Andy Meisenheimer is a freelance writer and editor. He edits manuscripts for writers and for publishers, coaches published and unpublished writers in the art and craft of writing, and writes for fun and for profit. He is a fiction editor for The Red Fez, an online literary magazine. He lives with his family in New York City.
Give us a little bit of your history in publishing, and how you got started freelancing.
I started in college working at an indie bookstore, managing frontlist and backlist, among other things. From there, I began working at a publisher in sales, the kind of sales that has you traveling a three-state region visiting other mom-and-pop bookstores and small chains. I know Minnesota-Wisconsin-Illinois really really well. I moved from sales to acquisitions at the same publisher, and had a blast. Signed a bunch of good authors to write good books that all of nobody bought or read. Signed one New York Times Bestseller. Seemed as good of a time as any to retire (not really how it happened)—and so I became a freelancer. At first, I split my time between a long-term contract editing a series of mysteries, and working smaller gigs directly with authors themselves, and that’s sort of how I got started. Since then, I’ve co-written a book, I’ve written a lot of back ad copy, and I’ve done some acquisitions consulting and other odd jobs.
What kind of projects do you normally work on, and how do you get those projects?
My expertise, as it were, is in development and line editing. So most of my work is with authors and publishers early in the process, as opposed to the later copyediting and proofreading. I love to work with novelists, and I also have lots of experience with non-fiction as well, so I have been moderately successful at keeping a balance between the two.
The work I do with publishers comes from relationships I’ve built with editors and marketers in the business. But I also do work directly with authors, and that comes mostly from word-of-mouth. I really enjoy working with authors, and I think for the most part the feeling’s mutual, and that gets me a decent amount of referrals.