Each month, SD/PEN selects one of its members at random to profile his or her background and experience. This month we are featuring Camille Cloutier, a copy editor and proofreader and a longtime SD/PEN member.
I tell them that I work independently as a copy editor, and as a proofreader at times. When queried about the kinds of subject matter, I respond that I have worked on a variety of books (both fiction and nonfiction), which include biographies, coffee-table books, art books, social studies texts, cookbooks, business reports, training manuals, brochures, advertising, and other print materials.
What made you decide to become a professional editor?
In Vancouver, I first worked as a typesetter/pasteup artist. As a typesetter, I was always correcting the text whenever I found errors. I left that job after five years and started working for a city magazine as a typesetter/proofreader and, after two years, moved to a publishing company that published social studies textbooks, kindergarten–grade six. I joined the Freelance Editors’ Association of Canada (FEAC) and started taking the editing courses that were offered. I eventually bought a computer and started my own business called Word Processing Plus. I moved with my husband to Toronto and worked independently as a copy editor/proofreader for three years. From there we moved to Paris, Windsor, and then to Carlsbad. I took the copyediting program at UCSD and have continued working independently in this milieu.
What accomplishment are you most proud of professionally?
I am proud of the variety of books on which I have worked, and that for each of them, I worked hard to do the best job I possibly could.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of SD/PEN?
I enjoy our meetings; they are always interesting and pertinent. It is a good opportunity to network and meet other like-minded people.
Which quality or qualities would you most like your clients or professional colleagues to remember you for?
That I am a perfectionist and like to follow rules when it comes to copyediting.
Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.
I read Martin Amis’s The Zone of Interest, concerning the Holocaust, and found it fascinating.
Where would you like to go on your next vacation and why?
I would like to return to Paris (and am thinking of doing so during the late summer). I lived there for several years during the nineties and try to return whenever possible for a visit.
What is your favorite or least favorite word and why?
I seem to use the word “tedious” frequently, according to my special fellow.
Describe one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
I do not kill insects if I find them in my flat but catch them in a jar and place them outside.