Ann: Freelance Book Editor, Book Reviewer

Name: Ann Mayhew

Age: 27

City: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Main Hustle: I work for a nonprofit entrepreneurial center, located in a historic building, in their library department as a reference and support specialist.

Our niche within the Twin Cities entrepreneurial scene is business research, but we do lots of other things as well: workshops and classes on how to do business research, youth programming, and cultural events, including historic tours of the building.

My primary responsibility is assisting researchers and the library department, but I also focus heavily on historic research and institutional archives.

Side Hustle: My main side hustle is as a freelance book editor. I’ve been editing a lot of steamy romance novels lately.

I have also side-hustled as a book reviewer, though I haven’t been doing much of that lately. I recently ended a time-intensive volunteer gig as a magazine’s reviews editor, so I’ve been reading for fun a lot lately, instead.

How did you get started?: I’ve always been a bookworm, and for a long time I thought I wanted to be a writer and go into journalism. In college I realized I was less passionate about writing and more interested in helping other people develop their own writing—and I was better at it. I took on various leadership roles for publications on campus and got editorial internships at publishing houses in Minneapolis and New York City.

I was keeping a book blog during college and was interested in getting into professional book reviewing. Upon learning this, my supervisor at Knopf Doubleday recommended I reach out to Publishers Weekly (an industry journal). I sent them a cold email and was hired as a book reviewer.

After college, a former fellow intern (and fellow Side Hustler Ashley Strosnider) connected me with her colleagues at CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing company. She may’ve also been the one to introduce me to (now, which also opened up the doors to many more editing opportunities.

It’s been a lot of—if not exclusively—networking and just putting myself out there, as my above examples demonstrate.

When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: I work from home, outside of my full-time job. My apartment doesn’t have room for a desk, so I work at our dining room table.

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Time is a huge challenge, considering I work full time. There’s also lots of competition in this field from people who have been working in publishing or as editors for much longer than I have.

I also really don’t like pitching myself to new clients over and over. My favorite clients are publishers who consistently give me project after project.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: I get to edit, which is my first love when it comes to work, and of course, I make extra money.

More intangibly, my side hustle helps me stay connected to the literary world, especially when I focus on reviewing. I also truly love seeing writers develop their best work through my assistance.

Who is your greatest supporter?: Fellow freelance editor Ashley Strosnider has been a huge supporter, both by connecting me with clients and by providing tips and advice. She’s been doing this longer, and more intensively, so I benefit a lot from her support.

My former professor David Treuer, who is also a writer, was a huge supporter in college, helping me develop my writing and reviewing skills, and connecting me with other writers and publishing professionals.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: Thinking specifically in terms of my side hustle, can I mention Ashley again? She is a great editor and has really developed an impressive freelance business.

I also want to mention Kaylen Ralph and Yanna Demkiewicz, who ran the magazine I used to edit the reviews section of. They both are amazing side hustlers with impeccable style. I also aspire to Kaylen’s Instagram skills.

Finally, I’m very inspired by Angela Ledgerwood, who I first came across when she was working as a features editor at Cosmo, a job which included book reviews. I highly recommend her Lit Up podcast.

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: My dream is to have a handful of clients who provide consistent work. At this point in my life, I’m not interested in being a full-time freelancer. I don’t like the uncertainty of it, and I’m not interested in the business side of being my own boss.

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:

If taxes are not being taken out of your paychecks, set some aside every time. I didn’t do that the first year I did any major freelancing, and that was an unpleasant surprise come tax time.

To learn more about Ann’s Side Hustles, check out her website, follow along on Instagram and Twitter, or reach out via email to connect or collaborate!

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