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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Journals in Which My ESL Authors Get Published

I like lists; I keep them for many different subjects. They're good for organizing how we work and how we think. In looking at lists I made in 2009, I came across this one, a list of the medical journals in which my ESL (English as a second language) authors went on to have their research articles published after getting some language help from me:

  • Anesthesia and Analgesia

  • Anesthesia and Analgesia

  • Archives of Medical Research

  • Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

  • Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications

  • Biophysical Journal

  • Biotechnology Letters

  • Chinese Medical Journal

  • Cleft Palate–Craniofacial Journal

  • Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research

  • Injury

  • Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

  • Journal of Arthroplasty

  • Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery

  • Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

  • Journal of Clinical Anesthesia

  • Journal of Comparative Human Biology

  • Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics

  • Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

  • Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care

  • Molecular Vision

  • Oncology Reports

  • Orthopedics

  • The Permanente Journal

  • Protein Expression and Purification

  • Radiology

  • Spine

I am grateful to all of the authors who trust me to handle their writing with care while helping them to describe their research as clearly and succinctly as possible.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Find Clients Who Need ESL Editing

I work with a lot of ESL (English as a second language) authors, physicians from outside the United States who have written articles that they want to submit to U.S. medical journals for publication. This is a rewarding, mentally stimulating niche to work in. How can editors find ESL authors? There's no straightforward way to find them individually in order to offer editorial services.

But there are roundabout ways:

Make it known that you specialize in ESL editing. Do this on your business web site, in your resume, in your entries in online directories of professional editors, in your LinkedIn profile, and everywhere else online where you have a presence, and explain what ESL editing is and what your work process is. You might even consider adding a line about ESL editing to your signature for posts to profession-related e-mail lists. Listmates have been known to refer potential clients to one another.

Do a version of hanging out where these authors are likely to be. For example, if you like working with university students who need ESL editing, contact various university department heads and let them know that your services are available and that you will abide by university regulations about students hiring editors. Contact various universities' international student organizations and ask if they'd post your contact info and a description of your services on their web site or their page of the university web site. If you want to work with researchers who need ESL editing to get their journal articles published, contact professional organizations that deal with subject matters you like to edit (engineering, psychology, physical therapy, economics, linguistics, education, business management, etc.) and ask to make your contact info and services description available to their members.

One of my versions of hanging out where these authors are involves contacting the editors-in-chief of journals whose subject matter I feel comfortable working with and letting them know that I know that there is great research being done by ESL authors but that because of budget and schedule limitations, the journals' staff members likely can't spend the necessary time to heavily edit these authors' manuscripts. I add that I can solve that problem for them by working directly with authors (i.e., the authors—not the journals—pay for my services, as an investment in their careers) and that I would be pleased if they (the editors) would consider referring promising ESL authors to me. I don't ask for exclusivity for such referrals; if the journals already have a list of freelance ESL copyeditors to whom they refer authors, I'm happy to be added to the list.

Seek referrals and cultivate continuing relationships with current ESL clients. As you gain ESL clients, those who are pleased with your work will be happy to tell others about your services. Make it clear in your communications, especially written ones, that you'll gladly accept referrals. You can even put a note to that effect at the bottom of your invoices or your payment receipts, if you provide these for individual authors, as I do. When you finish a project for an ESL client, be sure to mention that you'll be available for editing additional materials that the person writes in the future. E-mail these clients periodically to say hello and remind them that you enjoyed working with them and would like to work with them again.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Internship for a Budding Copyeditor?

I know an English major looking for a spring 2010 internship with a freelance copyeditor. She hopes to eventually go freelance full time. If you're willing to work with her for about 200 hours, e-mail me at editor at kokedit dot com and I'll put you in touch with her. Her name is Luann, and here's what she has to say about herself and what she can do for you:

I am in college right now working on an English degree. My goal is to work as a freelance copyeditor when I graduate. Before I returned to school in January 2008, I studied a lot about copyediting. Since I returned to school, my professors have been very pleased with the quality of my work, and this last semester I worked as a tutor in my school's writing center.

I am going to take the spring semester off school with a new baby, and I would like to use this time to complete a copyediting internship with an experienced freelance copyeditor. This will count as a class toward my degree. I will need to work at least 200 hours between now and mid-April.

Through this internship, I hope to gain more editing skills and confidence in my editing abilities. I also want to network more with other copyeditors and publishing companies and gain experience to add to my résumé.

The person I intern with will need to ensure that I have learning opportunities, supervise my work, and provide an evaluation at the end. My work should save my supervisor a lot of time, though certainly not 200 hours. I do not expect to work as quickly as a more experienced copyeditor, and my supervisor will need to review at least some of my work and answer questions.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Is It Copyeditor Appreciation Week?

This must be unofficial Copyeditor Appreciation Week.

Check out "Ode to a Copy Editor." You'll also like "Hail to the Copy Editor."

I could so easily get used to hearing praise for my profession.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Being Thanked in Print

I have the nicest clients!

