Lisa Poisso has been a professional editor and writer for more than twenty-five years. An award-winning journalist and former corporate communications professional, she is now a fiction editor and book coach specializing in working with new and emerging authors. Her Author’s Guide to Finding and Hiring an Editor is available free on her website. Sign up for her newsletter to get her latest advice and resources for fiction authors, or find her at LisaPoisso.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
From a traditional journalism and corporate communications background, I got into digital publishing in the early 2000s as the founder and publisher of a regional website for natural parenting resources—a personal interest, thanks to my growing family. The hosting was donated by a developer friend, but I did everything else myself, including designing, writing, and maintaining the site using Microsoft FrontPage. Once I’d had a taste of that, it was hard going back to working in an office on someone else’s message.
Digital publishing tech has evolved so quickly that everything since then has seemed like easy mode, leaving me fearless about taking on new digital endeavors. I’ve written, edited, researched, formatted and more for a variety of web media.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Today, fiction editing and book coaching is my bread and butter, and I do that from the sanctity of my own studio nest. I’m not much for working at the local coffee shop or on the patio or even the couch. I’m happiest curled in my easy chair with my Kindle and a notebook or sitting at my desk, surrounded by books, or set up at my PC with customized macros and shortcuts and tools. Social media keeps me connected with colleagues across the world for instant help with a sticky question or a bit of watercooler chat.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
I edit in Microsoft Word, the publishing industry standard. But Google is the glue that holds the rest of my business together: G Suite, Google Docs and Sheets, Chrome, and Google Calendar.
About twice a year, I get curious about the latest productivity and business tools. Most of them end up feeling like one more thing to keep up with, rather than something that actually streamlines my work. Slack was a notable time sink—great for remote teams, but duplicative and distracting for me. I’ll always keep experimenting, though. I use Fanurio to track project work time; it’s not as sexy as other online time trackers, but I depend on all the different ways it manages to nudge me when I’ve been clicked out of billable work for too long. Canva makes so many graphics tasks simple, and I love the way Calendly lets clients and potential clients sign up for a phone consultation without all the back-and-forth.
WHAT DO YOU DO OR GO TO GET INSPIRED?
Reading fiction as an editor is an exhilarating combination of escapism plus creative development—not a combo you find every day.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
Whatever manuscript I’m working on or reading for pleasure—seriously. I could never have a Top Ten Books or Top Twenty Movies list. Wherever I am creatively at any given moment, that’s what captures my heart.
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Helping new authors learn their craft in an accessible way. I’ve just launched a new service called the Plot Accelerator that’s like a developmental X-ray of the bones of a story—at a fraction of the cost of a full edit. New authors need tools like this that help them get the basics under their belts and get their stories on track without draining their entire editing budget in the process. I’m excited about developing ways to help make that happen.
IS THERE A PRODUCT, SOLUTION OR TOOL THAT MAKES YOU THINK IT IS A GOOD DESIGN FOR YOUR DIGITAL PUBLISHING EFFORTS?
There’s never been a more supportive time to publish your first book, whether traditionally or via self-publishing. The internet is full of reliable, actionable, easily discoverable advice on how to realize your dream of getting published. Depending on how motivated you are, you can DIY much of this, with the notable exceptions of editing and cover art—both best accomplished with the help of a seasoned professional. My Author’s Guide to Finding and Hiring an Editor is available for free on my website to help make the process of finding the right editor that much simpler.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Just because it’s technologically possible to make yourself heard online or in print doesn’t mean every opportunity is the right opportunity. Will you be proud of what you’re doing two years from now? Five? Ten? A life of nothing but stepping stones feels exciting in the moment but often leads in circles. Find a place that makes this moment feel like the best time of your life to be working and living.