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

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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