One of my ESL (English as a second language) clients from China just sent me a PDF of his article, which I edited and which has just been published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. He and his coauthors thanked me in the note at the end of the article. I'm in JBJS, at the top of page 2885 of volume 91, issue 12 (the issue for December 1, 2009)!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Editorial Potpourri

For your editorial pleasure, here is a potpourri of goodies:

This one is a handy tool for both editors and writers: "The Ultimate Resource Guides for MLA, APA, Chicago, and CSE." It's a compendium of links to web sites explaining the various styles and showing examples of materials that follow them.

Information on the Boycott the APA Manual Facebook page indicates that the American Psychological Association is now willing to provided corrected replacement copies of the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, the first printing of which is rife with errors and odd style changes.

Spice up your office or home décor with the Periodic Table of Typefaces, Popular, Influential, & Notorious.

Finally, no editorial office is complete without tea, so I direct you to the delightful "AnTEAoxidant Rap."


Friday, November 06, 2009

Excellent Employment News

I interrupt the usual topic here—editing—to bring you this good news: Despite this horrid economy, my 26-year-old daughter, Rebecca (aka Becky), who earned her master's degree in social work 2 years ago, was just this morning hired for her first professional job as a mental-health counselor.

I told her that in calling me to inform me, she'd just performed her first act as a professional: She'd provided information that helped lift someone's gloom (mine). What's supremely ironic is that news stories are reporting that the U.S. unemployment rate has risen to 10.2%, the highest it has been since Becky was born in 1983.

She got this job despite having had to slow her job search because she has a small child (my delightful 2-year-old granddaughter, who was born right about the time Becky finished the requirements for her master's degree) and despite the fact that she and her husband haven't been able to afford to have Internet access at home. That has meant that potential employers couldn't reach her in a timely fashion by e-mail, which many prefer to use rather than the phone, and that she could only occasionally get to the public library to complete online job applications, which is how most potential employers now prefer to deal with job applicants.

I am so proud of her persistence. That kid—er ... um ... mental-health professional—has guts and a good heart. She'll be working for an organization that "provides housing and support services to some of Long Island's neediest people: families and individuals who are homeless, working their way out of crisis, or faced with debilitating medical conditions or mental illness." This is exactly the kind of work she wanted. She did an internship with a social worker employed by a public school and didn't find the work there stimulating enough.

You rock, Becky!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Dose of Beauty from My Husband the Master Cabinetmaker

Stunning screen door restored and refinished by Master Cabinetworks, Inc.

Here's a stunning screen door with Asian-influenced design that My Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm restored and refinished for a client in the Hamptons. (The trim around the door and window will be refinished by house painters; the slate top step is covered with a temporary plywood box to protect it while carpenters, cabinetmakers, interior painters, electricians, and other craftspeople go in and out with heavy equipment.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Few Too Many Oopsies in the New APA Style Manual

APA style manual, 6th editionThe first printing of the new sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, which I have yet to purchase, apparently has a good many errors, and those who peruse the APA web site won't easily find links to list of corrections. This article in the online magazine Inside Higher Ed contains links to pages on the APA site detailing the corrections, including corrections to four error-laden sample research papers.

You might also find the APA's blog APA Style helpful in figuring out what's changed and what's an error in the new edition of the style manual.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where to Find Professional Editors

I'd love it if all authors who need an editor wanted to contract with me. But because I can't possibly edit every manuscript out there, I'm providing this nonexhaustive list of directories where you, dear authors, can search for professional editors. Your choice of which directories to search depends on the type of manuscript you've written: fiction, general nonfiction, academic, medical or scientific; book; white paper; journal research article; brochure copy; web-site copy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Redesigned PubMed Interface

Preview of new PubMed interfaceMedical copyeditors and writers, have you seen the preview of the streamlined new PubMed interface? The details about the redesign are here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Copyeditors' Knowledge Base

I'm so pleased! The Copyeditors' Knowledge Base (accessed through the bulleted list of 8 links on this page of my web site) got a nice little write-up on the MediaJobsDaily blog:

Have a knack for grammar and know AP, CMS, and/or MLA style inside and out? Maybe you want to try copyediting. We mention this because not only does mediabistro have a bazillion copyediting courses coming up, but we just discovered a fantastically thorough and free resource for copyeditors and copyeditor wannabes at Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's web site. The Copyeditors' Knowledge Base is chock-full of reading material and examples, and it is free, free, free. Learn where to get formal training and/or certification, see sample letters to clients (a project estimate, a sample contract), learn about reference books to buy, and so on. ...

Please do spend some time perusing the information accessed through the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base. Whether you want to get into editing or are already an experienced editor, there's plenty of information you can use on industry basics, education and certification, business tools, editing tools, networking, finding work, and profession-related reading. It's my theory that there really is enough work out there for all freelance editorial professionals, if only we know where to look for it. And doesn't it make work life just that much easier and more pleasant if we help one another?

New MTA Tax for Freelancers in NYC Metro Area

I just found out about an obscure new tax that applies to self-employed individuals living in and businesses located in New York City and several surrounding counties: the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax (MCTMT).

The first estimated payment for it is due on November 2. I've seen no publicity about this tax, so it does seem to have been sneaked into place; it was enacted May 9, 2009. Here is what a colleague posted about it to one of the editing-related e-mail lists that I subscribe to:

[Here] is the Web site [with] information for the self-employed: [The MCTMT] applies to the five counties of the City of New York plus Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester counties, for net earnings with $10,000 as the threshold point. (Below that figure, you don't have to worry about this.) The tax rate is .34% (.0034) of total net earnings within the geographic area listed above. That's $34 on $10,000. We are supposed to calculate this and make estimated tax payments starting on November 2, 2009. See the Web site above for all the details.

