As an editor, you’re a business professional. That means you have to navigate the ins and outs of operating a business for your self and occasionally advise clients.
While owning and operating a business is an expansive topic I can’t cover in a single newsletter, I will go over a few of the tools to help you in your editing business.
The business of editing (or writing) is the least favourite aspect of being an editor or writer for many. It involves bureaucracy, legal considerations, sales and marketing, finance, inventory and supplies, operations, hiring and resource management, and more. Thankfully, there are tools to help make the business of editing easier.
The iconic red pen is used by the editor for the hand edit. Here’s a key for editing symbols when doing hand edits from New York Book Editors. Make sure your client understands your editing shorthand and don’t be afraid to colour code and customize your copyediting marks. For the computer world, your red pen becomes the software you use for editing. Choose your software based on preference, budget, industry, and reliability.
Billing and Accounting Software.
Sure, you could do all of this manually, but why? For me, time is more valuable so the nominal cost of the software is an investment. Let’s face it, we’re word people (with the exception of some mathematical and scientific editors and writers). I personally use Quickbooks Online because it does everything I need for accounting business expenses and revenue. PayPal is also a useful tool. If you really don’t want to take this part of the job on, consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant.
This is a no brainer now that editing is done via computer 99% of the time. Make sure you have a quality computer to fit your needs and budget. There’s nothing worse than a computer that freezes when trying to save or worse, before you’ve saved your progress. Although a business expense, it’s also a business investment.
General Liability insurance can cover material damage and theft. Media liability insurance covers writing, publication, social media, and online content liability. There’s a risk that someone may sue you, that conflict over services can occur, copyright infringement and other legal risks as well. Insurance covers intellectual property and physical property. Talk to an insurance broker or reach out to the editing association(s) you are a member of as they may get discounts on insurance rates.
Adopting ethical guidelines or standards as an editor is a sign of trust. It shows you’re invested in safe-guarding your clients work, operate with integrity, and are a serious editing professional. Editing associations, publishers, academic institutions, and businesses have existing standards. Consider adopting one of theirs or creating your own.
The other professionals you work with will form one of the most important tools as an editor, your support team. This support team will offer guidance, constructive criticism, resources, and support in countless ways. Other editors, publishing professionals, writers, and subject matter experts will ensure you can support your clients and improve yourself as an editor. Don’t forget your personal support team too. Whether it’s made up of family and friends, health professionals, or editor / author pets like my cat Whiskers, your personal support team will be just as important as your professional one. Maybe even more so.
The Business of Being a Writer
Writers talk about their work in many ways: as an art, as a calling, as a lifestyle. Too often missing from these conversations is the fact that writing is also a business. The reality is, those who want to make a full- or part-time job out of writing are going to have a more positive and productive career if they understand the basic business principles underlying the industry.
The Business of Being a Writer offers the business education writers need but so rarely receive. It is meant for early-career writers looking to develop a realistic set of expectations about making money from their work or for working writers who want a better understanding of the industry. Writers will gain a comprehensive picture of how the publishing world works—from queries and agents to blogging and advertising—and will learn how they can best position themselves for success over the long term.
The New Rules of Sales and Service
The essential roadmap for the new realities of selling when buyers are in charge
Sales and service are being radically redefined by the biggest communications revolution in human history. Today buyers are in charge! There is no more ”selling”—there is only buying. When potential customers have near perfect information on the web, it means salespeople must transform from authority to consultant, product narratives must tell a story, and businesses must be agile enough to respond before opportunity is lost.
The New Rules of Sales and Service demystifies the new digital commercial landscape and shows you how to stay ahead of the pack.
This post was originally sent as an email to my Editing Services Newsletter email list in March 2021. If you’d like to receive emails like this, please sign up using the form in the sidebar.