‘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
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.…Read More
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.
I recently received a thought-provoking comment from a fellow freelance editorial professional who has been working alongside me on a project I’ve been managing. The projects I manage are typically very large (hundreds of thousands or even millions of words), and there are inevitably hiccups that arise and have to be resolved. So I found it interesting when the other editor commented that I am more understanding than some other editorial project managers about these kinds of hiccups.…Read More
I recently read a helpful post (with handy infographic) on how to close a project by Elizabeth Harrin of the Rebel’s Guide to Project Management blog. Although I get a lot out of reading project management blogs, the tips don’t always straightforwardly translate into the kind of work I do, which usually involves delivering an encyclopedia or book project for publication rather than conducting the sort of change-management process more typically associated with project management outside publishing.…Read More
The basics of proofreading are easy, right? You read through the text and mark errors to be corrected. Simple. But of course, as any competent proofreader at any level of experience knows, that’s not the whole story. A proofreader has to carry out numerous tasks to do with technical aspects, style and sense – not just spot where a crucial name is misspelled.…Read More
Copy-editors and proofreaders rarely get any direct contact with or feedback from typesetters. As such, we can never quite be sure whether our markup and working practices are helpful and sufficient or whether we’re causing confusion and wasted time. Developments in technology – for example, the use of styles in Word and the use of Acrobat’s built-in markup tools – have led to further options and possibilities, with the result that there is no single ‘right’ way of marking up text.…Read More
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
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
‘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