on your editing career?
ML: Since winning this award, my business has taken off in the U.S., all from word of mouth. My clients have mentioned that I received this award to their writer friends when recommending my services. I work with many high-level, mid-career authors, and I believe receiving this award may have helped them put their trust in me. The award is also listed on my Online Directory of Editors (ODE) profile, and I’ve had some work from there. I had the privilege of travelling to Halifax for the 2019 conference, where I got to learn from more experienced editors through their seminars. It felt legit to be at an editing conference and to be one of them.
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