Please check with your accountant.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Punctuation Day 2009

Holiday founder Jeff Rubin bakes some Punctuation Day Meat LoafToday, September 24, is National Punctuation Day, a celebration dear to this copyeditor.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate, including participating in the National Punctuation Day Baking Contest. Just think: You could prepare and enjoy the Official Meat Loaf of National Punctuation Day. I can imagine people in households everywhere eating colon cakes, comma con carne, and semicolon sweetmeats. Can't you?

Another way to celebrate is to play Grammar Ninja, to which I am now seriously addicted, thanks to an editor colleague. Play it if you dare!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Trailer repair in progress

Trailer repair from the outside

Trailer repair nearly complete

It seems that my 14-year-old son, Neil, has inherited his father's skilled hands.

I am so impressed with Neil these days. In addition to being fairly emotionally mature for a 14-year-old (he'll be 15 in December), he is becoming quite a skilled handyperson. The photos above show what he did today for my husband, Ed: repairing our wooden utility trailer.

NeilEd uses this trailer to transport equipment from his cabinetmaking shop and cabinetry when it won't fit into our van even with the back seats removed. Periodically, Ed has to replace sections of the trailer even though by this point in its life, most sections are made from less-likely-to-rot pressure-treated plywood—because sometimes it sits outdoors, holding tree and bush cutoffs from our yard until it's full enough to be emptied at the town dump, exposing it to rot-inducing dampness.

Right now, Ed has absolutely no time to fix the trailer because he has a small cabinetmaking project going on in addition to his usual two days a week driving a truck for a company that delivers groceries to individual customers. But he'll need the trailer soon to transport a refinished cabinet to a customer in the Hamptons. So after Ed provided instructions this morning, it was Neil to the rescue. Neil has just now finished, doing it all without supervision because Ed was off delivering groceries. I'm so proud of both the work Neil has done and his attitude about it. We're not able to pay him anything for this, yet he happily worked away, probably because our pride in him fueled him.

It's so great to have two very handy guys in the house!

The Delicacy of Cross-Cultural Communications

In cross-cultural communication with clients, it's very important that both freelancer and client assume that the other is operating from a position of goodwill, even when there are occasional misunderstandings.

Being aware of the Asian tendency to what one of my editor colleagues has called a "much more rigorous and formal structure of politeness in negotiations" (in comparison with that used by, say, Americans), I am always careful to compose my first few e-mail communications with new Asian clients very formally and letting them know that I am "very happy" or "pleased" or even "delighted" to work with them, and I always thank them for their trust in my editing skills. I also keep track of national holidays in Japan, China, and Korea and e-mail clients in those nations the appropriate holiday wishes at the appropriate times, and I include a "thank you for your continued trust in my editing" sentence. When there have been natural disasters or warnings of them in countries where I have clients, I have always e-mailed them to check on their welfare.

After I've worked with clients a few times, I ask them to call me Katharine, rather than Ms. O'Moore-Klopf (or Editor or Editor O'Moore-Klopf, as some have addressed me), if they wish. They in turn become less formal and will often tell me about their vacations or departmental events when they get back in touch with me to ask that I edit their newest manuscript. Some even ask me to address them by their nicknames.

Generally, what I'm editing for my ESL (English as a second language) authors are medical journal manuscripts. They may want me to edit the manuscripts immediately, but I may have to ask them to wait a few days because I already have a journal manuscript or two, plus a book manuscript, in process. Occasionally, a project scheduled ahead of theirs may run longer than planned or an emergency editing project may come in, pushing theirs back a couple of days.

That happened a few weeks ago with a PhD from Korea, one of my repeat clients. I do keep my authors informed about the status of their manuscripts in my schedule. But not having heard from me as soon as she would have preferred, this client wrote:

Hi, Katharine.

I cannot receive the editted manuscript. What's the problem with you? Please check up the process of my paper. Thank you.

Now, if a U.S. author were to write me and ask, "What's the problem with you?" I would be offended, thinking that the author was being rude by implying that I am incompetent. Knowing, however, that with this author there is more of a language barrier than with some of my other ESL authors, I wrote back:

Hello, C.

I started work on your manuscript today and should be able to finish the first round of editing tomorrow. I have had some emergency editing projects in the last few days, which required that I do triage on all of my projects. I apologize for the delay; it was unavoidable.

I understand that you may be unhappy about the delay. I am hoping that you are not angry with me.

Fortunately, she replied:

Hello, Katharine.

I'm not angry with you. I apologize for the my poor expression. I will wait your reply.

And then I replied:

I am very pleased. I like to keep my authors happy.

She has since asked me to edit two more manuscripts for her, and you can bet that I'm now updating her about my schedule much more often than I do with other clients. I'm glad that I addressed the issue of her satisfaction and didn't just assume that she was fuming and that I'd not be asked to work with her again.

Being forthright, honest, and unfailingly polite serves a freelancer well when working with any client, but it works especially well with clients from different cultures.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Deciding Which Social Media Platforms Will Work for You

After hearing over and over that you should be on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media platforms, you're ready to try some of them out. But how do you choose which ones will work best for you?

