Maya Berger

Maya Berger

Maya Berger

Professional Member

Why did you choose an editorial career, and how did you get into it?

I've always liked reading and language, and in high school and university my friends would sometimes ask me to read over their papers before they submitted them. I enjoyed helping them find the right words to express their meanings, and after university I got my first job as an Editorial Assistant for a higher education news publisher.

What training have you done to get your editorial career up and running?

My degrees in English Literature and Philosophy have given me a solid foundation, and I learned to follow and create house styles, proofread on screen and page proofs, and manage a team of editors on the job while working in house for a publisher. More formally, I have completed the Publishing Training Centre's Introduction to Proofreading and Basic Editing by Distance Learning courses, and I'm currently enrolled in one of the SfEP's copy-editing courses. I have also learned a tremendous amount from attending SfEP conferences.

What work are you most proud of?

That's a bit like asking a parent which of their children they love most! My first-ever freelance editing project will always be special to me. It was a YA fantasy novel by an independent author, and I did a developmental edit and copy-edit on it. This first experience working directly with the author to tighten up the plot and clarify the character motivations confirmed that editing is definitely the career for me.

I am also immensely proud of the editing work I did on Becoming Canadian, a book of interviews with new Canadians who had just taken their oaths of citizenship.

What do you do if you're struggling on a job?

My editor colleagues are fountains of wisdom and support, and I can call upon them either in person via the Toronto SfEP chapter or online via the SfEP forum. I'm especially fortunate in that my roommate, Rachel Small, is a fellow freelance editor and SfEP member. And sometimes simply going for a walk or taking a break to play with my cat will clear my head and let creative solutions come to me.

What does being a member of the SfEP mean to you?

For me, it means having all of the perks of having colleagues (support, mentorship, training and networking opportunities, and setting the standard of editorial excellence for the industry) with none of the drawbacks (office politics, a cutthroat atmosphere and arguing over when to turn the heating on).

Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?

In Fiction, I love spotting and fixing little inconsistencies like name spellings and character traits, and I love helping an author find ways to add inclusiveness and diversity to a story in a way that feels natural. In non-fiction, I'm one of those strange people who likes checking references for accuracy, completeness and consistency.

Do you have any editorial pet hates?

Male pronouns as the default and the grocer's apostrophe.

What has most surprised you about your editorial career?

I was surprised by how many opportunities there are to engage with other editors. The stereotype of the solitary editor interacting more with books than people is not true for me at all, and I've learned so much from group meetings, conferences and friendships with fellow editors.

What's the best career advice you've received?

Trust in your abilities, and join the SfEP!

What advice do you have for people starting out on an editorial career?

If you're a freelancer, embrace marketing and budgeting. It's empowering, and the same organisational skills, attention to detail and conscientiousness that you apply to editing will serve you well in growing your business.

Do you ever stop editing?

I admit I can't help but spot typos in the fiction I read for fun or in shop signs and menus. But I wouldn't correct someone's grammar in a text or social media post – unless they pay me to, that is!

Finally, tell us one thing about you not related to editing

I am a karaoke legend in my own mind. I will find any excuse to include karaoke in my party plans, and the cheesier the songs the happier I am.

The SfEP does not give any special endorsement to the members who appear in Meet our members. If you are looking for an editorial professional, we recommend you search the Directory of Editorial Services.