On my first day at ABA, I was assigned the National Bestseller Lists. I went from introducing myself to colleagues to double checking that our weekly publication for thousands of members across the country was spotless, because it was going out the next day. No pressure.
It’s a big responsibility to represent the people, stories, and information we’re sharing with the respect and polish they deserve. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, that means a simple switch of a hyphen to an em dash. In reality, it’s a mindfulness of and respect for who we communicate with and why we’re reaching out at all. It’s ensuring that the information we send is ready, because it serves our members, partners, and the larger publishing community to champion books and indies.
In the months since I sweat over my first editing project going national, I’ve learned to live with the feeling and let it fuel me. At the other side of a set of edits is someone who will join our Institute or virtual program because they need that session to elevate their business, or will handsell that Indie Next List title to a reader like nobody’s business.
For a long time, I was that indie reader, always looking for speculative fiction or a touch of magic in the mundane. I’d disappear between the stacks of the library where I worked, combing the shelves for order as well as new worlds. I picked up Toni Morrison in the rare quiet of the library. In her work as an author, what she left to us on the page, I saw her life as an editor. She teased out every word and shaped my inner world.
She taught me that our words and stories matter. They matter in the shortest blurbs and the longest letters, while we’re here and long after we’re gone. That we will be outlived by our words, and their life after us means it matters to get them right.
At ABA, I aim to bridge the divide between the quiet work I do and the people I do it for. So, I’m here! To copy edit, to chat grammar, to swap favorite words and books (right now, I’m reading Greenland), and to better define the language we use as a community. I am here to communicate and represent members — when I edit, when I support you at conferences, and all the unexpected places where our paths may cross.
I am here, in every edit, in service to people, books, and indies.
Britt J. Camacho
Copy Editor at ABA