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, September 29, 2010

Tax Deductions That U.S. Freelancers Should Be Taking

Right now, I'm busy with final preparations for a presentation on how freelancers can benefit from their online presence that I'll be making this weekend. Meanwhile, take a look at this piece from Grant Dobbins on income tax deductions that self-employed editorial freelancers should be taking. Check with your accountant for even more ideas on tax deductions.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Medical Publishing and Full Disclosure of Editing Assistance

In medical publishing, one of the hot issues now is transparency, or full disclosure, regarding any possible conflicts of interest. It's my stance that as part of transparency, researchers should always disclose to peer-reviewed medical journals that they have contracted with self-employed medical editors to polish their manuscripts before submissions.

Journals are requiring authors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest, such as whether they received funds, equipment, or other assistance to conduct the research that they are reporting or whether they act as spokespersons for or have a financial stake in the manufacturers of any equipment or medication used in their research. This is because the results of a study on the effects of a particular drug, for example, could be viewed as biased (or, worst-case scenario, perhaps even manipulated) if the drug's manufacturer funded the study or assisted the authors in writing the study report. But if such assistance isn't disclosed, readers won't know that the study results might have been manipulated by researchers who are grateful to the manufacturer for the assistance.

Accordingly, many organizations related to science publishing recommend and many medical journals now require full disclosure regarding assistance of any kind that authors receive, include writing and editing assistance. For example, see this part of the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, especially this statement:

Authors should identify individuals who provide writing or other assistance and disclose the funding source for this assistance.

I and many other medical editors interpret "other assistance" to mean editing assistance. Therefore, when I edit journal manuscripts for authors—and I work with a lot of authors all over the world who need my assistance because they're non-native speakers of English—I let them know that I require that they include this statement in the acknowledgments section of their manuscript:

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, ELS, of East Setauket, New York, provided professional English-language editing of this article.

Then the author's target journal can decide whether, according to its disclosure policies, that statement will appear in the published version of the article. And the journal can then also ask the authors how they paid for my services—out of their own pockets, from funds provided by their medical institution, from federal grants, etc. I won't work with any authors who won't agree to my requirement.

As one former editor of a prominent British medical journal wrote a few months ago on an e-mail list for journal editors, not acknowledging editorial assistance "misleads readers into thinking that the authors are skilled writers."


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Conference Presentation: Profiting from Your Online Presence

Communication Central's Build Your Business conferenceIf you're a self-employed editorial professional, you've found that résumés and business cards aren't enough anymore to keep your work schedule full. Want to know what tools work today and how to use them? Come talk with me, on Saturday, October 2, 2010, on day 2 of the fifth annual Communication Central Build Your Business conference, where I'll lead the session "Profiting from Your Online Presence." I'll teach you how to build your reputation and find clients by using social media, web sites, e-mail discussion lists, and more.

You can get more details here and register here.

My main topics will be

  • How to use Twitter to build relationships

  • How to use Facebook to establish community

  • How to use LinkedIn to showcase your talents

  • How to use e-mail discussion lists to build relationships and get referrals

  • How to make sure that your web site showcases your skills and professional personality

I've been in publishing for 26 years, the first 11 as a production editor for various publishers, and since then as a full-time freelance copyeditor. I am a medical editor with a specialty in editing manuscripts written by non-native speakers of English. My editing has helped researchers in 20-plus nations get their articles published in more than two dozen peer-reviewed journals. I am also the creator and curator of the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base. On Twitter, I am @KOKEdit.

Please join me and my colleagues at Communication Central's Build Your Business conference this year. The theme is Finding Your Niche/Expanding Your Horizons, and you'll find plenty to help your business grow.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Avoid Getting Stiffed by Clients

I was recently asked, on an e-mail list for editors, what my techniques are for avoiding getting stiffed by clients and what to do when a client tries to get out of paying me. I'm happy to share my advice here:

How to Avoid Getting Stiffed and Avoid Cash-Flow Problems
  • Check out new-to-you clients in as many venues as you can think of: profession-related e-mail lists, the client's web site, the Better Business Bureau (or an organization in your nation with a similar function), searches on the Internet. ... I've even asked a corporation unfamiliar to me (a printing press) to provide names and phone numbers for three businesses that I could contact to verify that the corporation made timely payments to its vendors. Don't be deterred by a potential client's disbelief that you want to check them out.

