Category Archives: Editing

Mini-conference in Newcastle

The article below was originally published in the July/August issue of Editing Matters, the magazine of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP).

On 22 May 2019, the SfEP’s North East England local group organised a mini-conference in Newcastle. As a relatively new member, I was determined to attend my first-ever SfEP conference, even though it involved taking the overnight ferry from the Netherlands to Newcastle. People warned me that it was a notorious party boat and that I would probably not get much sleep. Thankfully, the trip was perfect: it was more like a pleasant mini-cruise than a hyped-up stag party (more on the boat trip here).

Expectations for this conference were high. Not only was everyone enthusiastic about the programme and looking forward to meeting up with old and new friends but a debate erupted on Twitter that raised the stakes for the treats served during the intervals.The pressure was on for co-organiser and cakesourcer, Kia Thomas!

After a wonderful trip, I met up with fellow editors the evening before for a pre-conference dinner. We went to a gorgeous restaurant in the centre of Newcastle, where we shared stories and had a few laughs about my unnecessary boat worries. I love how inclusive and welcoming the editing community is! The following morning, people arrived at the conference venue early, eager to get started. After registering, I socialised with old and new friends. It was great to recognise people from Twitter!

The pre-conference dinner venue in Newcastle.
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I’m a new(ish) member of the SfEP!

I have not yet reported on my new(ish) membership of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (effective as of March). This UK-based organization has members all over the globe and offers many benefits to editors, including a wide range of courses and many (local) events to attend. Seeing as I’m based in Europe for now, it made sense to join an association located next door with events that are only a train or boat ride away (I’m trying not to fly within Europe; more in this below).

What I especially like about the SfEP is its focus on training and community. Let me say something about training first. The SfEP offers training in core and editorial skills and for in-house editors. Members can obtain different grades of membership: Entry, Intermediate, Professional, and Advanced Professional, dependent on the amount of training they have completed and their work experience. Only members who have obtained the last two grades can advertise their services in the SfEP directory.

I think this thorough vetting process lends a lot of credibility to the SfEP and its members. I am currently an Entry-level member but am planning to upgrade to Intermediate soon (I should have enough training points by now). I will probably take the “Brush Up Your Grammar” course  (next to my ongoing coursework at Queens University) and am planning to reach the Professional level as soon as I can. Continue reading

London Book Fair

Mid-March, I attended the London Book Fair for the first time in my life. This is a massive event where publishing professionals from all over the world come to negotiate rights and sell and distribute their content. Over 25,000 people attend on average! I knew it was massive, but wow, it was really, really massive.

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This is just one hall… The Fair was held at Olympia London, a massive, nineteenth-century exhibition space.

I attended the Fair for several reasons. First, I wanted to better understand the publishing industry and its trends and challenges. Second, I wanted to see which publishers could benefit from my services and approach them. Third, I wanted to meet and network with other editors and publishing professionals.

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Canada trip: Meeting lots of editors and more!

It’s been a while since I updated my blog! I’ve been ridiculously busy in the past few months. I completed a bunch of large editing jobs, including a language and copyedit of a fascinating academic book manuscript and a copyedit of a wonderful dissertation. I also did a literature review for a political scientist and a number of smaller editing jobs, ranging from a market research report to some new sets of Arcmage cards! My testimonials page has been updated and should be updated again soon, as work keeps on coming in! I’m also taking the Fundamentals of Editing course at Queens University as part of the editing certificate I’m studying for. I meant to write something about this and the copyediting course I took a while ago, and I hope to get to this soon! I’m barely able to catch my breath these days. I’m also going to give you a report of the London Book Fair I attended mid-March, which has already led to new work (I will tell you how I did that!) and lots of new contacts with lovely editors.

As my new cover photo shows, I went on a fantastic, two-week trip to Toronto in the second half of January, where I met many lovely editors who took me in, showed me around, and generally made me feel very welcome. I’m not mentioning everyone here, but Greg Ioannou let me use a desk in his Iguana books office and invited me for dinner at his home, which was such a great gesture. I attended a meeting of Editors Canada’s Toronto branch, where I met more great people and had the privilege to see the amazing writer Esi Edugyan in conversation with her editors. It was a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the work of copyediting. I read Edugyan’s book Washington Black right away and it definitely kept me up late a few nights because I couldn’t stop reading.