Here's an excellent summary of who it is that you'll reach—and how—when you use a particular social media platform. That page is just part of a more in-depth blog post, which you should read to get the bigger picture.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Why Contracting with an Editor Is a Good Investment

Authors, this blog post is for you: "How to Save Time and Money with Professional Editors."


Monday, August 10, 2009

How to Mess with an Editor's Head

Sixth edition of APA style manualScary news for copyeditors: The new sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association brings back two spaces between sentences! See here, under "Chapter 4: The Mechanics of Style," on the page of the APA's web site that explains what's different from the fifth edition of the book:

Punctuation—return to two spaces after the period at the end of the sentence recommended for ease of reading comprehension

Just when we'd gotten all our holdout authors trained to use one space, the APA goes and messes with our heads.

Updated at 9:25 p.m.: The APA Style blog says that this change is just to make reviewing draft manuscripts easier for the people who do it; it's not intended for published articles. But that's silly, because somewhere down the line after peer review, some poor schmuck of a production assistant or a freelance copyeditor is going to have to run a macro to remove all the extra spaces.

But holy cow! Someone's set up an entire blog—not just a blog post—in protest of the change.


Monday, August 03, 2009

LibraryThing's Easy Tool for Showing Off Your Book Projects

LibraryThing is a fun tool for keeping track of and categorizing the contents of your personal library. But it also allows users to generate code for LibraryThing widgets for their blogs and web sites.

Go to the Widget section of the LibraryThing web site to read about them.

LibraryThingA good while back, I used the the "LibraryThing Blog Widget" to create a rotating mini showcase of the books I've copyedited over the years. I placed it in the sidebar of this blog. But the really exciting use for it didn't occur to me until just this week: I also placed a book widget on the main Projects page of my business web site. I used the "Advanced options" link on the widget-creation page at LibraryThing to tweak the colors and type used in the widget for my web site. I really like it on the Projects page because it's something visual amid all the text there and so it brings to life the lists of clients there. I don't want visitors to my site put to sleep by too much text.

When you're filling out the LibraryThing form in preparation for generating the HTML for the widget that you will eventually paste into your web site's or blog's HTML, you can narrow down what books will be shown by choosing the tags you've used on LibraryThing to group your books together. I chose the tag "copyedited by KOK Edit" so that only books with that tag, and not also the ones that I've read for pleasure or that I use as reference works, appear in my widgets. If you're a proofreader, you might use the tag "proofread by Josef Detailoriented"; if you're an indexer, "indexed by Marina del Category"; if you're a designer of book covers and/or book interiors, "cover [or interior] designed by Vanessa Talent"; if you're an author, "written by Martin Scribner."

You see the possibilities?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Why I Love Social Media

I was trying to hunt down some software for a colleague of mine, so I posted his description of it to several of the profession-related e-mail lists I subscribe to. I ended with

I'm on Twitter, I use Ping.fm, I use Twhirl, I have a web site, I have a blog, I subscribe to numerous RSS feeds through a feed aggregator ... but I am not sure exactly what it is he wants. Do any of you know?

That prompted one listmate to ask

I am not on Twitter, I do not use Ping or Twhirl, I do not have a web site (though I do have a blog), and I do not subscribe to numerous RSS feeds. I am starting to wonder why so many people do. ... So ... am I shooting myself in the foot? Are these communication options offering people a significant upturn in work opportunities or enriching their professional and personal relationships? Are these, in fact, today's Tools For Success?

So I explained why I like social media:

What my business web site, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn do for me is give potential clients more arenas in which to find me. And find me, they have—in droves. I am perpetually busy; I haven't had a work dry spell in years now. Now, it helps that I've been freelancing full time for nearly 15 years and have 25 years' experience, so I'm well established. But if I were well established and less visible, far fewer clients would find me. I ask new clients how they found me, and they've found me through my web site, my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. They've also found me through the online member directory of the Editorial Freelancers Association and through the online directory of Copyediting-L freelancers. They've found me through my ad on the web site of the Council of Science Editors.

I simply do not want to close off any avenue through which potential clients find me. I wasn't fond of the feast-or-famine roller coaster (to mix metaphors) of my early years as a freelancer. The absolute only way to get off that roller coaster is to constantly be doing marketing, whether your desktop is empty or piled high with projects. And the various social media venues make it much easier for me to market my services: I don't have to get on the phone and talk with people I've never met and who might not want to talk with me because they don't know me, I don't have to prepare snail-mail marketing letters, and I don't have to get all dressed up and meet potential clients in person.

At the moment, I'm incredibly grateful for those venues, because my family very much needs all the income I can bring in. The recession has made my cabinetmaker husband's wealthy clientele sit on its money, so the only income he's bringing in right now is from a low-paying part-time job as a driver for a grocery-delivery service. It isn't that he hasn't been looking for fuller employment, either. He's about to turn 48 and has 25 years' experience in his profession, as I do in mine. No one wants to hire someone whom they think has "too much" experience, because they think he'll demand high pay or won't work well with younger, less experienced managers—and they won't even give him a shot to see whether their prejudices are true. Without additional income from him, we are in danger of foreclosure on our mortgage. But because I am constantly booked with work, we can still pay all our other bills, including expensive health-insurance premiums, with my income alone. Except for our mortgage, I am nearly single-handedly supporting a family of four, no mean feat on New York State's Long Island.