  • Get everything about the proposed project in writing before starting work. Include details such as how much you'll be paid, when you'll be paid, how you'll be paid, and how often you'll be paid during the project.

  • As part of the project agreement, require a down payment on your fee of anywhere from 33% to 100%. The size of your down payment will depend on your negotiating skills and the client's flexibility. Also, make sure that this down payment clears your bank account before you begin work.

  • Before you begin work, make sure that you have full contact details for the client: personal name, corporate name (if applicable), mailing address, at least one e-mail address, phone number, fax number, web-site address, Twitter handle, Facebook page address, etc. If I were to be working with a university student, I would want full contact info for the student's thesis supervisor, plus a letter on the supervisor's departmental letterhead stating that my working with the student is allowed under university rules. If I'm going to be working with a professor or staff member of a comparable institution, I ferret out contact details for that person's boss.

  • Don't work for only one or two clients. Always keep marketing your services, even when you think you have "enough" clients, so that you can keep clients coming in (old clients sometimes fold or disappear) and cash flowing. Take on both large and small projects to help balance cash flow.

How to Deal with a Slow Payer
This is good advice from my colleague Dick Margulis for dealing with slow-paying clients.

Payment-Collection Techniques of Last Resort
Use these techniques to get your money when you don't care if you lose the client:

  • Claim copyright interest in work you have done but have not been paid for, as explained on an editors' e-mail list by Rich Adin:

I write something along the following lines:

I understand that sometimes there are snags with getting the first invoice paid to a new vendor but that, unfortunately, creates a problem as regards your ability to use my work. The problem is that I have a copyright interest in my work until I am paid for my work. I would hate to put a kink in your production process, but as a publisher, I am sure you can understand that it is impossible for me to simply waive my copyright interest.

In the meantime, here is the completed second batch of manuscript. Let me remind you that I retain a copyright interest in my work until paid. I look forward to receiving payment for the first batch shortly so I can waive my copyright interest, and I look forward to timely payment for the second batch so that my copyright interest is negated.

Sending something like that often gets quick payment.

  • Hold work over the client's head until you get paid, as I explained in a post to a freelancers' e-mail list:

There was some major stiffing going on years ago when medical publisher A, a former employer of mine, was acquired by medical publisher B, which has since been acquired by medical publisher C.

I was the freelance production editor for a journal published by publisher A. Publisher B asked me to continue on, and I did. But payments got later and later, until things were at the 90-plus-days-late point for multiple invoices. I had periodically discussed the matter with absolutely everyone possible at publisher B. No joy; I was told that like every other freelancer of publisher A's who was brought along to publisher B, my being paid would have to await vetting of my contract by publisher B's lawyers.

Finally, I decided I'd had enough and was willing—nay, deliriously happy—to lose publisher B as a client. I contacted the editor-in-chief of the journal, an MD who was not [an employee of publisher B], and told him what was going on. I told him that I'd enjoyed working with him and his journal for several years but now could no longer afford to do so, especially because the new publisher would not speed up payment. He offered to pay me out of his own pocket. I thanked him but turned him down; I had contacted him not to get money out of him but because I owed him the courtesy of not just dropping out of sight without an explanation. I then contacted the journal's managing editor and let her know that because I'd had absolutely no success with her or her supervisors, I'd informed the editor-in-chief about the situation. She gasped and choked and sounded as if she were going to die on the spot. She told me how unprofessional my actions were; I responded calmly that publisher B was unprofessional in not paying its contractors. She allowed as how she could see what could be done to expedite payment. I said that I was ceasing work on the journal—and would not return any of its materials—until all of the money I was owed arrived in the form of a cashable check.

I had my money within 3 business days, via FedEx. I then packed up all 400 pounds of in-process materials and archived materials and shipped it to publisher B—on publisher B's FedEx account. It was a joy to watch the FedEx driver log in and load every single one of those boxes ... and to think about how large publisher B's FedEx bill would be for that one giant shipment.

