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Hazel Bird project manages, copy-edits and proofreads sometimes dizzying quantities of interesting words for clients ranging from global academic and trade publishers to government policy units to publishers of creative non-fiction. Her focus is on developing dynamic collaborations with her clients in order to help make their goals a reality. Her biggest project to date was a twelve-volume international encyclopedia with over a thousand contributors. She lives in the stunning countryside of the Wye Valley in Herefordshire, UK, and spends her free time trying to corral her ancestors into some sort of order and attempting to offset a severe doughnut preoccupation with heavy lifting.
ABOUT THE BLOG
The Wordstitch Blog brings together my experience working in publishing on both sides of the client–freelancer relationship (often simultaneously). It aims to foster great working relationships, from a belief that the best text products (of whatever kind) emerge out of genuine collaboration and excellent communication.
- PMP or PRINCE2: which is most valuable as an accreditation for an editorial project manager?
- Editorial midwifery: why a love of language is not enough
- Keeping projects moving in a crisis by putting people first
- We are already surviving
- Psychological safety in editorial work
- Disengage, re-engage: 13 tips for proofreading text you’ve already copy-edited
- Difficult feedback: should you send it and, if so, how?
- When editorial project managers expect too much
Tag Archives: freelance
PMP (Project Management Professional) and PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) are two of the most popular and highly ranked project management certifications worldwide. But how are they perceived in the editorial and publishing world, and which would be most valuable to an editorial project manager seeking work?
I’m planning to complete one of these qualifications over the next year, but I wanted to be sure I was choosing the right one for my industry, where I am in my career and my general development goals. I couldn’t find much published information on the topic focusing on publishing, so here’s what I found out from my research, plus my conclusions based on my own situation.
My background as an editorial project manager: why accreditation?
I’ve been a practising editorial project manager for around 12 years and have spent over 3,500 hours leading projects to completion. Many of these projects have been vast, prestigious entities with hundreds (or even thousands) of contributors.… read the rest >>
It’s not uncommon to hear editors alluding to what they do as a kind of midwifery. Editors (for which read ‘copyeditors’ and ‘proofreaders’ throughout) help clients to ‘birth’ books – to bring them into the world in the healthiest and best-prepared state they can, with the minimum possible fuss, mess and pain. They support clients (parents), listening carefully to their desires for their book (birth plan) and doing their utmost to make those desires a reality. And they work diligently with other editorial professionals (doctors, nurses and other specialists) to ensure the service (care) they give to the client is comprehensive, appropriate and respectful. Wikipedia even says that part of the role of a copyeditor is ‘to midwife content’.
In contrast, my cousin Bryony is a real midwife – as in, she helps small humans into the world. A while back we were talking about her work, and she said this:
… read the rest >>
When you apply to a midwifery course at university, one of the worst things you can say is that you ‘love babies’.
As we’re all currently discovering, sometimes all the determination, foresight and savvy in the world cannot prevent a project from being brought to its knees – or, far less dramatically, being rendered irrelevant with breathtakingly savage immediacy.
But even in these difficult times, many projects are going ahead. And in more normal times too, a less existential but still very serious crisis can threaten to overwhelm a project that might otherwise have been able to proceed if some simple people-focused steps had been taken.
It’s all about people
In this article I’m focusing on people – key stakeholders whose contribution can make or break the progress or completion of a project. In the editorial world, their absence could mean (for example) that a set of proofs isn’t signed off on time, or the index isn’t delivered when needed, or the necessary briefing documentation isn’t available to induct a vital new team member into the project.… read the rest >>
In the editorial world, it’s generally thought that the person who copy-edited a text shouldn’t also be the person to proofread it.
This is a sound rule to follow wherever possible: a proofreader is often referred to as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’, and this freshness can be invaluable. In the same way that an author can become blind to the errors in their own work through overfamiliarity, a copy-editor tends to lose that ‘edge’ that comes with seeing a text anew.
Therefore, having a separate proofreader is usually the best strategy.
However, there are various valid reasons that an editor might find themselves proofreading text they’ve already copy-edited. For example, the anticipated proofreader might have dropped out at short notice. Alternatively, it can be attractive for authors if an editor offers a package of services containing both copy-editing and proofreading.
So, if you find yourself in this situation, what should you keep in mind?… read the rest >>
At some point (hopefully very rarely), every proofreader and copy-editor will find themselves working on a project where it seems that somebody, somewhere, at some point, dropped the ball in a big way.
As a copy-editor, you might discover that the developmental editor seems to have let through major inconsistencies and that swathes of detail are missing. Or, as a proofreader, you might find that the copy-editor appears to have fed the style guide to a passing llama or didn’t seem to heed that the order of words in a sentence is actually somewhat important.
It can be really difficult to determine the most ethical and professional way to approach a situation of this kind. On the one hand, you might feel that the issues are so bad – so systemic – that they raise serious questions about the quality of the previous work. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that you have the whole picture: there are all sorts of potential reasons a manuscript could have reached you in a poor state, and you have no way of knowing who is responsible – if, indeed, any single person is responsible.… read the rest >>
If you’re like me, you keep meticulous records of all of your projects, including hours worked, hourly rates, speed of work and so on. It’s easy to quickly rack up a lot of data, but data is no good if it’s not put to practical use. I do various ongoing and yearly analyses of my data, and one of those analyses involves creating a bubble chart to give me a snapshot of my clients’ value to me, both monetarily (the volume of work and how much I get paid for it) and in terms of how much I like working with each client. This gives me a visually intuitive way of seeing the cold, hard facts of the value of my clients to my business.
Here’s what I put into my chart:
- client name
- overall income for each client
- average hourly rate for each client
- a subjective rating of how much I enjoy working with the client.