Networking is one of the most difficult aspects for me as an introverted editor, but it is also one of the most rewarding. It’s important to meet people within the editing industry (and adjacent industries). When you meet a new colleague, you get to share …
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.
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 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.
I don’t make resolutions in January. I try to make them throughout the year and revisit them regularly. Do you make resolutions? Are they successful? Don’t be hard on yourself if they haven’t been. It’s difficult to keep resolutions and can take a long time …
I love my style manuals and guides. Every time a new edition comes in the mail, I can’t help but get excited. They are the most important tool an editor can have because they ensure consistency. Editing is ALL about consistency. What’s your favourite style manual or guide?
Style Guides and Manuals
These are technically books (or documents), but they’re important enough to warrant their own section. If you’re a seasoned editor, academic writer, or have worked with an editor or publisher who provided you with a style guide you know all about the importance of these resources. While the terms guide and manual can be used interchangeably, I like to differentiate them based on size and application.
Style Guides are specific manuals for a particular book, series, or institution (like a publisher) that ensures consistency in punctuation, grammar, spelling, and formatting for a project or organization. They identify decisions when there is ambiguity, ensure branding is maintained, and offer a structure for print and online publication. Editors typically create these documents for their clients or publishers.
Style Manuals are industry standards and are book length. They cover some of the same topics as style guides but focus on a broader vision that can be applied to many different types of works and writing industries. For example, Chicago Manual of Style is a US English Manual used commonly in book publishing and universities for academic works.
If you’re editing without a manual, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your clients. Standardization and consistency are cornerstones of editing. A list of some of the style manuals to explore are below. If you can only have one, I recommend Chicago Manual of Style. It also has an online option (as do a few other style manuals/books). Don’t forget to pair your style manual with an appropriate dictionary for spelling and word usage consistency as well.
Chicago Manual of Style (US English – general writing, book publishing and academic works) https://bookshop.org/a/10847/9780226287058
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, by the American Psychological Association (APA). (US – academic) https://bookshop.org/a/10847/9781433832734
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) style (US – academic, business) https://journals.ieeeauthorcenter.ieee.org/your-role-in-article-production/ieee-editorial-style-manual/
MLA Handbook (US – academic, book, business) https://bookshop.org/a/10847/9781603292627
The Associated Press Stylebook Basic Books (US – news, business, online media) https://bookshop.org/a/10847/9781541699892
Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (US – scientific publications, also used by some Canadian Universities) https://bookshop.org/a/10847/9780226116495
The Canadian Press Stylebook & Caps and Spelling (CAD – news, business, online media, Canadianization) https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-canadian-press-stylebook-a/9780920009543-item.html
AMA Manual of Style (US – medical, health, science) https://bookshop.org/a/10847/9780190246556
Amanda Greenslade’s Free Online Australian Style Guide (AUS) http://www.editoraustralia.com/styleguide.html
The Business Style Handbook, An A-to-Z Guide for Effective Writing on the Job, by Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene (US Business) https://bookshop.org/a/10847/9780071800105
Child of Light Style Guide (US) https://www.behance.net/gallery/14637893/Child-of-Light-Logotype-Guideline
Irish Red Cross Style Guide (Irish English) https://cistudio.ie/work/irish-red-cross
This post was originally sent as an email to my Editing Services Newsletter email list in December 2020. If you’d like to receive emails like this, please sign up using the form in the sidebar.
Books Continual education is important for authors. One of the ways to achieve this are books. These are some of the book resources I have on hand for editing and writing: Macros for Writers and Editors (http://www.archivepub.co.uk/book.html) Editing Canadian English by Editors Canada (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/editing-canadian-english-3rd-edition/9780986945618-item.html) Elements …
There are many reasons to add resources to your editing toolbox, and to recommend them to help your authors. As an editor, you’ve studied language and stories because you love it. Or maybe you’re an author and it’s a necessary evil. Editors bring experience and …
Without clients, we couldn’t make a living as editors. Clients are everything. There are good clients and there are not so good clients, just as there are good editors and not so good editors. This issue will offer tips on working with clients in a professional way to ensure they return, and to protect yourself from the odd bad seed.
Follow up with your clients
Follow up with clients at the beginning, middle, and end of a project (or as the project plan schedule dictates). Good communication, even a simple check in, goes a long way. It is professional, courteous, and keeps everyone on the same page. Consider following up with past clients once a year. Check in with their lives, writing projects, and ask for feedback in a personal way. This keeps you in their mind for their next project or to refer other writers to you. It also establishes rapport.
Try not to make assumptions about the work you’re editing or your writer’s expectations. Clarify expectations and questions with your client. Your client is the decision maker. You are a consultant. If you are hired to be the decision maker for editorial changes to a work, consider consulting all parties on a few decisions if appropriate. Not only does this ensure client expectations are met, it includes the client in the process of the edit.
Hold at least one session that is one on one be it in person, video, or a phone call
I try to host a one-on-one session at the beginning of every project I work on. This allows me to go over the process, billing, expectation, and any initial questions I have. Such a session opens the floor to the client to raise questions as well. It goes a long way to avoiding miscommunication, ensuring you and your client are a fit for each other, and laying the foundation for the project and professional relationship. This personal touch makes you a more memorable editor to your clients as well.
Rapport is important to every successful business relationship. If you have rapport, you have a harmonious relationship where you and your client communicate more clearly and openly. Ways to establish rapport include following up, one-on-one sessions, positive feedback to and from the client, finding common ground, having a schedule for deadlines, summarizing your understanding of what was said by your client, and being honest and genuine.
Know your writers
Writers are diverse and you should become aware of their diverse needs for their projects. Some clients thrive on structure, others fly by the seat of their pants. Not only will you need to tailor your services for each individual project, but you should also fit your services as best as you can to your client’s expectations and style both on and off the page. Consider your client’s writing history, expectations, deadlines, goals, concerns, and their audience. Establishing rapport, clarifying details, one-on-one sessions, and following up with them all help you get to know your writing clients and tailor your services to be the best editor you can.
Managing the less than ideal client
Like it or not, every editor will have at least one client who is difficult to deal with or never pays the bill for any number of reasons. I’m not talking about the writer that falls on hard times and works something out with you. I’m talking about rude, ghosting clients, or challenging clients who are disrespectful and dismiss your expertise. There are many ways to manage this conflict and a few fallbacks for the financial fall out like bad debt reporting on taxes. You may want to consider taking a course or researching conflict management or mediation. Make sure you establish clear expectations around payment, protect yourself, and keep your boundaries. Sometimes the best solution is to step away from the project and client.
Establishing contracts is important to protecting yourself and your clients. It also helps to outline expectations for parties involved in your writing project. You don’t need a lawyer to write a contact, but it might be wise to have one review your contract if you’re not familiar with writing them. Contracts should be clear, in PLAIN language, and agreeable to both parties. You can save paper by using electronic signature applications that track information for audit purposes such as HelloSign. Email email@example.com you’re interested in purchasing my editor’s contract template for your use.
The first edition of Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene and revolutionized the way millions of people communicate when stakes are high. This new edition gives you the tools to:
- Prepare for high-stakes situations
- Transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue
- Make it safe to talk about almost anything
- Be persuasive, not abrasive
This post was originally sent as an email to my Editing Services Newsletter email list in September 2020. If you’d like to receive emails like this, please sign up using the form in the sidebar.
We’ve all read those book reviews that comment that a book needs more editing. Maybe you’ve even found an error in a book or published material yourself. But the problem with expecting perfection in a human product is there are so many problems with that …