Helpful Books, Articles, and Audio-Conference CDs
Here are links to books, articles, and audio CDs on getting paid promptly.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Your Personal Twitter Guru

If you've followed my blog for at least the last 12 months, you know that I'm a huge fan of using social media—Twitter in particular—as a marketing tool. And yes, I mean marketing your business, all of you editorial freelancers out there. Using Twitter is fun, but every little detail of how you do so effects the impression you make on Twitterdom.

Scary? It doesn't have to be. Want someone to help you figure out how to do it well but don't have much money for a huge campaign? I know just the person who can help: Marian Schembari. She's smart, young, energetic, knowledgeable about social media, full of ideas, outspoken, direct, and funny.

She's offering Twitter critiques that provide personalized and actionable tasks that will make you immediately more effective once you complete them. Here's how it works:

  • E-mail her with your Twitter handle (translation for newbies: Twitter name) and a brief summary of what you want to accomplish with your online presence.

  • Within 2 days, she'll get back to you with a half-hour video critique of your profile, along with a written report with the strategy outlined in the video.

  • You'll also receive a follow-up evaluation of your progress whenever you want, usually 2 weeks after implementation.

The cost? Only $100. Even for someone new to freelancing without a large budget, that's affordable. Just do it!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Audio Conference on Handling Difficult Authors

On Thursday, August 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time, I'll spill my secrets in an audio conference, sponsored by Copyediting newsletter, on how copyeditors can work with authors who actively resist being edited, don't see the problems that the editor does, or are downright hostile. What are your options, as a copyeditor, when an author digs in his or her heels, and what can you do to avoid an impasse in the first place? You can get more details and register by going here.

The main topics will be

  • How to set authors at ease at the start of editing

  • How to write effective author queries

  • How to set boundaries with authors who hover

  • How to navigate relationships with prickly authors

  • How to communicate effectively with ESL authors

  • How to turn authors into repeat clients

  • How to deal with authors when a breakup is inevitable

I have been in publishing for 26 years, the first 11 as a production editor for various publishers, and since then as a full-time freelance copyeditor. I am a medical editor with a specialty in editing manuscripts written by non-native speakers of English. My editing has helped researchers in 20-plus nations get published. I am also the creator and curator of the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base. On Twitter, I am @KOKEdit

If you can't change your schedule to participate in the audio conference, you can go here to order a CD of the conference. If you can't afford the cost of the conference yourself, you and one or more colleagues can register under one name and make arrangements among yourselves to share the cost. International callers are welcome; consider using VoIP to decrease the cost of your time on the phone. And remember, if you're already self-employed as a freelance editor in the United States, the cost of the audio conference (and the audio CD, if you purchase it) is a business expense that you can write off on your income tax forms.

Get ready to pick up your phone and learn from the comfort of your employer's office, your home office, or your home. If you've wanted to improve your relationships with authors, this is the conference for you.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Twitter Tip: Résumés and Business Cards

I'm reading a great new book, The Twitter Job Search Guide, by Susan Britton Whitcomb, Chandlee Bryan, and Deb Dib (published by JIST) so that I can eventually review it. (It's taking me a long while, not because the book is boring or a tough read but because I have so little spare time.) Meanwhile, I found a good tip in it that editorial freelancers might want to take advantage of:

List your Twitter handle (account name) on your business cards, résumé, and LinkedIn profile.

I'd add that you should also list it on your business web site and wherever else your business profile appears online, such as directories of those in your profession or members of a professional association.

I'm on Twitter all the time, mostly for business purposes, but it hadn't occurred to me to include my Twitter handle (@KOKEdit) on my business cards or résumé, even though I list it on my LinkedIn profile and on my web site. Including your Twitter handle on all of your project-seeking materials, including e-mail signatures, is a great idea because potential clients can then follow you on Twitter and get a sense of who you are, what your outlook on work and your profession is, and how you think.

Take a look at how I've incorporated my Twitter handle into my résumé (near the top of it).

Maybe including your Twitter handle on everything you can think of seems like a minor detail, but these days, it's important to take advantage of every possible tool to help potential clients to find you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Social Media Platforms as Marketing Tools for Freelancers

I use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, in addition to my own web site, as part of my business presence. If you're a freelance editorial professional, I think that you should do so too.

