KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Friday, February 14, 2014

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Being a Freelance Editor

Want a chance to ask experienced freelance editors all the questions you can think of? Vegas, baby!

This year's national conference (March 20–22) of the American Copy Editors Society will be in Las Vegas, Nevada. And I'll be a panelist there at the Freelance Editors’ Forum, along with several of my distinguished colleagues:
Please join us. You know you want to!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What Value Do You Get for Your Membership Dues in Profession-Related Organizations?

This chart is an excellent tool, prepared by the Editors' Association of Canada (EAC)/Association canadienne des réviseurs so that its members can see how what the EAC provides for its membership dues compared with similar professional groups in Canada.

It would be quite helpful if US professional organizations for editorial workers produced US-centric charts for their members. Editorial Freelancers Association, American Medical Writers Association, Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, Council of Science Editors, and American Copy Editors Society, among many others, I'm looking at you.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Copyediting-L: The Editor's Best Friend

I'm excited to say that I have been chosen as one of the co-owners of my favorite email list, Copyediting-L (aka CE-L), and its offshoot, Copyediting-Off-List-L (CEL-O), where editor types can chat about non-editing-related stuff. Bill Blinn and Jane Lyle, the lists' owners for a very long time, set a great example in how to keep a high-traffic email list on topic but also how to nurture the kindness of listmates. If I and my fellow list owner, John Renish, can do at least half as good a job as Bill and Jane did, then CE-L will remain the copyeditor's best work friend.

Here is how CE-L describes itself:

Copyediting-L is a list for copy editors and other defenders of the English language who want to discuss anything related to editing: sticky style issues; philosophy of editing; newspaper, technical, and other specialized editing; reference books; client relations; Internet resources; electronic editing and software; freelance issues; and so on.

CE-L is my favorite work tool, a source of project and client referrals, a place where I know everyone else understands exactly how I feel and exactly what I mean. I've made a lot of friends there and learned a lot of things that have been helpful in my career. Please come check out the list. We'd love to learn from you.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Doing Business the Unhelpful Old-Fashioned Way

Both U.S. banks and U.S. local government agencies are still operating in the previous century, which can cause small businesses like mine time and money.

In 1998 I opened a business checking account for the first time for my business, KOK Edit, after several years of just operating under my own personal name. Before I could do that, I was required to drive to the county clerk's office to file paperwork for a business certificate for my sole proprietorship. That's a 70-mile round trip. This process is also known as filing for a DBA—or a "doing business as"—certificate. I then had to present an official copy (i.e., one that had been impressed with the official county seal) to the bank. All of the DBA applications and completed certificates for the entire county were filed then as pieces of paper in a large bank of filing cabinets in the county clerk's office. In order to get the county to complete the certificate, you had to spend time searching, by hand, through those filing cabinets to ensure that no one else had already claimed the business name that you wanted to use.

All these years later, DBA certificate records are searchable online, but of course it's hard to find mine because (1) the county clerk's office misrepresented my business's name as "K O K Edit" instead of "KOK Edit" and (2) who knows how they handled my punctuated surname (O'Moore-Klopf), which carries both an apostrophe and a hyphen, along with 3 capital letters.

I now need an official copy of that DBA certificate so that I can open a business checking account at a different bank. You'd think that in the 21st century, I could request that the county clerk’s office send an electronic copy of my certificate either to me or to the bank where I am opening a checking account. But you would be wrong. The bank will not accept an electronic copy, and besides, it apparently hasn’t occurred to anyone at the county clerk’s office that having such a capability would be helpful. Someone must make the 70-mile round trip to pick up a new official copy of my DBA certificate so that I can then hand-carry it to the bank.

Why am I having to change banks for my business account after 15 years? Last month The Wall Street Journal reported that HSBC, my longtime bank,

told some of its small-business clients in the U.S. this week the bank will no longer serve them, according to a letter sent to clients that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. A spokeswoman for the U.K. lender said the decision, scheduled to take effect in November, is the result of a strategic review of all its small and medium-size businesses in the U.S. ... As part of the continuing review, HSBC is looking at its business relationships with corporate customers to determine which clients have international needs, an area that has long been identified as the bank's expertise. “Because international business and trade are at the heart of our strategy, these are the clients who would most benefit from banking with HSBC."

It’s annoying enough that the bank I had used for years is dumping me and sole proprietors like me because we’re not big money-makers for them. But at least there is the convenience that the county clerk’s office will allow my husband to do the pickup for me, as long as he has acceptable identification (e.g., a driver’s license). That’s helpful because he is off work today, so if he makes the trip, I can keep editing. But nothing else about this tale is convenient. Why are we still operating in the previous century?

