SD/PEN regularly selects members at random and profiles their background and experience in an interview-style blog post. These are valuable opportunities for members to introduce themselves to other members and prospective clients through this newsletter and on SD/PEN’s website and social media outlets. This profile features developmental editor and ghostwriter Maggi Kirkbride.
How do you describe what you do to someone whom you’ve just met at a networking function?
I help writers write their business books. I do developmental editing that helps writers with the overall structure, organization, and style of their material. Sometimes we start with their idea, their podcasts or lectures, or miscellaneous notes. Sometimes we start with their outline or manuscript’s first draft. I also work as a ghostwriter with business book authors, especially for career-related books. That involves me writing and rewriting all or parts of their book.
What made you decide to become a professional editor?
I backed into editing. For most of my work life, I did business and human resources consulting and training, but I was always writing and helping others write better. I coauthored business books, I wrote and edited hundreds of business book reviews, and I was planning to do freelance writing and ghostwriting for my encore career. An acquisitions editor pulled me into a developmental editing project, and it was a good match for my skills and interests. Now “I are one.”
What do you enjoy most about being a member of SD/PEN?
SD/PEN gives me an opportunity to keep learning about editing, and to meet and sometimes work with other editors who may do different types of editorial work, such as copyediting, proofreading, and indexing. It’s great to be with people who care about language and its expression. Right now I’m a fan of the SD/PEN online meeting format that enables us to keep meeting and learning together while COVID-19 keeps us apart.
Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.
I review books for adults who are interested in personal and professional development and in broadening their views of how the world works. The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols is a well-documented book (2017) about what experts know and what “ordinary citizens” know. It examines the gaps and overlaps, as well as where they came from and where they may take us as a society. It’s a discouraging book in some ways, but it’s encouraging in others. It is relevant today considering that our society is fractured along so many lines.
What is your least favorite word and why?
Oh, so many words and so little time. My least favorite word is “try.” I don’t like to hear the word and I don’t like to see it in a book or manuscript. There is no “try.” You do or you do not. Thank you, Yoda.
Describe one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
Most people don’t know I am likely to be the best tap dancer in the room. I started tap lessons before I started school, and I’ve been taking classes, teaching, choreographing, and performing since then. It explains all the shoes I have. And wigs. And the odd sequins and glitter trying to hide around my house.