To learn what Twitter does for me and to read instructions for getting it to do the same for you, read my article in the current issue (volume 25, number 2) of the AMWA Journal. I believe so strongly in the usefulness of Twitter that I am one of the people who serve as the official Twitter voice for both the Council of Science Editors and the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.

The book I've coauthored that I've recently posted about here—my first ever authorship of a book produced by a traditional publisher—came my way solely because of Twitter. The book's publisher found me on Twitter, liked how I represented myself and my skills, asked me to contract with them first as a copyeditor and then as a developmental editor, and then offered me the chance to be a coauthor.

My Facebook page is in my personal name, not my business's name. That's because when I signed up for Facebook, I wasn't aware that businesses could have Facebook profiles, and by now, I don't want to have to do the work of setting up a business profile and then to have to remember to post only nonwork stuff on my namesake profile and only work stuff on my business profile. I do post the occasional personal note on Facebook, such as yesterday's announcement that I believe I have the sweetest husband in the world, but I don't believe that that reflects negatively on my professionalism. After all, editorial professionals do sometimes have life partners. ;-) But generally, I post information and links about the publishing industry, science publishing, freelancing, and health-care news...because I am a full-time freelance copyeditor, working mostly with medical manuscripts. Some of my clients have "friended" me there; lots of my colleagues have. I like Facebook because it's much more up-to-the-moment than my fairly static business web site is. As I do with Twitter, I believe so strongly in the usefulness of Facebook that I am one of the people who manage the Facebook pages of the Council of Science Editors and the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.

LinkedIn, for me, serves as a more traditional-feeling venue for showcasing my résumé, work background, and related information. I think it's an excellent tool especially for freelancers who don't yet have their own business web sites; the free version of LinkedIn will let you display all that you need to without the headaches of setting up and maintaining a web site. Your profile will, though, have pretty much the same look as everyone else's on LinkedIn, which isn't the case on your own business web site. You can establish your authority and reputation on LinkedIn by participating in group discussions and sharing your expertise when less-experienced folks ask questions. And you can use LinkedIn to find out information about potential corporate clients by studying their profiles.

I figure that through my web site, potential clients get a good idea of my professional qualifications. Through Facebook and Twitter, they can get a fairly real-time sense of what it's like to work with me and deal with me. Let's face it: Many of us have fired clients because even though they offered plenty of work, they treated us shoddily. It would be great to be able to determine ahead of time whether a potential client is going to be hell to work with or out of touch with industry best practices. Shouldn't I give potential clients the chance to see whether, in addition to being well qualified, I'm also pleasant to deal with and knowledgeable about current events and trends in the fields I work in?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Answer to Haters of Comic Sans

You know who you are. Comic Sans is mad as hell and isn't going to take it anymore.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What Do I Use Twitter For?

My article "I'm On Twitter: Now What Do I Use It For?" is in the current issue of the AMWA Journal (volume 25, issue 2). AMWA (American Medical Writers Association) members can read it here; nonmembers can access it at this link (PDF).

As I say in the article, "Twitter is ... a place to keep up with industry news, learn what industry leaders are doing and thinking about, make new client contacts, and meet and build online relationships with colleagues," and I explain ways to do these things. My industries are publishing and, more specifically, medical publishing, and Twitter is a wonderful tool for me to use in keeping up with those industries.

What do you use Twitter for?

Monday, June 07, 2010

My New Book!

I heard back from the publisher today about my additions to the book I'm getting coauthor credit on:

The manuscript looks fine to me . . . send me an invoice and we'll get your final payment in the works. [The book was a work-for-hire project.]

I'm glad you enjoyed this project. On our end, you really saved us with the quick turnaround time and quality work. Certainly, as we need books updated in the future—some of those TechCareers publications are about ready to be updated for second editions—we'll be happy to kick some of that work your way.

We'll keep you posted as events warrant on Taking Charge . . . we'll do everything we can to make you and Karen [my coauthor] media darlings!

That made my week! I couldn't have asked for more. I got praise, the promise of more writing work, and the promise of publicity for the book. The publisher, TSTC [Texas State Technical College] Publishing, doesn't have a page up on its web site yet for this new (second) edition of the book, and the current page for the first edition (for which I wasn't a coauthor) is down while the web site is being redone. But here is the publisher's blog post about the book.

