Jake Poinier, aka Dr. Freelance, has worked in publishing since 1989 and has been a full-time freelance writer and editor for more than 15 years.
What path did you take to editing, Jake?
I received the editorial gene from my maternal granddad, who worked for many years at McGraw-Hill and had an incredible library that I immersed myself in at every opportunity. Aside from writing for my high school and hometown newspapers, my first editorial job was at Golf Digest. I bounced through a number of different publishing jobs before going full-time freelance in 1999.
Through Boomvang Creative, you provide writing and editing for a variety of business-oriented materials, including ad copy, white papers, books, and videos. What helps you navigate that diversity of genres and platforms?
Self-diagnosed ADHD, I reckon.
What do you find satisfying about the editorial and publishing work you do through More Cowbell Books?
Although I’d ghostwritten several books, writing my own tapped into an entirely different part of my brain. I’m excited to have a few authors lined up to publish under the More Cowbell brand before the end of the year — another exercise in mind expansion.
Dear Dr. Freelance, what fortune-cookie-size advice would you give other editors interested in pursuing more corporate clients?
Designers are a word-geek’s best friend.
Not only do designers offer an alternative perspective on projects, they’re an outstanding referral source and enable you to offer additional services to your clients — which increases your market value.
Dear Dr. Freelance, what advice would you give freelancer editors and writers about setting their rates?
If you don’t occasionally get rejected on price, you’re not charging enough.
Price your services based on the value you bring and type of client you’re talking with; never pin yourself in based on rate charts, other freelancers’ rates, or even your own history.
What do you consider the secret sauce in your career?
Experimentation. Even if an idea doesn’t work, you’ve learned something — and you might just surprise yourself.
How do you get in the editing groove?
I’m an early riser, and do my best work before noon. I philosophically don’t believe in writer’s (or editor’s) block, but going for a hike or bike ride usually helps me generate ideas. I head to the local rink and play hockey at lunch when I can — it’s perfect, because you can’t think about anything else when you’re on the ice.
What is the weirdest project you’ve worked on?
Writing a brochure for crop and hail insurance. Given the sorry state of my backyard garden, I was arguably out of my depth — but it’s a fascinating and lucrative business.
If you weren't writing, editing, and dispensing business prescriptions to freelancers, what would you like to try as a career?
Sailor. Or pirate.
How would you describe the Hollywood adaptation of your story?
Actor: Bruce Willis. I’ve been shaving my head ever since Pulp Fiction, and I bet he’d be a riot to hang out with. Genre: Comedy. Setting: Caribbean, on a sailboat, with lots of rum. Music: ’80s.
I would watch that! Thanks, Jake!
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