HubPro Editor: Meet Katie Harper

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You have a history degree. What is your favorite time period to learn about?

My undergraduate degree and my in-progress Ph.D. are both in 20th-century European and British history. I like thinking about how societies deal with enormous change or sudden catastrophe, and modernity’s recurring dream of rebuilding society from the ground up. To that effect, my dissertation centers on the recasting of British society in the aftermath of World War II. I also have an ongoing fascination with utopianism and social experimentation: Robert Owen’s worker cooperatives, anarchist communes on England’s rural fringes, experimental boarding schools, urban squats, and even public housing projects and urban planning in the twentieth century.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

Most of my experience as an editor has been in a university setting. This past year, I assisted a Berkeley professor with his forthcoming textbook in British history. I proofread, fact-checked, and did a little supplemental writing. I’ve also been a graduate student instructor since 2010, and have been part of the writing and rewriting process for about 300-odd undergraduates.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

I received my B.A. in history from Wellesley College, a women’s college near Boston. I graduated cum laude and with department honors in history for my thesis about Indian and Irish intellectuals in London in the early twentieth century. After working for a year I started a Ph.D. in history at the University of California at Berkeley. I received my M.A. from Berkeley in 2011 and advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in 2012. I’m still an active historian and continue to research, write, and present my work while being an editor at HubPages.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

My favorite thing about editing is also my favorite thing about teaching. I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of helping someone organize and communicate their thoughts effectively. Everyone is an expert in something, as showcased on HubPages. An editor is just another kind of expert who can help lend language to ideas and intent.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

This is corny, but I like learning new things. My favorite Hubs to read and edit are tutorials for fixing, crafting, or building. I’m not very handy or mechanically-minded, and I really enjoy following an expert through the steps of making something. I just worked on a great one about building beautiful wooden-gear clocks which made me want to try my hand at woodworking!

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

My process is pretty straightforward. First, I read through the Hub and take notes. I ask myself, what does it seem like the author trying to say? Where do they succeed? Where do they fail? At the same time, I try to put myself in the position of a weary Internet traveler in anguished search for answers. How can this Hub serve their needs as well?

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I think editing is a collaborative process and I value open communication with writers.

HubPro Editor: Meet Betty Wang

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Are you a cat or a dog person?

Totally a dog person. I might almost go as far as saying I’m a crazy dog lady. Almost.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

I’ve been involved with the world of professional editing since I was on my high school newspaper committee. I’ve freelanced for several regional newspapers and publications, and my most recent job before joining HubPages was as a writer for a series of Thomson Reuters blogs, where I had to work with editors to have up to 5-6 posts edited on the daily. I’ve also edited thousands of papers as a graduate student instructor during law school where I taught several undergraduate classes at UC Davis.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

I have a BS from the University of the Pacific and a JD from the UC Davis School of Law. I’m also a licensed attorney in California, but my full-time passion lies in the world of writing and editing. 🙂

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

I love wrangling with words and content, and I also love the fact that I am surrounded by like-minded people who teach me something new every day. I love that we are taking a piece, retaining its main purpose and form, polishing it, and shooting it off into the world (or, Internet) even better than it originally started off. Not to mention, HubPages is unique in that all our content is created by our users, which anyone can sign up to be.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

I love that I learn something new and interesting with every Hub I edit. Hubbers are a diverse group of people from all around the world, all tied together by a love of sharing their experiences, expertise, and lives. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to not only help them boost their Hubs, but to be exposed to something new every time I go into work.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

Whenever I start a Hub, I make sure that I give it a good read and that I understand the author’s primary purpose and get a good sense of his or her voice. If I’m lost on that already, I’ll contact the author directly for clarification. It’s important to me first and foremost that I don’t change a Hub to the point of it being a foreign piece when compared to the original. I don’t want edit a Hub to make it my own, I want to edit a Hub to make it the best it could possibly be, while still respecting and retaining the Hubber’s intentions, and to ensure a smooth reader experience.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I love what I do, and I will likely love reading and editing your Hubs! Please know that I’m here to help you and your potential audience before I help HubPages. This is really important to me, and if you land me as your editor, don’t hesitate to reach out with your concerns at any time. I’m a good listener on top of being a good editor. 🙂

Heads Up —  New Hub Design Coming Soon!

I’m super excited to announce that the Hub will be sporting a brand new look later this week! Our primary goals with this redesign are to remove ads from the main content area of the Hub and improve the overall reading experience. We also want to give more real estate to Hubbers, like we did with the mobile design roughly a year ago.