So yeah, I'll spend the time necessary each day to maintain an active presence on multiple forms of social media, but I try not to let the process take up too much time.

The value of RSS feeds? Blog posts and news stories on topics I'm interested in come to me, saving me valuable time because I don't have to go hunt them down, one by one. I'll use all the time-saving devices I can find. I find it extremely helpful to my business to keep on top of information about industry trends. If' I'm out of the loop on major events and trends, I can't prepare for changes in my industry and will likely be less able to attract enough work to keep busy through every industry sea change.

Another listmate posted to say that he thinks social media sap people's thinking time and thus their creativity. He wrote:

Don't even get me started on Twitter, which strikes me as egotism run amok.

He explained to me later that the Twitter feeds he's

been encouraged to subscribe to are riddled with cute kid stories, pining for happy hours that are hours away, and cute back-and-forth—in other words, life as Facebook-status update.

That "egotism" charge really ticked me off. My response:

Twitter is a tool that universities use to let their students know about emergency conditions. It's a tool that people used today [July 30] in Texas to let people in the area of Texas A&M University know that if they hadn't heard already, they should evacuate the area because a large chemical plant was on fire and could be explosive. It's a tool that professors use to communicate online with their students. It's a tool that one town used to update commuters with BlackBerry devices regarding traffic snarls during a major event. It's a tool that medical journals use to draw in more readers, which could be seen as bad because it's a kind of advertising, but when journal staff members tweet, they often post headlines and links to quite helpful medical research—that's how I found out recently that the brand of insulin that I take just might be linked to increased rates of cancer.

E-mail can be abused, as it is by spammers. That doesn't make e-mail bad overall. Blogging can be abused, to cast aspersions on others or to impart misinformation. That doesn't make blogs bad overall. Facebook users can post inane and boring stuff; that doesn't mean everything posted to Facebook is valueless. Some, like me, post information there about their industry that others find helpful. And others use it to make contact with people they haven't seen in decades, which can be life-changing.

Once upon a time, the typewriter was seen as a bad thing because it lured women away from home (gasp!) to work in offices. But the world did not end because lots of women used typewriters. TV could be seen as evil, I suppose, because some of the shows on it are mushy oatmeal for the brain and the ads try to sell people junk they don't need. But it does have good uses: news coverage, broadcasts of political debates, broadcasts of classical or jazz music concerts ...

A tool is just a tool. And people don't have to use any particular tool if they don't want to. No one's forcing anyone to use Twitter or any other social media tool. But please don't tar all users of a tool with one broad brushstroke. We're not all egotistical or stupid or boring.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Medical Journals on Twitter

medicine on TwitterIf you're a medical editor—and even if you're not—and are interested in following some biomedical journals on Twitter, here is a list of which ones are there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Editor–Author Relationship

It was a very short message, but it made my day.

I'm slammed by deadlines, with several projects all needing to be done at once. So I reluctantly e-mailed one of my favorite ESL (English as a second language) authors to tell him that I needed to postpone the start date for editing his research paper. I told him that I would prefer to be the one to edit his manuscript but that I would refer him to one of my colleagues if he had a deadline for submitting it to a medical journal.

His reply:

Katharine, I want your editing. My concern is the quality, not the time. I will wait.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Racism: Alive and Well in Publishing

Liar, by Justine LarbalestierThis is a tale of damnable, ridiculous book-cover racism by a publisher.

Publishers Weekly reports on the industry's response, which is bogus.

If it makes you as angry as it does me that the publisher, Bloomsbury, thinks book covers featuring white people sell better than those featuring black people and so put a white girl on the cover of a book about a girl who is "black with nappy hair," as the author describes her, e-mail Bloomsbury's public relations department to say so.

Updated at 4:00 p.m., 8/6/09: I'm happy to report an update: Because of the public outcry and the author's unhappiness, the book's publisher says it will rejacket the U.S. version of the book:

"... This week Bloomsbury officials have switched course. 'We regret that our original creative direction for Liar—which was intended to symbolically reflect the narrator's complex psychological makeup—has been interpreted by some as a calculated decision to mask the character's ethnicity,' Bloomsbury officials said in a statement to [Publishers Weekly]. 'In response to this concern, and in support of the author's vision for the novel, Bloomsbury has decided to re-jacket the hardcover edition with a new look in time for its publication in October. It is our hope that the important discussions about race and its representation in teen literature continue. As the publisher of Liar, we also hope that nothing further distracts from the quality of the author's nuanced and accomplished story, and that a new cover will allow this novel's many advocates to celebrate its U.S. publication without reservation.' ..."

You can read the rest of the story in Publishers Weekly here.

Updated at 6:29 p.m., 8/6/09: And, from the book author's blog, here's what the new cover will look like, with a gorgeous young black woman on it:

Liar, by Justine Larbalestier

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why Freelancers Charge What They Do

Artist N.C. Winters, creator of the comic strip Freelance Freedom, has produced another winner: His July 20 episode, #114, explains exactly why freelancers truly need to charge rates that are higher than employees' salaries broken out as hourly rates.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So Long, Farewell ...

