by Taylor Puitz
Building Your Author Platform has been one of the best classes I’ve taken in the department. One of the reasons for this was the Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference I attended earlier this semester with the class. While I was there I made many valuable connections. One of the people I met was Estee Zandee, a PWR alum. Estee currently works as an Editorial Assistant at Zondervan. I was able to sit down with Estee for a fifteen-minute one-on-one appointment during the conference.
Since I am looking to edit, as opposed to write, I had no proposal for Estee. Instead, I wanted to pick her brain about the editing world. The first nugget of wisdom I received was to attend a lot of conferences. Making connections is very important for both editors and writers. She said to take advantage of the one-on-one appointments because they are one of the best opportunities offered at conferences. She suggested I attend Write-to-Publish as well as the Festival of Faith and Writing Conferences. Before the Maranatha conference was over, the experience I had in my one-on-ones had already backed up her words. I met with editors and received a lot of advice as well as a job!
Estee also suggested I look into a publishing institute, either in Denver or New York. These programs take place over the course of a summer and show an inside look into the publishing industry. The programs are designed for recent college graduates. Along with providing supplemental information to our PWR program, these programs would provide many connections to peers also looking to get into the industry.
When I asked Estee which classes in PWR had prepared her most for her job, she said Writer’s Craft, Editing, and Manuscript to Book had been particularly helpful. She also said the Francine Prose book Reading like a Writer was helpful for her. She recommended I read On Writing Well by William Zinsser.
If you are wondering how to get yourself out there as an editor when there isn’t a conference going on, Estee had an answer for that as well. She has emailed people, invited them for coffee, and asked for work. She freelanced throughout high school and college and said she put herself out there for people and let them know what she could provide. Taking them for coffee was doing something for them which helps to make it somewhat of an exchange when she is asking for work.
At the conference I met many wonderful writers and editors and even managed to get a few potential editing jobs and was hired by EABooks Publishing. If you have not attended a conference yet, I encourage you to go. Even if you don’t have a book to pitch, or don’t even plan to write one, there are many opportunities at conferences for any job you might want in the writing world.