• Advice

The Apple culture, in one word

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

I edit book manuscripts, magazine articles, website text, blog posts, most anything in print. I’m also a p.r./marketing copywriter, everything from magazine profiles and feature stories to back jacket copy for books, company success stories, website text, and blog posts.

I come by my talents honestly –Mom and Dad (Helen and Verne Jay) were prolific scriptwriters of mysteries (two Shadow scripts, in 1944; Mr. and Mrs. North, Famous Jury Trials, Grand Central Station) in New York during the Golden Age of Radio. In the 1950s, Dad was an on-staff writer at WLW, the 50,000-watt radio-TV station in Cincinnati, for 10 years. An unknown writer named Rod Serling (later famous for Twilight Zone and Night Gallery) briefly joined the staff in 1950. He and Dad were good friends, and co-authored a murder mystery that aired on the Philip Morris TV Playhouse in 1954 – the only time Serling had a coauthor. So I truly have words in my DNA.

Here’s a true story that might inspire some of you to have a different take on finding freelance gigs. My late husband and I lived in Silicon Valley in the 1970s/1980s; Hewlett-Packard transferred us here from Boston. I went to a computer conference in The City one day. Apple Computer had a table at the back of the room with marketing material. I picked up a copy of the Apple in-house newsletter, Five Star News, and was delighted to see that it was riddled with errors – spelling, grammatical, you name it. I circled the errors in red pen.

Then I made an appointment with the editor-in-chief, in Cupertino, to see if I could convince him to hire me as the freelance editor. First, I thought about what was the one word to sum up the Apple culture? Of course. “Brash.” I am not brash, but I wanted that gig. When I met with him, I threw the edited newsletter on his desk and said, “You need me!”

Brash enough? He hired me on the spot, and I was the copyeditor of Five Star News for a year, with my name on the masthead. Apple being Apple, however, I was never called in to the office to meet any of the full-time employees.

Maybe Apple was concerned that they too might like to freelance.

I am a lightning-fast copyeditor (book manuscripts, magazine articles, website text, anything in print) and p.r./marketing copywriter. I have decades of experience, and come by my interest in words honestly, as my parents wrote plays, and radio and television mysteries and dramas. Get in touch with me at