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, February 29, 2012

The Copyeditor’s Golden Rule

Here's my guest post about client relationships on the The Proofreader's Parlour, the blog of my colleague Louise Harnby.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Power of Social Media for Editorial Professionals

I'm not the only introverted editorial professional who has found social-media platforms to be a boon to her business. Periodically on one or the other of the e-mail lists of the American Medical Writers Association, my colleagues and I discuss the role of social media in building and maintaining our clienteles.

As a result of one of those discussions recently, medical writer Meg Bouvier and I began a conversation onlist that we continued offlist. I'm sharing it here with her permission. Meg wrote:

I [was] certainly born (well) before 1982 and did not grow up in the computer generation. And while I don't make extensive use of technology for personal interactions, I wouldn't have a business were it not for social media. I think it can be an extremely powerful tool for teaching and learning, and certainly for marketing a business. Almost my entire professional existence is virtual. I rarely, if ever, meet my clients—or my own 1099 writers, for that matter. Essentially the only marketing I do is with social media. I live in the middle of nowhere, so initially I thought social media was probably my best marketing option. Now I realize [that] in this day and age, it is likely the best option regardless of where you live. I have found it extremely effective at generating new work on a consistent basis. Thanks, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf, for your informative blog posts on the subject, which helped get me started with social media marketing.

I replied:

I loves me some social media. Just this morning, I received an e-mail from a woman who has written the first in a planned series of books and needs an editor. I haven't met her; she came to me because a freelance writer whom I've gotten to know through Twitter highly recommended my services. That freelance writer sees me constantly demonstrating my knowledge of editing, publishing in general, and medical publishing through all of the material I tweet.

[Now, my work schedule is jam-packed through at least the end of April, so I can't take on the editing of that book. I didn't want to leave the author stuck without an editor, so I turned to my network of colleagues. I ended up referring the author to a science-editor colleague whom I'm known several years through various profession-related e-mail lists. I've gotten a good sense of this colleague's skill and professionalism through how she presents herself and what she talks about on those e-mail lists. It's unlikely that years ago, before the advent of online networking, I would have ever known of that colleague, especially because she lives across the country from me.]

Meg replied:

I have had the most success with blogging—probably because the format suits my writing style, so that's what I gravitate to. At this point even when I am bogged down with a deadline and don't blog for weeks, I still get tons of hits every day because of the body of work I have created. I am amazed at how much work it consistently brings in.

One of my goals this year is to make better use of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I have been so bogged down with work I haven't applied myself in these areas (admittedly, it's a nice problem to have!) But I am finally developing a network of colleagues and 1099 writers to whom I can turn when I have too much work, so I can dedicate myself to exploring these other platforms more fully.

I remember a post early on in this process for me in which you even broke down the way you use your time daily on each of these platforms. My business coach and I spent some time looking at your schedule and strategizing about how I might proceed with these platforms. And like you, I am by nature a very shy person, so these platforms really suit me.

I'm such a big fan of Twitter that I love helping colleagues use it to their advantage. I'll lead an hour-long webinar on March 27 called "Using Twitter to Build Your Freelancing Business." It will be hosted by the Editorial Freelancers Association. I will teach you how to present yourself on Twitter: what to say, how to network with colleagues who can provide referrals, and how to connect with prospective clients.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When the Publisher Backs the Freelance Copyeditor

It's so nice to have backup! We freelance editors don't always get it, so when we do, it's fun to share it:

A new-to-me physician-researcher from China wrote to request my ESL (English as a second language)/EFL (English as a foreign language) editing services, at the recommendation of the editorial manager for a particular English-language U.S. medical journal. I told him I'd be glad to work with him but that because so many of my authors have articles in the editing process right now, the earliest start date that I have available for him is March 31.

He asked whether I could find a way to begin editing earlier than that, because his manuscript is "only" a meta-analysis (rather than reporting his original research results) and so shouldn't take very long. Plus, he said, the journal "asked me to return my revised manuscript as soon as possible."

Before offering to refer him to one of my talented science-editor colleagues—because I've already referred a few projects to them this month—I decided to check on the journal's deadline for revisions. The editorial manager wrote to me:

Tell him we have no deadline for revisions. [Early] April would not be too late, and [...] having you do the English editing is worth the wait.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Editor, Know Thyself

I guess I'm just a get-down-in-the-mud-and-wrestle kind of editor.

I came to that conclusion today during a discussion on the Copyediting-L e-mail list about how much rewording to do while editing.

Don't get me wrong; I don't tamper with the author's voice or substitute my writing style for the author's. But even before I specialized in medical editing years ago, publishers and authors tended to send me the manuscripts that needed—and for which the senders wanted—heavy editing. Sometimes that's called developmental editing or substantive editing; some people don't understand the various levels of editing enough to call it anything in particular. I haven't seen anything come across my desk in years that needed light editing. I don't even enjoy editing anymore unless it's heavy. I picture all of my clients thinking, "This requires drastic work—get KOK!" rather than "We need somebody who'll zip through this quickly."


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