Chelsea Sonksen

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Chelsea Sonksen

Editor and independent magazine founder

Santa Monica, CA

chelseasonksen.com and bossladies.us
instagram @bossladiesmagazine@chelseaksonksen 

 

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I edit novels and memoirs. I do both grammatical line edits and conceptual storyline edits, helping authors prepare their manuscripts to send out to agents or self-publish.
 
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WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

I’ve loved books since I was old enough to turn the pages. I studied Literature and Creative Writing in undergrad. Then, shortly after school, I began working as an in-house editor for a novelist. I worked closely with her on a number of novels, from storyboarding and research all the way through to publication. I began taking on freelance editing projects about five years ago, and I’ve worked on a whole range of editorial projects—novels, memoirs, collections of poetry, and personal essays.

 

How do you stand out in your field?

I like to build long-lasting relationships with the authors I work with and get to know their body of work intimately over a number of years.


WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I’m editing a middle-grade book with a strong female protagonist. I can’t share too many details of projects in the works, but I’m excited for this book to hit bookstores next year.




WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?

I love first-person narrators with a unique and compelling voice and a cast of strong female characters. I also love deeply personal essays and memoirs. I have a confidentiality agreement on most projects, so sadly I can't list my favorites here.




WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?

In addition to editing, I also own Bossladies, an independent print magazine, and I host a weekly series of events for entrepreneurs and artists called Worksesh. Between this and editing books, it never feels like I have quite enough time for my own writing. This year I hope to carve out more time for more of it, more prose poetry, more personal essays, and maybe a longer non-fiction piece.



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WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?

Bookkeeping. Oof.





IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?

Manage our social media. I find myself craving phone-free days, untethered to the digital world.





LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?

I'd tell seven-year-old me to invest all her piggy-bank money in Apple and Amazon.




IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?

Alternative economic systems. I've loved reading the Saipua blog over the past year as she explores alternatives to capitalism. It's been nourishing. I think we've been in a race to the top for too long now, and we've forgotten how to take good care of one another. We've forgotten that money isn't the only thing that matters.





WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Novels, memoirs, and essay collections that need a thorough edit before they’re ready for publication or submission.



DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.

Mmm. I'm really game for any type of novel project right now—historical fiction, sci-fi, young adult, literary fiction, I'm down for all of it.

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WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE? 

Each project is a little different, but a typical rate for a novel or memoir edit is $10 - $13 / double-spaced page. The investment for most book-length projects will fall between 1500 - 2500.

 


WHO ARE SOME CREATIVES THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?

Photography:
Grey & Elle — forward-thinking, innovative fashion photography. Also, the warmest hearts and best people.

instagram: @greyandelle

Camila Gutierrez — romantic, soft, nostalgia-inducing photography. instagram: @camilagh

Graphic design:
Jessica Comingore. So talented. So lovely. Just the best.
instagram @marburyco

Alex Cohen. Elevated, considered brand identity design.
instagram: @theidealist
alexcohen.fr

Music:
QDJ - Peter Randall
This is cheating because Pete is my partner, but I think he’s one of the best hip-hop event DJs in the city.
q-dj.co

instagram: @qdjcollective


HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?

Send me a note to chelsea@bossladies.us.
In your email, please include: the genre of your manuscript, a one-sentence synopsis, length (word count), and first chapter / section.

HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?

solo Getty trips on Saturday evenings.


This member profile was originally published in February 2019.