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Meet Katie McCoach of KM Editorial

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie McCoach.

Katie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After I graduated college, I knew I wanted to work with books. Figuring out exactly how I would do this was challenging, to say the least. I worked with literary magazines, a small publishing house, and a literary agent, but I felt most like myself when I worked directly with writers to help them enhance their craft. When I moved to Los Angeles a year post-college, I tried desperately to find a job in editing. But when you search for jobs in editing in LA, it’s all for film editing.

Finding something in publishing was proving almost impossible. My first month in LA, I went to a networking event for people in media and publishing, and I met a gal who said she needed an editor. She must have seen something in me that she liked, because she became my first client and gave me my first raving testimonial. Suddenly, I realized I could run a business. I could be my own boss. It took a couple more years of working another job while slowly building my client base before I was able to dedicate myself full time to KM Editorial, LLC. Now, I focus on content editing romance, YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and memoirs, and I have a fantastic team of editors who perform copyediting and proofreading services.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Building a company from the ground up, while doing it all on your own, is never easy. One of the best things I think I did was invest in a website designer before I marketed my services. Surprisingly, it became my best sales tool. People were reaching out to me by finding me online. My clients come from all over the world. But working project to project is not easy, and there have been times when work is low. I am constantly trying to find new ways to reach out to potential clients. The type of work I do—developmental editing—is often still seen by some writers as unnecessary. So not only am I competing with other editors, I’m competing with relevancy. Working alone is lonely. Even for an introvert. Not having coworkers is difficult sometimes. Who can I vent to? Who can I talk through problems with?

Fortunately, over the years I’ve met people online and in person through groups on Facebook, at conferences, and through contests. I am now part of a great community of editors and other professionals in the publishing industry, and it’s made a world of difference. There’s a close-knit editing group a few of us formed after we participated in a contest together, and it’s amazing to have people who understand the nuances of the issues you face not only as a freelancer, but as a developmental editor. And although these editors are my competition, I never look at them as people I need to beat for a job. We constantly refer clients to each other and find ways we can collaborate—for example, we have co-created an annual contest called RevPit for emerging writers. There are other struggles of course.

There will be with any job. Bookkeeping, taxes, paying for health insurance out of pocket. Oh, and without employees or coworkers, sick days are not an option. But overall, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished; I make a living in Los Angeles and when I can, I help provide work for other amazing girl-bosses.

Please tell us about KM Editorial.
I am a developmental book editor, or in other words, a content or story editor. To some, I’m a sounding board—I let authors know if they are on the right track with their story. To others, I’m a book coach—I guide their writing to its full potential. To many, I’m a teacher—I give them a focused look at what to do, what not to do, and why any of it even matters. No matter what I am to a writer, my goal is always the same: work with writers to help them create their best story.

I don’t do the work for my authors. Instead, I give them all the tools they would need to grow their craft. There is something magical about giving authors encouragement and constructive criticism and seeing them use that to create something beautiful, something they are proud of. Day by day, I read clients’ books and provide feedback on the plot, characters, and writing. There’s a bond that tends to form between writer and editor. There’s vulnerability involved. I don’t take that lightly. I’m invested in my authors’ careers. When I see book contests that sound perfect for an author, I encourage them to enter.

Several of my clients have gone on to win awards for their books. Not only have they published something they are proud of, that they created on their own, but they’ve been recognized for their achievement too. And the characters of those books are ones I hand a small hand in helping grow. I’m not sure it can get more rewarding than that.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is an amazing place for those who are looking for motivation. I fully credit LA with starting my business. I hadn’t considered the fact before moving here.

It was the people I met who were so passionate about different things, who were determined to make their dreams a reality, who would try no matter what the outcome may be. They motivated me. They kept me moving forward, even when it was tough (and it was). But of course, LA is expensive. I’m not sure how I would afford a physical office if I needed one. You have to truly love Los Angeles to want to establish a business here.

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Image Credit:
Anne Salas for the last photo in the article

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