I always feel a bit sad when nearing the end of a book editing project. For each book manuscript I edit, I get inside author's head and the book's world, so finishing a project is like saying a permanent good-bye to a friend.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Middle-Aged Eyes

I finally found the sweet spot in my new progressive bifocals for comfortable reading on the computer screen! I'd almost been ready to request a redo from the ophthalmologist.

It's not like I hadn't been wearing progressive bifocials—you know, bifocals without the horizontal lines through the lenses—for a few years already. But my most recent vision check resulted in the biggest change in my prescription in years. It seems that middle age, and presbyopia, have hit. Past prescription changes have taken me only a few hours to get used to. This one took me 24 hours. Maybe that's not long to most people, but I suppose I'm not very patient when it comes to being able to see well, especially because visual acuity is an important tool in my profession. You can't see well? Then you can't edit well. Gee, I'm starting to sound cranky. Better quit now before I end up a stereotype.

EditorMom's Got a New Skin

Hi, all my thousands of readers. ... Okay, make that all 20 of my readers. I'll bet you think you accidentally wandered off EditorMom and onto some other blog.

But you haven't. This is the same EditorMom you know and love. It's just shed the old Blogger skin and gotten a lovely new professional skin that ties in visually with my business web site and my Twitter page. I figured that if I'm going to be all over the Internet, I might as well be easy to spot by my looks. In marketing-speak, I wanted a unified image. ;-)

I hired brilliant web fairy Jennette Fulda of Make My Blog Pretty to adapt the look of my business web site for use on Blogger and Twitter. And if Facebook and LinkedIn ever make it practical for users to change the skins of their pages there, I'll hire Jennette again. (Facebook does allow some adaptation, but only with a plug-in that viewers also have to be using to see other users' fancied-up pages.)

Jennette's fast, her prices are great, she knows what she's doing, she's friendly, she's funny, and she's not a prima donna. Hire her, please! I'd like to see her stay in business for a long, long time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Editing Scholarly Works

Copyediting newsletter is offering you the chance to learn from the best about editing scholarly publications.

As newsrooms downsize and corporate publishing units consolidate, the scholarly sector of the publishing industry is looking newly attractive to editors. Copyeditors who have the education, training, and skills to succeed in scholarly publishing report high levels of job satisfaction. But is scholarly copyediting right for you? How different is it from what you are used to? How do you break in? If you're already in, how can you improve your skills and expand your client roster?

Find out on Thursday, July 23, when Copyediting will host "How to Copyedit Scholarly Publications," a 90-minute interactive audio conference led by the Amy Einsohn, author of The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, second edition, the book that has helped many copyeditors get started. She has worked as a freelance writer and copyeditor for more than 25 years and has taught courses in copyediting, developmental editing, and grammar. She earned a B.A. and an M.A. in comparative literature from the University of Michigan and a C.Phil. in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

Go here for more details and to register for the conference.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Handwritten kanjiO Cruel Asian Spammers!
Your e-mails in lovely kanji, hiragana, and Hangul
Briefly fool me into thinking
That you might be
A new ESL editing client.

(Public-domain illustration of handwritten kanji from Wikipedia)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Breaking News

Put on your pantsJuly 10 will be the first annual Freelancers, Put on Your Pants Day.

What? You thought that we all wore business suits every day?

Updated at 12:27 p.m., 7/10/09: Before anybody goes all serious on me and thinks that I think freelancers are really just laid-off job holders or underemployed professionals who accidentally fell into freelancing—as some people on e-mail lists apparently believe that I think by virtue of my having posted the above link—I will explain:

Hey ... I'm a freelancer myself. No, I don't like it when people equate freelance with unemployed or underemployed. I consciously made the decision to freelance full time 14 years ago and am most often overbooked. I'm not moping around for lack of work.

But I had to laugh when I saw the post at the above link. I have lately been guilty of working while wearing a deep-purple nightshirt and fake leopard-skin slippers.

I sit down, still wearing my nightshirt, to eat breakfast but then get caught up in reading and answering the morning's e-mail and essential blog posts and tweets. I progress to doing project estimates or invoices, having finished my breakfast, but notice I'm still wearing my nightshirt. I intend to go get dressed for the day. I get back into the estimates, answer more e-mail messages, and begin doing "just a little" editing. Two hours later, I look down and notice that I'm still in my nightshirt. Work is just so engrossing that lately, taking time out to get dressed first thing in the morning seems like a time-waster. ;-)

By the way, it's now after midnight and I'm dressed in a T-shirt and shorts ... yet I'm still rebelliously wearing those fake leopard-skin slippers from yesterday morning.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Marketing Tips for Freelancers

These are the marketing tips for freelancers that I posted to Twitter throughout May and June 2009. Please keep in mind that each one, including labels and hashtags (keywords) that don't appear here, had to be 140 characters and spaces or fewer to fit Twitter's limits on the length of individual tweets. I have not rewritten them here; they appear in the same telegraphic speech that I used on Twitter to meet those limits. When I wrote them, I had generalist freelance copyeditors in mind, but I believe that most of them will work for freelancers of any kind. Use them and prosper:

  • Network. Join and participate in professional associations and e-mail lists.
  • Post résumé everywhere you can, such as the EFA'S directory: http://bit.ly/2xJ9Pwk[Note: This tip was updated January 28, 2019.]
  • Hand out business cards absolutely everywhere. You never know who'll need your services.
  • Be helpful to colleagues. It's fun and can also get you referrals from grateful associates.
  • Maintain a professional-looking Web site. It's your calling card on the Internet.
  • Keep in contact w/ clients. The one whom clients remember is the one who gets the gigs.
  • Advertise judiciously. I'm med editor and have ad on CSE site; https://bit.ly/41MrT1q.
  • Send small thank-you gifts to clients so they have something tactile to remember you by.
  • Put your name and contact info on everything: mss., style sheets, invoices, e-mails ...
  • Always be on lookout for new clients: mentioned on e-mail lists, in news, online ...
  • During both feast and; famine, schedule time each week to contact potential clients.
  • Approach clients—current and potential—from perspective of their needs, not yours.
  • Buy "Getting Started as a Freelance Copyeditor": http://tinyurl.com/3cfww27.
  • Use the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base: http://www.kokedit.com/ckb.php. [Note: This tip was updated April 29, 2012.]
  • Read and use Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business: http://bit.ly/UopLvS. [Note: This tip was added August 27, 2014.]
  • Buy audio recordings: getting started, http://bit.ly/2RTf3PS; medical editing, http://bit.ly/2khtIRA[Note: This tip was updated January 28, 2019.]
  • Don't look like an employee: Résumés for Freelancers; https://www.the-efa.org/booklets/[Note: This tip was updated January 28, 2019.]
  • What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. https://amzn.to/2FRqj9b [Note: This tip was updated January 28, 2019.]
  • Search online to learn who publishes materials you want to edit. E-mail those pubs.
  • Find potential clients by looking thru ref work Literary Market Place at library.
  • Improve marketability by honing your skills—learn from books: https://www.the-efa.org/booklets/[Note: This tip was updated January 28, 2019.]
  • Improve marketability by honing your skills—take classes: https://www.the-efa.org/education/[Note: This tip was updated January 28, 2019.]
  • Actively give and take on editing e-mail lists to build contacts: http://tinyurl.com/c2m66z4.
  • Monitor publishing job listings; where there are jobs, there are freelance gigs.
  • Publishing job listings to watch: http://url.ie/1pac and http://url.ie/8yax. [Note: This tip was updated September 2, 2016.]
  • More publishing job listings to watch: http://bit.ly/2TeZizk[Note: This tip was updated January 28, 2019.]
  • Set up a profile at LinkedIn, http://www.linkedin.com/, and share your expertise.
  • Use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to showcase your skills and what you're like to work with: http://tinyurl.com/2bqknek [Note: This tip was added here on August 18, 2011; it was not tweeted.]
  • Contact former employers about the possibility of freelancing for them.
  • See feature story on co. that’s doing well? Contact them re need for editors.
  • Don't limit the hunt for clients to your geographic area. The Internet is your friend.
  • Snail-mail small periodic newsletter to clients so they have tangible reminder of you.
  • Snail-mail "Happy New Year" cards to your clients, thanking them for their business. Enclose biz cards.
  • Don't wait till your current gig is done to look for more work; contact clients now.
  • Keep up with clients as they move from job to job, and they'll take you with them.
  • Do pro bono editing for a charity? Request a credit line in the published work.
  • Newbie? Sign with temp agencies that handle editors. Gigs may lead to good contacts.
  • Join networking groups and tell them what you do. Be an active member.
  • Treat all clients with the utmost respect and expect the same in return.
  • Make sure authors know you're on their side. Query respectfully and give compliments.
  • Booked up and have to turn down a gig? Thank the client for the offer and check back soon.
  • Referring a client to trusted colleague when you're booked up helps client and you.
  • It's exciting to land new clients, but don't let old clients feel taken for granted.
  • Ask what you can do for clients. Never: "Got work for me?" Focus on clients' needs.
  • Notify clients about your upcoming vacation. Some will offer projects for afterward.
  • Never complain about your clients on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or e-mail lists.
  • Seek work from an attitude of abundance. Desperation rarely attracts project offers.
  • When clients praise your work, get written permission to quote them on your web site.
  • You’re an independent contractor. Don't just accept "This is what we pay." Negotiate!
  • Clear, frank communication during projects heads off problems and pleases clients.
  • If you make a mistake, be professional: own up, apologize, fix it, move on.
  • Get project parameters before accepting a project, so you can set an accurate fee.
  • Put this in all your contracts: If project scope increases midway, your fee goes up.
  • Specify payment terms in all of your contracts, for your protection and clients'.
  • A client contract can consist of your e-mails to and from client regarding a project.
  • If you want offered gig but you're booked, ask client if there's schedule wiggle room.
  • Don't keep accepting projects from a client who hasn't paid your invoices on time.
  • Clients fold and contacts leave. Ensure your income by cultivating multiple clients.
  • Protect your income. Vet new clients—research their payment history with freelancers.
  • It may be comfy w/ just 1 client, but IRS may call you an employee. Get more clients.
  • Never assume; get client's approval on overall style points early in project.
  • Secret to keeping clients? Always do your best work. Don't get lazy.
  • Get off feast-or-famine roller coaster: spend time each week marketing your services.
  • Thank colleagues for referrals w/ thank-you notes, small gifts, reciprocal referrals.
  • "Businesslike" doesn't equal "humorless stiff." Be professional but be yourself.
  • Avoid dry spells by having more than one project at a time, each in different stage.
  • Remember—the author is the subject-matter expert; you're the editorial expert.
Can you think of additional tips? Let me know.