Because this will be the first iteration of the new design, we plan to do a few weeks of testing afterward to see how the changes are received by HubPages’ readers. Consequently, the first version will not be permanent and we’ll likely be making refinements based on the data we collect after testing. We would also love to get your feedback on the new design, so make sure to share your thoughts in the announcement forum later this week!

Here’s a list of the major changes you can expect to see on your Hubs:

  • The sidebar will be widened so that the main body of the Hub is 970 pixels (from 728 pixels).
  • The author section will be more prominently displayed at the top of the new sidebar. If you provided it, your real name will be displayed beside your username (like on mobile). Your avatar will also be much larger.
  • A More by the Author content module will be displayed below the first ad in the sidebar. It will look similar to the Hub of the Day module in the Feed and will feature one Hub.
  • A Recommended Content module will be displayed below the second ad in the sidebar.
  • The Hub title will be enlarged and span the width of the entire content area.
  • The Breadcrumb structure on subdomain Hubs will be reverted back to how it was before September 2013 —  it will direct readers to HubPages Topic Pages rather than a filtered view of your Profile.
  • The Ad Program ad layout will be revamped:
    • Ads will be removed from the main Hub content area.
    • The Related Searches unit in the sidebar will be removed.
    • The new sidebar will have three 300×250 ads (separated by the content modules above), two of which will anchor as the reader scrolls down the page.
    • There will be some new ads below the main Hub content area.
  • The AdSense Only ad layout will be updated as well:
    • Ads will be removed from the main Hub content area.
    • The Related Searches unit in the sidebar will be removed.
    • The new sidebar will have two 300×250 ads (separated by the content modules above), one of which will anchor as the reader scrolls down the page.
    • There will be one 520×280 ad below the main Hub content area.
  • The social buttons will remain anchored as the reader scrolls, but they’ll be displayed horizontally.

And, here is a sneak peak:

🙂

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HubPro Editor: Meet Joanna Fonte

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Let’s start with an icebreaker: what is your favorite food?

Well that would have to be cheese. Hard, or creamy, nutty, smoky, or stinky, shaved, fondued, or simply grabbed with fingers and stuffed into mouth.  If you are what you eat, then I am made of cheese. (Either that or Oaxacan or Korean food or anything you can find to eat in New Orleans. Don’t get me started.)

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience with editing and publishing?

When I started a blog in 2010, I wanted a place where I could share chapters of my latest novel. Then I began posting personal essays, short stories, poetry, and other literary experiments and today, with more than 4,500 subscribers, it has become more like a literary platform where I get to play the role of writer, editor, designer, promoter, and publisher. This experience has led to me being published various other places, online and in print, and it got me this job as editor at HubPages, as well. I guess the moral of the story is that if you want to do something so much that you’ll do it whether or not you get paid, and if your mania takes you beyond the point of casual pastime into full-time obsession, you may eventually find a way to make it a profession.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

For ten years I taught public high school English. My favorite things to teach were American Literature (Zora Neale Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ken Kesey, etc.), the short story, poetry, and the personal essay. Of course, my real favorite thing to teach was teenagers. When I tell people I retired from teaching, they usually assume I left because it was hard working with adolescents but nothing could be further from the truth: those delightfully complicated creatures full of intemperate attitudes and hormones and swaggering ideas were what I came for and what kept me going for so long, despite administration upheavals, severe resource shortages, and teetering piles of papers to be graded.

Before teaching—so long ago it feels like a previous life—I got my Ed.M. from Harvard and a B.A. in English at U.C. Berkeley.

If I couldn’t be a writer or an editor, a professional student would be my third choice. I know, I know, there’s no such thing, but can’t a person dream?

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

There is a myth that writers don’t need anything but their own genius to publish when, in fact, every book on the shelf is the product of a team of people working together to make it happen. It’s the same for movies only more obviously so, since they list all the contributors in the credits.

The actor Philip Seymour Hoffman said that “The film is made in the editing room. The shooting of the film is about shopping, almost. It’s like going to get all the ingredients together, and you’ve got to make sure before you leave the store that you got all the ingredients. And then you take those ingredients and you can make a good cake—or not.” I like to think of myself as being on the author’s team, standing just behind them and handing them what they need: some sugar, a shake of salt, a pinch of chile, or a sharp knife.
In my own writing, I can’t really be objective about what I’ve written unless I put it in a drawer and ignore it for enough time for me to finally see it with fresh eyes. This process works fine if it’s a literal drawer I’m putting the piece into but when I push “publish” online, that’s the opposite of tucking it away—it’s hanging it on a clothesline for everyone to see (picture undergarments flapping in the breeze). Time and perspective are luxuries that the prevalent online writing model doesn’t afford, and this is why people complain about the quality of writing they find. Most writing you read on the Internet is fast and furious and has not had time to ripen. Most online writing is unedited: we have the thought, press “Publish Now,” and move on.

