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English Works: The Magic of Editing

English's publishing courses and internships helped launch this alum's career
January 9, 2019

Lauryn Heineman (BA 2015), Annual and New Titles Editor at Llewellyn Worldwide, keeps her Old English textbooks at her desk “to use whenever I need to fact-check etymologies.” She credits the Department of English’s dedicated internship at the University of Minnesota Press for exposing her to InDesign and CMS, tools she now regularly utilizes at Llewellyn. She recommends Michael Tortorello’s “Introduction to Editing” course for its “engaging and intensive dissection” of the fundamentals of copyediting.

“I’m so grateful for the experiences during undergrad that were instrumental in preparing me for this position,” she says. Even Beowulf: “Studying Old English with Professor Andrew Scheil was my most memorable experience at the U. With our small class size, we held lively discussions. I’ve often found translation work to be as enlightening about modern English as the language I was studying.”

“I love helping turn
the author’s idea into
a physical object."
  — Lauryn Heineman

Since she began at Llewellyn in 2015, the bulk of Heineman’s job has been copyediting. “Llewellyn publishes books on a variety of mind, body, and spirit topics,” she describes, “and I’ve worked on topics such as tarot card reading, Traditional Wicca, herbalism, psychic ability, astrology, yoga, and paranormal investigation. I never get bored!”

She also helps develop 10 to 12 new titles a year by offering early stage feedback on the text. Beyond editing content, Heineman shepherds books through the production process: fact-checking, gathering photo and quote permissions, designing book interiors. “I love being the author’s cheerleader, and helping turn their idea into a physical object," she says.

Annual titles are another responsibility. “I work on a couple of calendars, a datebook, and two almanacs,” she notes. “My favorite is the Herbal Almanac! For these titles, I work with contributors to choose topics, contract the material, copyedit, edit date and holiday information, and format/design.

“There are a lot of moving pieces, but it’s rewarding to be so heavily involved in the direction and production of these projects.”

Amid Llewellyn’s alternative spirituality and healing focus, Heineman’s recreational reading is now trending toward the mystical. “I recently read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and had to pace myself so that I wouldn’t read it all in one sitting,” she admits. “All I want to read is magical realism.”