P.S. My husband, who just now picked up the copy of my DBA certificate, says those old certificates are no longer stored as pieces of paper. The assistant clerk found mine on microfiche. A step toward modernity? Not quite. And yes, I am moving to a credit union. It is my understanding that years ago, New York State law did not allow credit unions to offer checking accounts to small businesses; now this is allowed, though not all credit unions offer business accounts.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

What Do You Use LibraryThing For?

Today on one of the profession-related e-mail lists I subscribe to, I mentioned LibraryThing as a tool that I use in marketing my business. A listmate asked whether LibraryThing is also a social site, and yes, it is. I shared there the ways that it can be used, and I'm offering the information here too for the rest of my colleagues who don't subscribe to that list.

I use LibraryThing as a way to have a detailed online inventory of the books I own (I'm still not caught up with that part!) and the books I've edited. My library is here. And I like that LibraryThing offers me a chance to create widgets showing the books I've edited, for use on my web site, on this blog (see the sidebar at the right), and on my LinkedIn profile.

But LibraryThing is a social site too. It offers discussion groups, including one named Hobnob with Authors, which LinkedIn describes like this:

This is a group for readers and authors to connect. Unlike the rest of the groups, this is a "safe space" for authors to promote and converse about their books without fear of being accused of spamming. Authors are encouraged to chat with members, not just copy and paste blurbs about their books.

There is also a group called Author Chat:

Author Chat has scheduled discussions with authors. Each "chat" will be contained in one topic thread. So come up with your questions, and start asking! Authors who are interested in having their own chats should email ...

And there are many book- and book-topic discussion groups. I don't participate in any of the LibraryThing groups, because my favorite arenas are Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and there's only so much time in the day. But I can see that some editorial workers might find networking through LibraryThing very helpful.

Check out the main About page for more information.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Is Editing Cheaper the Second Time Around?

Dear journal authors, both those who are native speakers of English and those who are non-native speakers of English:

Sometimes after I have edited an article for you and you have submitted it to a journal, the journal then requests that you revise it for science-related reasons rather than language-related reasons. And then you ask me to edit the revisions before you resubmit your article. Does that mean I am going to edit just the sections that you tell me you have revised?



  • Because it is my experience that authors always make minor revisions throughout a manuscript after I have edited it. I must reread the entire manuscript to make sure that the supposedly unchanged parts mesh with the officially revised parts.
  • Because I must double-check that in revising your manuscript, you have addressed all of the points made by the journal's reviewers.
  • Because often when authors revise their manuscript for resubmission to a journal, they plan to submit it to a different journal than the their original target journal. Each journal has different preferences for how to handle reference citations, headings, tables, figure legends, and many other elements, so it is important that I check all parts of your revised manuscript to ensure that they follow the requirements of the journal that is your current submission target.

So no, it may not be hugely cheaper for me to edit your revised manuscript than it was for me to edit it the first time. Editing takes time; it does not go at all as quickly as reading for pleasure does.

Your editor

Friday, August 09, 2013

Medicine's Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, MD

Medicine's Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, MD
Finally! Now I can tell everyone about a wonderful book I was honored to copyedit: Medicine's Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, MD. It will be in print in October.

If you've ever looked up medical illustrations so you could learn more about the human body, chances are good that many of the illustrations you saw were created by Frank Netter. His daughter Francine Mary Netter has done a spectacular job of pulling the reader into Frank Netter's life. I had always admired him just because of the beauty of his art, but now I admire him even more.

Here is another cool detail: Quinnipiac University Press is the book's publisher, and Quinnipiac University just recently opened the new Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

I am glad to have had the privilege of following in the editorial footsteps of my colleagues Patrick Inman, who served as the book's developmental editor and is talented at seeing the big picture, and Robin Miura, who, as the book's agent, played matchmaker between the author and Quinnipiac University Press and then recommended my services to the press. I know Patrick and Robin through the Copyediting-L e-mail list and through the private (members-only) e-mail list of the Editorial Freelancers Association. It's vital that freelance editorial workers have good connections.

Updated at 11:21 a.m., August 20, 2013: In a lovely coincidence, I've just now discovered a feature story (a PDF) about Netter that appeared in the January–February 2006 issue of Science Editor, the journal of the Council of Science Editors, just a few short months before I became a CSE member.

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