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
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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Self-Employed Editors, Can You Build a Clientele Instantly?

I’m seeing requests everywhere from new editorial freelancers who are seeking tools and techniques that will get them get a steady clientele very fast.

I’ve been self-employed almost 24 years, and my experience tells me what other self-employed editorial pros have said in various venues: building up a clientele takes time. There are no methods that work instantly. It would be lovely if there were.

But keep marketing, to make your presence and skills known. This involves doing things like these:
  • Blogging
  • Commenting on the blogs where potential clients hang out (without doing a hard sell)
    • Participating in professional associations
    • Contacting clients (past, current, and desired) to talk about how you can help lighten their project load—and not starting by reciting all of your academic degrees and training
    • Sharing your professional knowledge (without doing hard sales pitches)
      • In email discussion groups
      • In Facebook discussion groups
      • On Twitter
      • On LinkedIn
      • All over the place
    • Doing presentations to share helpful knowledge at meetings where potential clients hang out
    • Teaching courses in person or via the internet
    • Finding ways to build up the number of word-of-mouth referrals you get

    If you don’t take the time to do at least some of those things on a regular basis, clients just won’t land on your desk. There are ways to do these things without using up all your editing time and without spending lots of money.

    I know you can do this. I’m an introvert, and I do it.


    Thursday, May 31, 2018

    How to Scope Out Associations' Cultures, Keep Up with Their Conferences, and Learn from Them

    Here is a 3-part tip for those who can't afford to attend annual conferences of editorial associations and/or who are considering joining one or more associations:

    • First, bookmark links to the websites of associations you're interested in. If you want to know about more associations than just the few you've already heard about, check out the association links in the "Networking" section of the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base (CKB).
    • Second, watch those websites for notice of upcoming conferences. During conference time, head to Twitter to find the associations' Twitter accounts. (Follow the links to those Twitter accounts that appear in the "Networking" section of the CKB.)
    • Third, follow those accounts' tweets that are about the organizations' conferences. (Most associations include an appropriate hashtag, or topic marker, in their conference tweets. For example, the Society for Scholarly Publishing is using the hashtag #SSP2018 for its tweets about its 2018 conference. You can search Twitter for that hashtag if you know it.)
    You'll get a good sense of what the organizations have to offer you, and you'll also be engaging in some continuing professional development. Note: You do not have to have a Twitter account of your own to follow those tweets.



    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    A Tale of Parenting and Self-Employment from the Low-Tech Days

    This tale may resonate with those of you who are self-employed and have small children at home to care for. It's funny to me now, way after the fact.

    Back in 1996, I was already self-employed as an editor. A child of mine, who shall be referred to as Toddler here, was in diapers. [Kind readers, please do not reveal Toddler's real name in the comments.] One morning I was editing a book manuscript—I don't remember whether it was fiction or nonfiction—and needed to do some fact-checking using reference works other than the ones I owned. I didn't yet didn't own a computer or cell phone, much less a smartphone, so I couldn't do Internet searches for the information I needed. That meant a trip to the library.

    Did I want to take Toddler with me? No, Toddler would be bored because the reference section was nowhere near the children's section of the library. What to do? Brilliant idea: leave Toddler with my father-in-law, who at the time was a jazz-and-blues musician who worked nights, so both Toddler and I would be happy during the 30 minutes or so when I was at the library. Father-in-Law agreed, so I left him with Toddler and some of Toddler's toys.

    I did my research at the library, and I returned home, thinking how happy the book manuscript's author and acquisition editor would be with the thoroughness of my fact-checking. I went to the downstairs apartment within my home, where my in-laws live and where Father-in-Law was taking care of Toddler.

    I opened the door, and there stood Toddler, wearing a disposable diaper that was secured on each side with silver duct tape. I found that very odd. How had the duct tape gotten there?

    I had forgotten to leave Father-in-Law with extra diapers, so when Toddler filled up his diaper, as toddlers will do, Father-in-Law improvised. He removed the diaper, disposed of its contents, put it back on Toddler, and used duct tape to secure it because he couldn't get the diaper's adhesive strips, put in place by the diaper's manufacturer, to work.

    And that happened because I had no cell phone on which Father-in-Law could have called me to request clean diapers.



    Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    What You as a Researcher Get for My Fees

    As an international physician-researcher, you can pay another editing service less to edit your manuscript, but will you get the same level of attention and care that you can get from KOK Edit?

    Medical journal editors want manuscripts that are spelled and punctuated correctly. They want manuscripts to have proper grammar and to follow the journal's preferences. And other editing services will do that for you.

    But journal editors want more than that. They want manuscripts to be well structured, to have the right tone for their publication, and to tell a research story rather than just recite data. That's where I can help you.

    In addition to having extensive training in editing, I am board-certified as an editor in the life sciences. I will advise you when a table or figure will illustrate your findings better than text alone, help you report your research concisely, and even help you write a cover letter to accompany your submission.

    For more than 2 decades, I have been editing manuscripts written by non-native English writers, so I know exactly how to help you hone your writing to meet journals' expectations. Authors whose manuscripts have been rejected by journals often come to me for help and then achieve publication after my in-depth editing.

    You will face competition from many other researchers when you submit your manuscript to a journal. I will work with you to set deadlines that will honor your manuscript, so that I can take the time necessary to help you make your manuscript its best.

    When I edit for you, I am your advocate in the publishing process. I help you communicate your research well to your English-speaking peers worldwide. I polish your writing so that it sounds as if you are a native English writer. And I help you decrease the amount of jargon in your manuscript so that more people will want to read it.

    Contact me today to get started.


    Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    Talk Up the Profession of Editing or Watch Editorial Budgets Shrink

    Copyeditors at the New York Times have sent a letter to the paper's executive editor and managing editor outlining why the plan to chop the editing staff by half is going to cause big problems, including putting the paper at risk for lawsuits.

    From the letter, this is why editors are necessary:

    After all, we are, as one senior reporter put it, the immune system of this newspaper, the group that protects the institution from profoundly embarrassing errors, not to mention potentially actionable ones.

    I believe that all editors should spend a lot more time, all the time, educating the people who make the budgets about why editing is necessary.

    I see lots of posts, in various editors' Facebook groups and on editors' email discussion lists, about how we editors should never toot our own horns. Such self-effacing behavior is exactly what gets editorial budgets cut, and I'm not talking about just newspapers' budgets. Yes, of course remember that the author is the one who created the work and the one whose voice should generally not be tampered with, but why hide from the world and never tell anyone about what makes your profession valuable?

    By keeping a very low profile, we editors have helped create this problem. Now we must work to resolve it.


    Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    What Editors Do

    I'm a published chapter author!

    Editor Peter Ginna put together a book commissioned by the University of Chicago Press: What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing.


    And I was asked to write the chapter on what it is that freelance editors do, how they come to be self-employed, and what professional and business issues they must deal with. Take a look at page 2 of the table of contents to see the listing for chapter 24, which is mine. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.) I hope all of you self-employed editors feel, when you read my chapter, that I have represented us well.


    Some very cool people whom I admire also contributed chapters, including Scott Norton, who wrote the book Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers; the Carol Fisher Saller​, who wrote the book The Subversive Copy Editor; and Jane Friedman.

    As Peter says in his most recent blog post, the book was written because

    It seems ironic that for those who are interested in going into the book business, or those outside it who want to understand it, there is a dearth of published guidance about how editors do what they do, or why, or what constitutes best practices in editing. There are a few very good exceptions to that statement, most notably the late Gerald Gross's essay collection Editors on Editing, first published in 1962, updated twice since, and still in print. I read the second edition avidly when I got into publishing in the early 1980s, and it is still well worth reading, with contributions from many accomplished (in some cases legendary) editors. But EoE was last updated in the early 90s, before Amazon and the internet, among other factors, transformed the industry. It was long past time for another crack at the subject.

    You are invited to preorder the book now; it will be available in October. It will come out first in paperback and hardcover, and then there will be an e-book version later.

    Friday, May 05, 2017

    Why Editors Don't Work for Free

    Would you ask a computer repair technician or a real estate agent to work for free? Of course not. Then why would you ask an editor to work for free? Editing isn't a hobby or a cause; it's a profession that requires training.

    But maybe you don't know what editing entails. Maybe you think anyone can do it because it's just like reading for pleasure (hint: it's not!), so you think it should be done for free. Here are links to articles and blog posts about what thorough work editing really is:


    And here are links to blog posts about the training and continuing professional development necessary to be an editor:



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