About Us

The story behind how Editor’s Essentials is formed is intertwined with the story of its founder, Murugaraj Shanmugam. The first part tells the story of how Editor’s Essentials was born. If you are more interested in knowing how courses by Editor’s Essentials are designed, go to the second part.

My Story

I love reading. I love math. I love teaching. I love to ideate.

Someone talked about serendipity. I’m blessed by a series of serendipities. A bachelor’s degree to pharma sales to the master’s degree to a bit of teaching to master of philosophy to editing – what do you call it?

I wasn’t even sure whether editing was going to be my career. The first title I edited was Keats and Romantic Celticism, and Christine Gallant, the author, was furious about my editing. I have written about it elsewhere. Should I be an editor?

Read the article on my first feedback

While the decision was not yet made, I worked on the second edition of a book on renewable energy resources. The author wrote back saying, “No one has ever read my book so thoroughly since its first edition. Can you thank the copyeditor for me?” And I was part of some of the challenging work that the editorial team came across, each title slowly reinforcing my belief that I can be a good editor.

It has been 15 years now in editing, taking on various roles, most recently as the senior copyediting manager, in the journey managing many reputable international publishers. I loved every bit of the 15 years.

Well, almost!

Most of the time I loved what I was doing. Sometimes not. The cheese in front of me was not what I liked or wanted. But that’s a corporate cheese, and one has to run for it. And I know there are cheese stations that offer delicious cheese, but either it is not the goal or someone else is running for it. I decided I want to quit.

Fear is one thing that will stop the mightiest from trying, let alone winning. I spoke to my wife, family, and best friends. While playing devil’s advocate, almost all encouraged me to be on my own. They pointed out some of my weaknesses that can be an impediment to success. And Indian Copyeditors Forum has been a great motivation behind the decision. The few occasions I spoke to Vivek gave insights and encouragement. I’m glad to see that the community is growing and helping each other a lot.

Finally, the fifth of October twenty-eighteen turned out to be my last day in my day job.

I had been writing on Editor’s Essentials, my blog since 2008. It became a web site and Editor’s Essentials was born. Editor’s Essentials will focus on the editorial needs of authors and the training needs of editors. The work is still underway.

Editor’s Essentials will combine my love for reading, math, teaching, and ideation.

PS: I have followed Language Log closely for a while. During the previous Presidential elections, many of the posts in LL were about the overuse of personal pronouns by one candidate than the other. I am normally cautious about this overuse. But if you think this piece used a high number of personal pronouns, I would like to paraphrase what Melchizedek said in The Alchemist: “[Even the] old king [of Salem] sometimes has to take some pride in himself.” I’m after all a simple mortal.


Murugaraj Shanmugam

Courses by Editor’s Essentials

So how will courses by Editor’s Essentials look like?

I have always loved teaching in a classroom setup. The teacher can look at the faces of each learner and decide who is lit up and who needs support. The pace can be varied and delivery can be adjusted so that the learning objective is achieved. In online sessions, this is seldom possible. So, how should the courses be designed so that our courses closely mimic a classroom learning experience?

One of the signs of great learning is asking questions in the classroom. The more the questions, the greater the indication that the learner is thinking. But often, this may not be the case, as sadly we are disciplined simply to listen to what the teacher has to say. So, what do I do as a teacher? I substitute the learner! If the learner has not asked a question I hoped for, I ask the question. You will see that courses by Editor’s Essentials incorporate this teaching method.

The next is application. I strongly believe that one of the best ways of learning is by generating examples. We easily understand when a syntax is explained, but freeze when we are to generate a sentence. Let’s take the example of inversion. When an inverted structure is explained, it is easy for us to understand. However, if we want to generate an inversion sentence, we need to think a lot, trying to put into practice the theory we learned.

The first level of learning is understanding the structure of syntax when someone explains it. For example, an inversion takes the subject after the verb, unlike in the regular structure where the verb follows the subject. The second level is identifying one when we see it.

Beneath all the hardship lies the key to success.

One can easily see that the subject – the key to success – follows the verb, lies. The third, deeper, level is to form an inversion sentence. Now I invite you to write an example of inversion if this is the first time you analyzed inversion.

Editing becomes effortless when it is your second nature. Like breathing. Once you learn the correct way to breathe, you don’t have to worry. It happens. And in the expected manner.

Editing can be made your second nature through two steps. Learn thoroughly and practice well so that you don’t have to think most of the time you edit. So, courses by Editor’s Essentials lay emphasis on practice. You will see that each lesson/topic has a lot of practice papers.

Another factor that will augment learning is making it fun-filled, breaking from the routine. Our courses incorporate crosswords, beat-the-timer practice papers, and even whodunnit components, making learning interesting and long-lasting.

By ensuring that you learn thoroughly, in a fun-filled manner for long-lasting learning, and practice well so that editing becomes your second nature, Editor’s Essentials strives to make you an editor extraordinaire.

Want to see how this works? Enroll today for a sample chapter and see for yourself.

Want to be an editor extraordinaire?

Becoming an editor extraordinaire is a simple two-pronged approach. Learn thoroughly and keep learning. Learn thoroughly with the courses by Editor's Essentials and keep learning using our other resources. Take the first step now!

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