Which editorial service do you need?
Knowing which editorial service to choose can be tricky. Everyone’s heard of proofreading, but what is it really? And how does it differ from copyediting or line editing, or even developmental editing? And when might you need an editorial project manager?
If you contact an editorial services professional via a reputable source such as the directory of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) (of which I am an Advanced Professional member) or ACES: The Society for Editing, they will be able to help you decide.…Read More
Why AI won’t replace human editors – and AI agrees
Spend half a second on LinkedIn at the moment and you’ll find endless posts about the wondrous capabilities and/or ominous threats of ChatGPT and other AIs (and, by this point, endless posts like this one about how many such posts already exist). So I’ll keep this musing as brief as possible, because all I really want to say is this: to me it is patently obvious that AI won’t replace human editors – probably ever.…Read More
How to keep track of large editorial projects
To date, my longest-running project has been going for six years (and counting). In another case, I took over the project in 2019 but its first iteration had been published in 2007 (and goodness knows how many years it was in preparation before that). These are both large editorial projects with thousands of articles, even more contributors, and an evolving gaggle of freelancers and other suppliers to shepherd.…Read More
The value of intangible copyediting and proofreading skills
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.…Read More
How to absorb any editorial style guide
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.…Read More
Why editors should know about PRINCE2
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 to see how it works.…Read More
Making trouble: using expert editorial judgement to hunt down issues
‘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’).…Read More
Here be monsters: what I’ve learned from editing 20 million words of reference works
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.…Read More
Working in an editorial team Part II: copyeditor, typesetter or designer, proofreader and indexer
For an editorial project to meet its goals, multiple people (sometimes many) need to work together, but potentially without ever actually communicating with each other. This requires each person to have a clear understanding of their role in the process and the ripples (good or bad) they can create for others in the editorial team.
Part I of this article gave some suggestions on how the author, developmental editor and project manager can contribute to each other’s work and the work of people later on in the process.…Read More
Editorial midwifery: why a love of language is not enough
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.…Read More