Every time I read something I’ve written, I notice something I’d like to change and every day, I wish I had an editor.

So that’s what I like best about editing: I get to do for others what I can’t do for myself.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

Every day, I get to visit a new idea, meet a different mind, and imagine another world. The HubPages community is an amazing gathering of diverse and fascinating perspectives. One day I’m in the trenches of WWI (or in Wisconsin or Arkansas) learning about cool usernames for girls or the best political protest songs of the ‘60s and the next, I’m in Pakistan (Tibet, Nigeria, or Iceland) learning about dubstep or how to play Pokémon or interpret a dream about a snake. I love British humour, a Southern anecdote, and a lilting Indian cadence. After a day of work, the world feels like a smaller, nicer, richer, and cozier place to be.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

First, I read it once through to get a feeling for the overall gist and the author’s personality. I take note of the first visual impression the Hub makes and have custom illustrations made or photos taken if needed. Then, with that author’s point and persona in mind, I start going through, one capsule at a time, to gently comb through the writing (separating ideas that have gotten tangled, tweaking and smoothing grammar and language) to make sure the author’s point is coming through. I usually spend extra time on the first capsule because I know that’s where readers make their snap decision to continue on or press “back” to the search engine to look for something better. I may add lists, tables, or other means of helping the information jump off the page and I may add interactive elements like videos or polls to invite the reader to engage with the writing. I check Google’s webmaster tools to see what search terms are bringing traffic and make sure those words are focal. In some cases, I will add current research or information to help the Hub compete with other articles out there: when this kind of work seems needed, I always email the author beforehand. I try do all this with the Hub’s author’s personality, nationality, philosophy, style, and purpose in mind and always, as I work, I’m remembering every piece of feedback I’ve gotten on my writing in the past, from teachers and readers and publishers and friends, both useful and not, and I’m applying those lessons with every edit I make.

When I do this right and the Hubber likes what I’ve done, that makes my day. And if I miss the mark, a Hubber can simply undo what I’ve done. No harm, no foul.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I have a short list:

I am a tea-drinker, a thrift-shopper, and I turn the music up very, very loud.

Every day I take care of of two kids, one cat, a garden full of green things, and the flock of neighborhood crows.

I take my job(s) extremely seriously.

If I’m your editor, I’m on your team.

I work with a phenomenal group of people. They are sharp, funny, and imaginative. If I could afford it, I’d pay them to edit me.

HubPro Photographer Spotlight

As part of HubPro, we’ve contracted with some incredibly talented photographers to help us create the kind of beautiful, high-quality photos that many Hubs need. Today I’d like to introduce you to two of those awesome ladies and share examples of their work in Hubs. The best part? They’re fellow Hubbers!

Meet Julia Eppehimer:

“I recently graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a degree in photography. Why did I choose IWU, you ask? Because they sent me a message in a bottle. Yep, that’s it. Before I graduated, I spent a summer in the Dominican Republic as a media intern for G.O. Ministries. I loved hanging out with the local people and the groups who came down on mission trips and photographing the genuine emotion that ensued from their encounters. But my favorite thing to photograph is food; especially because I get to eat it afterwards! It is sometimes very challenging to wait until I get the right photo before I can start eating. Cookies are the best because you can snag one (or two) freshly baked cookies for yourself and still have plenty left to photograph.”

Here’s a stunning example of Julia’s work (and her cookies): Bacon Bit Chocolate Chip Cookies

Meet Glimmer Twin Fan:

“Basically, I’m a 50-year-old woman who stayed at home to raise my daughter for 12 years. I started writing Hubs about 2 1⁄2 years ago and soon realized that I needed good photos for the types of articles I was writing because the ones I was taking weren’t very good. I dusted off our nice DSLR camera and, after a little research on the internet, started experimenting with it. Based on my results, and the many positive comments from readers about my photos, I think I’ve done pretty well. One of the aspects of photography that I have really enjoyed is making collages using photo software. I still learn something new from every picture I take, and taking photos for the HubPro program has been an inspiring and enjoyable challenge for me.”

This is an excellent example of Glimmer Twin Fan’s fantastic work: How to Make a Felt Hair Clip

You can see more photos by both of these incredible artists if you stop by their Hubs. Prepare to be impressed! 🙂