The publishing intern who wrote that post also assisted me in doing some of the research for the second edition, and I've asked that she be given credit on the title page as researcher. My publisher has agreed. I'll have a short bio and a head shot on the back cover.

The first edition was 236 pages and cost $40-something. The new edition will be longer, but I don't know the estimate page count yet or the price. If you're interested in getting a copy because someone in your family will soon be a brand-new college student, the ISBN is 978-1-934302-83-5. The book is scheduled to be available this coming September.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Audio Course: How to Price Projects

A trusted colleague of mine, a medical writer and editor, highly recommends the audio course How to Confidently Price, Quote and Win More Projects at Higher Fees for freelancer editorial workers. For $49 (the live teleclass was $39), you get an MP3 audio file of the class, a worksheet, and a transcript.

I haven't taken the class, and I do not have any connection with it or its creators.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Elegance from My Husband the Master Cabinetmaker

My Husband the Master Cabinetmakertm, otherwise known as Ed, is building an intricate half-round bench with back slats for a kitchen breakfast nook. He'll soon install the bench in the guesthouse of a home in the Hamptons.

Here are some progress photos. (Click on any photo to see a larger version of it.) The picture at the top left shows a cutting jig (pattern) that he had to make up before he could even cut any pieces for the bench. The vertical back of the bench (the part that people will rest their backs against) will eventually have 33 vertical tapered slats on it. The actual seat (the horizontal surface) will have no slats; it will be solid. The vertical part that will show behind where people's legs will be will have 14 vertical tapered slats on it.

I'm always astounded at my husband's brilliance in the wood shop.

Updated June 1, 2010, at 8:36 a.m.: More photos added.

Updated June 2, 2010, at 10:35 a.m.: And more photos added.

Updated June 6, 2010, at 7:01 p.m.: Ed finished installing the seat today. I've added photos 24 through 27. After this, the painters hired to paint the room will paint the bench (Ed was asked to just prime it), and then the home owners will have a cushion added to the seat.

1: cutting jig (pattern)



























Thursday, May 13, 2010

Reporting in From the Writing Trenches

I've been very quiet here lately, so I thought I should report in.

My workload has been heavy. And right now, I'm writing updates to the second edition of a college's how-to-be-a-successful-student-and-grown-up textbook, for which I will be given coauthor status.

I am so amazed—I can do this book-writing stuff! But writing is requiring so much more brain power than editing does for me, most likely because I haven't been doing it on a daily basis in decades. (The last time I wrote for pay was as a journalist in the early 1980s.) I get a reprieve from the intensity of writing today because today is an edit-the-Indian-gentleman's-giant-cultural-history-and-genealogy-manuscript day, but I might sneak in a little writing anyway just because it keeps astounding me that I can still write, and I want to check to see if that ability has suddenly disappeared. I'm wiped out at the end of a day spent writing because of (1) the brain-power usage issue, (2) the exhilaration of being able to write, (3) fear that I will blow the deadline, and (4) worry that I'm missing important things at home because I've been concentrating so intensely on what's on my screen. You know: "Oldest child—any new grandkids from you? You other two kids—either of you grow up while my brain was away?"

Remember that feeling, way back in your student days, right after a final exam? That feeling that you'd just dumped all of your intelligence into the test and temporarily had none left? That's how I feel at the end of a day of writing. I suppose that if I were to do it for pay more often—instead of mostly just for personal use or for blogging or for mentoring—it would feel easier and take a little less out of me.

But damn, I do feel so alive!


Friday, March 19, 2010

Giving Advice All Over the Place

I've been so busy tweeting and working that I've been neglecting my poor blog. But I've kept on giving out plenty of advice about how editorial freelancers can get and keep clients. And the divine Marian Schembari has kindly written up some of that advice.

