WORDSTITCH BLOG

Because I work as both a project manager and a supplier of editorial services, I see projects from multiple points of view. This helps me to see the big picture and the details – the broader project requirements and each stakeholder’s individual concerns – and thereby seek solutions that satisfy everybody.

Here, I use these perspectives to write about how editorial professionals can become ever better partners to their clients.

Why giving better-quality feedback to freelancers means better project quality

By Hazel Bird | 22 Nov 2022 |
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Yellow balloons with smiley faces

It would be fabulous if editorial freelancers always submitted amazing work. But unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. Whether for reasons within the freelancer’s control or not, sometimes an editorial project manager (EPM) will be presented with work that is below the expected standard. Bad feedback versus balanced feedback In such situations, it’s easy for the EPM to jump to the idea that they need to send ‘bad feedback’ to the freelancer. However, this isn’t helpful…

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The value of intangible copyediting and proofreading skills

By Hazel Bird | 28 Sep 2022 |
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A bunch of dark and light pink sweet peas in a vase on a desk with a laptop, monitor and other office bits and pieces.

The more you work as a copyeditor or proofreader, the more you come to understand that the job is about far more than spotting errors in spelling and grammar. For me as an editorial project manager, there are certain copyediting and proofreading skills that I’ve come to value in the freelancers I work with but that are hard to pin down. They have little to do with the technical skills of editing or proofreading, but…

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How to hire a freelance editorial project manager

By Hazel Bird | 18 Aug 2022 |
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So you need to hire a freelance editorial project manager. Perhaps you have an overspill of work from your in-house editorial team, or perhaps your business needs expert editorial help with a major project (such as the creation of a new website or the ongoing management of a journal). Whatever the case, you may be wondering how best to find a person who will be a good fit for your company and processes. I’ve been…

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How to absorb any editorial style guide

By Hazel Bird | 12 Jul 2022 |
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A ladybird clings upside down to a stalk of grass

One page, ten pages, fifty pages or a whole published book – an editorial style guide can initially seem like an overwhelming onslaught of information that you won’t ever fully grasp. Never mind herding cats, you might feel like you have a veritable zoo of style points all clamouring for attention – and a client, author or manager poised to pounce if you neglect even one of them. But, with experience, you can catalogue and…

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Why editors should know about PRINCE2

By Hazel Bird | 14 Jun 2022 |
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White jigsaw puzzle pieces on a grey background

It’s rare to hear clients or editorial project managers explicitly talk about using PRINCE2 (or indeed any specific project management methodology). So why should editors should know about PRINCE2? Well chances are, you’re probably already using PRINCE2’s ideas in much of your editorial work – even if you’ve never heard of it. I know this because, having spent the past couple of years getting myself qualified as a PRINCE2 Practitioner, I’ve had plenty of time…

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Absolutely everything in my FY21/22 freelance annual report

By Hazel Bird | 04 May 2022 |
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A woman holding a mug reading 'Like a boss'

Last year I posted about my first experience of writing an annual report for my freelance business. I found the exercise invaluable for the clarity it gave me, so clearly I was going to repeat it this year. In doing so, I reflected on last year’s findings and added some more topics, and the result was even more helpful and inspiring than last year’s. This post is therefore a kind of update to last year’s,…

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Making trouble: using expert editorial judgement to hunt down issues

By Hazel Bird | 21 Apr 2022 |
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A tangle of string symbolising the idea of making trouble for a client

‘Don’t make trouble’ is an edict that we often hear as children. Making trouble means being difficult. It raises unnecessary issues. It causes aggravation. It wastes time and thereby costs money. The idea of making trouble also goes against a core principle that proofreaders and copyeditors learn early on: if something’s good enough, don’t change it (sometimes phrased as ‘leave well enough alone’). But what if making trouble is just what an editorial project needs?…

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Ruthless balance: are you protecting your freelance business?

By Hazel Bird | 22 Mar 2022 |
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The idea of protection might sound like something that only applies to ‘proper’ businesses. If your only employee is your dog and your physical assets principally consist of a temperamental PC and a slightly wonky desk and chair that you bought at IKEA in 2008, what do you have to protect? Well, first of all, if you’re a freelancer with one or more clients, you are a proper business, whether you like it or not.…

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Here be monsters: what I’ve learned from editing 20 million words of reference works

By Hazel Bird | 27 Oct 2021 |
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On the rim of the editorial world, out beyond the well-travelled shipping lanes of non-fiction, the jostling flotillas of novels and the bustling reefs of academia, is a fabled area of publishing rarely glimpsed by the everyday reader or writer. Here dwell academic encyclopedias, catalogues and other major reference works (often called MRWs) – leviathans that dwarf much of the rest of the publishing world in their scope, cost, timescale, demandingness and sheer ambition. I…

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Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, UK