Summertime: when working parents must remember it's not really their children's life goal to slowly drive them mad.

You Say "Copy Editor"; I Say "Copyeditor"

Here's your chance to weigh in on whether the term should be copy editor (two words), copy-editor, or copyeditor.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Want Marketing Tips for Freelancers?

Hey, copyeditors and medical editors: want to see my marketing tips for freelancers here, as they appeared on Twitter in May and June? I'll repeat them in a single new post here if enough of you are interested. Let me know by commenting on this post.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Can You Translate English to Gujarati?

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, IndiaCalling all of my readers from India! Do you or any of your family or friends speak both English and Gujarati?

I would like to know how to say "best wishes"—as the sign-off in an e-mail—to one of my clients who lives in Ahmedabad. I do that sort of thing as a very small way of letting my ESL (English as a second language) clients, from whatever nation, know that I appreciate their coming to me for editorial assistance. (I am a freelance medical copyeditor.) I know that they have already done a huge amount of work in writing their research papers in English; the least that I can do for them is to reach a little way toward them in their language.

I found an online forum about Gujarati in which one member posted that "Mari shubkman tamari sath che" translates as "My best wishes are with you." Is that correct, or should I say something else in my e-mail to my client?

Updated at 12:25 a.m., July 1, 2009: Thanks to a friend of a friend, I now have the Gujarati for "best wishes" (shubhechao), "How are you?" (Tamay kem cho?), and "Thank you" (Aabhar). What did we all do before the Internet?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lantus Insulin May Be Linked to Cancer

Just heard about this on Twitter, and it worries me, because I take Lantus (generic name: glargine) insulin as one of the medications for my newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes:

"Studies Show Diabetes Drug Might Have Cancer Link," says the headline of a story in the Wall Street Journal; the drug in question is Lantus. I couldn't read the full story because it's behind a subscription firewall; if you have a subscription, you should be able to read it. I found a version from the news service Reuters:
Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) said on Friday that new data on the safety of its blockbuster diabetes drug Lantus had not reached any definitive conclusions on a possible link to cancer.

The French drugmaker has been rocked in the past two days by a safety scare over Lantus, following rumours that a damaging analysis of the product's safety was shortly to be published in a major medical journal. Its stock fell 8 percent on Friday.

Sanofi said it had just been made aware of data associated with a retrospective follow-up of four patient registries but said no firm conclusions could be drawn on any possible causal link to the occurrence of malignancies.

It added that the authors of the study had also pointed this out.

"We consider that the results of these patient registries are not conclusive," Jean-Pierre Lehner, the company's chief medical officer, said in a statement. ...
And here's a story from Science Daily with more info on the science:
The risk of cancer possibly increases if patients with diabetes use the long-acting insulin analogue glargine instead of human insulin. The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), in collaboration with the "Wissenschaftliches Institut der AOK" (WIdO), the research institute of the German Local Health Care Fund, analysed the data of almost 130,000 patients with diabetes in Germany who had been treated with either human insulin or the insulin analogues lispro (trade name: Humalog), aspart (Novorapid) or glargine (Lantus) between January 2001 and June 2005.

The analysis has now been published together with further studies in the scientific journal Diabetologia.

The disturbing result is that malignancies were found more frequently in patients treated with glargine than in those prescribed a comparable dose of human insulin. "Our analysis does not provide absolute proof that glargine promotes cancer," says Peter T. Sawicki, IQWiG's Director and co-author of the study. "Our study does, however, arouse an urgent suspicion which should have consequences for the treatment of patients." ...
Ironically, when I viewed the page, there was a Lantus banner ad at the top.

Here are PDFs of the uncorrected author page proofs of soon-to-be-in-print studies that initially raised alarms, made freely available by the medical journal Diabetologia because lots of people are concerned about Lantus now:

Two of the studies found a possible risk; the other two had inconclusive results.

If you take Lantus, please have a chat with your physician—as I plan to do with mine as soon as I can get an appointment—about the advisability of switching to another kind of injectable insulin. Do not stop taking Lantus without consulting your physician. Yes, I know, lots of substances are carcinogenic, but if you can avoid injecting a potential carcinogen into your body, that's probably a good thing.

By the way, because Sarnoff-Aventis is the maker of Lantus, its stocks' values are dropping because of the news.

Updated at 12:03 a.m., June 28, 2009: The Reuters story has been updated.

Updated at 11:13 p.m., June 28, 2009: Here is a very balanced discussion of the issues from a diabetes expert who has type 2 diabetes herself.

Updated at 8:45 a.m., June 29, 2009: Here is a Q&A from Reuters.

Updated at 5:11 p.m., June 29, 2009: And now, Sanofi weighs in, trying to make the Lantus studies out to be much ado about nothing.

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