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, April 28, 2011

The Value of Joining Multiple Professional Associations and Subscribing to Multiple Professional E-mail Lists

If you're an editorial professional, it's a mistake to limit your memberships to only one or two profession-related groups and to severely limit how many profession-related e-mail lists you subscribe to. And to get any benefits from joining and subscribing, you must actively participate.

Placing too many limits on your memberships, subscriptions, and participation level doesn't help you get exposed to the bigger professional picture. In addition, you won't get exposed to as many professionals who might need your business services or who can refer you to others who do. I started out years ago as a generalist copyeditor. At this point in my career, I focus mostly on medical editing, but I'm not about to give up contact with and exposure to generalist editors and generalists in other editorial professions, because I can learn from them all and can get referrals from them all. I pay membership dues to

I subscribe to the following e-mail lists:

  • The members-only list of the EFA
  • Two AMWA members-only lists
  • The members-only list of BELS
  • Freelance, aka Publishing Industry Freelancers

I appear in the online professional directories maintained by the following groups and e-mail lists:

  • The EFA
  • AMWA
  • The CSE
  • BELS
  • CE-L

I do volunteer work for the following groups:

  • The EFA
  • AMWA
  • CE-L
  • BELS

Why do I do all of that, in addition to being visible on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter? To learn, to grow professionally, to help others ... but most of all, to avoid the dreaded freelancer feast-or-famine work cycle.

I don't have any more time available in the day than anyone else does: I have a husband, three children, one grandchild, another grandchild on the way, in-laws (one of whom has Alzheimer disease) who live in my home, a dog, friends, and non-work-related interests. I need to sleep, take time away from work, have a life. But I'm out there networking as much as I can, to keep my name and business image in front of as many eyes as possible. I haven't had to hunt for new clients in quite a long time (but I do so when I want to) because I'm always in lots of virtual places where people who hand out work can find me, learn about my skills and experience, and get a glimpse of my business personality and ethics.

I didn't join any profession-related associations with the expectation that benefits from being a member would just start flowing my way. Doing that would be as foolish as trying to get years of good mileage and trouble-free transportation from my car without ever putting gas in the tank, changing its oil, checking the wear and tear on the tires, or doing other maintenance tasks. I joined those associations because I know that you get something out of an organization only when you put something into it. Just paying membership dues or just subscribing to an e-mail list does not give you much of value. But getting involved in organizations and e-mail lists gives back a world of benefits, including the chance to make new business contacts, to impress potential clients and subcontracting-minded colleagues with the skills you display in communicating and doing volunteer work, and to build a reputation as a seasoned pro.

Want more choices for networking? Follow the links here for profession-related associations, e-mail discussion lists, and professional groups on LinkedIn and on Twitter. If you're a member of any editorial-related associations or e-mail lists not shown there, please tell everyone about them in the comments, and be sure to include links.


Lisa said...

Nice piece, Katharine!

Elisabeth said...

You sleep? :)

I find this a very encouraging and inspiring post. I have been feeling that I need to "get out there" more, and this post is a wonderful guide. Thank you from a "CE-L mate")

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thank you, ladies.

@Luna: Yes, contrary to rumor, I do occasionally step away from my computer and sleep. It's wonderfully restorative. ;-)

Kristine Hunt said...

I just joined the Society for Scholarly Publishing. Even though it seems more geared toward publishers, it does have a service provider directory, and I felt it was important to learn more about the industry. Not to mention the dues are tax-deductible as a business expense.

Kristine Hunt said...

Forgot the link: http://sspnet.org/.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

@Kristine: I think you made a good move. I've heard from colleagues who have found clients among society members.

Jennifer Rilstone said...

To add to your list, the Editor's Association of Canada for those of us north of the border. Fantastic group of editors.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thanks, Jennifer.

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