Updated March 22, 8:10 p.m.: And here I am being quoted again by Marian at Digital Book World, as are some of my colleagues and one of my clients.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010


The world is a very, very good place for my family today: We get to keep our house!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

How to Transition to Copyediting From Another Career

I'm always being asked how to get into copyediting by people who are in related fields such as teaching. Please note that having been an English teacher does not necessarily prepare you well to be an editor. There is no One True Way, but this is a path that I often recommend:

  • I used to advise would-be editors to subscribe to Copyediting newsletter. But the newsletter's materials were sold at the start of 2019 to ACES: the Society for Editing. You can find some of its articles in the News section of the ACES website. [Note: This item was updated October 8, 2019.]
  • Meanwhile, follow the links found in the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base on my web site. Take action on those that will help you fill gaps in your knowledge.
  • After all of that, take any additional courses that you need. There are plenty available, many that can be completed online.
  • Then begin contacting publishers and other organizations, offering your editing services. You will most often be required to take a copyediting test, time for which you will not be paid.
  • If you have gotten this far in the process, join a profession-related organization for networking and continuing-education purposes and to have colleagues who can answer your questions and teach you client-relations skills. I highly recommend the Editorial Freelancers Association, of which I have been a member since 1995. There are many more such organizations that you may find helpful. [Note: This item was updated April 10, 2013.]
  • Take courses periodically for the rest of your life. Above all, being a copyeditor requires being willing to constantly learn: Both language and grammar practices change over time, as does the technology used to edit. You may also want or need to learn related skills, such as indexing or page layout, to stay in demand in the industry.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Germ-Away Tea

Because it's the season for upper respiratory infections, at least in the northern hemisphere, I thought you might want my recipe for Germ-Away Tea:

Steep 2 teaspoons of dried, crumbled spearmint leaves and a dash each of ground turmeric, fennel seed, ground sage, and ground ginger in 12 ounces of steaming-hot water for 2 minutes. (You can substitute a small bit of grated fresh ginger for the ground ginger.) Fills two 6-ounce teacups.

Here are the health benefits commonly ascribed to the spices in the tea:

  • Spearmint: digestive aid, nausea fighter, indigestion fighter

  • Turmeric: antioxidant, antibacterial, digestive aid.

  • Fennel: digestive aid, diuretic, expectorant, sore-throat soother

  • Sage: antibiotic, cold fighter, anticongestive, digestive aid, disinfectant, flu fighter, immune-system booster, sore-throat soother

  • Ginger: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bronchitis fighter, circulation booster, cold fighter, anticongestive, flu fighter

It's a little spicy and tastes best hot.

Feel better.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Get to Know the Council of Science Editors

If you're a medical editor or copyeditor employed by or freelancing for science journals, publishers, authors, or medical associations, you can enrich your career by getting to know the Council of Science Editors (CSE). One way to do that is to follow the association on Twitter.

CSE, originally called the Council of Biology Editors, was established in 1957 by the National Science Foundation and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Today it has more than 1,200 members from around the world. It provides career development, provides educational opportunities, and develops resources for identifying and implementing high-quality editorial practices. It offers plenty of resources on its web site, including a member forum, access to publications on editing and the publishing process, and periodic white papers on issues in science publishing. Its journal, Science Editor, addresses all aspects of editing, from the technical to the interpersonal, from science education to ethics in science publishing.

CSE also puts together an annual meeting that offers educational courses, networking opportunities, and presentations of research posters and papers. This year's meeting will be May 14–18, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Check us out. Yes, I'm pleased to be a CSE member.


Monday, January 04, 2010

What 26 Years in Publishing—15 as a Freelance Copyeditor—Have Taught Me

The publishing industry, which includes both books and peer-reviewed journals, has undergone tremendous changes since I first began working in it in 1984. Back then, manuscripts were all still edited on paper, not on computer screens; authors saw both galley proofs and page proofs of their typeset manuscripts; and the only methods for contacting authors were phone calls, faxes, and letters delivered by postal services or express air couriers. But some things haven’t changed over the years:

  • If an editor treats authors respectfully, authors will return the favor.

  • Authors accept edits more willingly from an editor who explains the reasoning behind changes than from one who doesn’t.

  • Clients and authors always appreciate clear, straightforward, timely communication with an editor.

  • Misunderstandings can occur when there are language barriers, so both author and editor must assume good intentions on the part of the other as they work at communicating.

  • It’s important to respect boundaries. Authors are the subject-matter experts; the editor is the expert on grammar, syntax, overall flow, and the need for additional details.

  • No matter how experienced, an editor can always learn new things. I learn something new from each manuscript I edit and each client and author I work with.

Books and journals may eventually stop appearing in paper form and be available only onscreen, but success in publishing will always require attention to the human beings involved.

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