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

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.


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