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
Working in an editorial team Part I: author, developmental or structural editor, and project manager
I almost called this article ‘How to Avoid Screwing Things Up in an Editorial Team’, but the SEO gods said it was too long. However, that’s essentially what this article and its follow-up are about.
All editorial projects require collaboration. The simplest might only involve an author and a proofreader, whereas the most complex can involve many more people working together in an editorial team.…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
Plagiarism: how to spot it and what to do about it
Whether it’s done accidentally, unthinkingly or with malice aforethought, plagiarism is a perennial problem in publishing. Sometimes it might result from an author’s genuine ignorance of the rules and conventions surrounding the reproduction of others’ work; sometimes it might be a shortcut (for example, if an author is commissioned to write in a language other than their own and struggles to formulate their own words); and sometimes it is simply the deliberate theft of another author’s words.…Read More
Using combo boxes in editorial style sheets
I am a huge advocate of comprehensive and well-organised editorial style sheets. When copy-editing and proofreading, they help me to clearly summarise the style decisions I’ve made and communicate them to my client. And, in my project management work, they are indispensable tools for corralling copy-editors on multi-editor projects and for keeping styles consistent throughout copy-editing, typesetting, proofreading, collating and indexing.…Read More
Respect and the inner robot in editing
I recently edited an academic book on Nazi Germany and, as is standard copy-editing practice, checked the spelling and diacritics of all proper nouns and non-English words: the Polish ‘L’ character with a stroke; the triple-consonant ‘sch’ in Mischlinge; the umlaut in Röhm. I’ve found that, with experience, copy-editing functions like this have become almost automatic.…Read More
Is there such a thing as authorial voice?
‘Don’t intrude on the author’s voice’ is one of the first things every new proofreader or copy-editor is told. This is both a very helpful and an utterly useless piece of advice. It is helpful because it is absolutely true, but it is useless because it rarely seems to be defined just what on earth authorial voice is.…Read More
The seven deadly sins of freelance editors
You’re a good editor. You can juggle serial commas and breathe fire at dangling modifiers. Your ninja coding skills can subdue even the most tortuous of manuscripts.
But, however good your editorial skills, they may not be able to save you from losing a client to certain common etiquette pitfalls. I’ve collected seven of these below.…Read More
Your project manager is not infallible
In a recent post I said that copy-editors and proofreaders should always ask, ask, ask if they find their client’s instructions unclear or aren’t sure what’s wanted. In this impromptu post I’d like to expand on that a little.
When editorial project managers (PMs) write briefs, they try to make them perfect. They really do. They endeavour to make them complete, unambiguous and as concise as possible.…Read More
What makes a professional copy-editor or proofreader?
‘Professionalism’ is one of those rare things: a buzzword with longevity and real value for both the professional and the client who benefits from that professionalism.
But what exactly does it mean to be a professional copy-editor or proofreader? As a project manager, I have worked with the very best to the very worst on the scale of professionalism.…Read More