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Toronto at nightfall 😍😍😍

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My first year as editor and five tips for new editors

2018 has almost come to an end, and I thought that this would be a good moment to reflect on what I have achieved during my first year as a full-time, professional editor and look ahead to 2019. I have to say, I’m quite satisfied! I registered my company, created my website, learned how to run a business, joined Editors Canada and SENSE, took my first course towards obtaining my editing certificate, became a stakeholder in Peerwith, worked with dozens of kind and talented clients, met many amazing “edibuddies” online through various social media platforms, and, not unimportantly, managed to make enough money to have a fun and comfortable life. I hereby want to thank all the clients who chose to work with me and all the editors who have given me their time and advice.

In the new year, I am planning to complete my training, attend my first editing conference, and expand my client base to include think tanks and governmental institutions. I am now also a Permanent Resident of Canada and am going to explore what opportunities this might bring in 2019, beginning with a two-week trip to Toronto in the second half of January 2019 (where I’m planning to meet up with plenty of edibuddies!).

Here are five tips I have for new editors, based on my experience during my first year as a professional editor:

1. Join a professional association

My membership of professional associations no doubt made me look more professional, but for me the main benefit was that it provided me with (information about) many useful resources in terms of training (courses, webinars, books), business (contract templates, how to set rates), and networking (conferences, mailing lists, Facebook groups). These associations also usually have a directory where you can list yourself as a freelancer, so potential clients can find you. They also offer discounts on conferences, office supplies, and online subscriptions, and different editors’ associations offer discounts to each other’s members. There are usually different ranks for members, assigned according to experience, training, or exams, and one can move up the ranks over the years. Continue reading

Now also a member of SENSE!

It’s been a busy few months! I have finished my copyediting course at Queens University, completed a few large projects and started a new one. I will write more about these things soon.

For now, I’m happy to announce that I’ve become a member of SENSE, the Society of English-language professionals in the Netherlands. While I will remain a member of Editors Canada, it’ll be nice to have some networking opportunities and workshops closer to home. I can’t wait to attend the conference next year!

Meanwhile, I am going to meet up with some editors in Toronto in the second half of January 2019, and am already looking forward to hanging out with these colleagues. The virtual community of editors consists of truly kind, supportive people who are always ready to answer questions and help each other out. Can’t wait to meet some of them in real life! Virtual support communities are so important to the lone business owner!

Why you can trust me with your work

Giving your work to an editor is scary. I get it. I really do.

You’ve labored over something, thought about it for a long time, made an enormous effort to organize your thoughts and transform them into a coherent, well-structured text. And then you send it to a stranger, perhaps the first person who will look at it besides you, who will read it, change it, and leave her thoughts along the way. What is to say that an editor is not going to make your text worse? Why would you trust someone with it?

As someone who has several publications to her name, I understand this feeling. I’ve always been very reluctant to send my work out for commenting or correction. As an editor therefore, I am always humbled by the trust my clients bestow on me by sending me their manuscripts and allowing me to work on them.

I want to assure you that good editors do not betray that trust. As an editor, I follow three principles to make sure that your work is in safe hands: I am careful, transparent, and flexible. I am stealing these three principles from Carol Fisher Saller’s The Subversive Copyeditor, pp. 14–16. I purchased this book a while ago and we’re currently reading parts of it in my copyediting course at Queens University, Canada.

To be careful means that before I even start working on your manuscript, we clearly define the scope of my work together. Do you want me to improve your language and expression or just your grammar? What style should I use? Do you want me to format your headings? It means that I always use track changes so that you can see exactly what I’ve done and can accept or reject it.

To be transparent means that if I have to make a decision that affects the entire manuscript (about capitalizing headings, for example) and that we didn’t discuss beforehand, I contact you before I go ahead. It means that I will explain any changes I made if they’re not obvious. It means that for larger manuscripts, I will keep a style sheet where I record all decisions I made in relation to spelling, style, punctuation, and so on, and I share this with you when the job is finished.

Finally, to be flexible means that I will listen to you and negotiate. If a term shouldn’t be capitalized according to the style we are using, but you have a reason for writing it in that way, I will listen. If you don’t agree with a change I made, let’s talk about it. It is your work, at the end! My job is to make your writing accurate, consistent, and correct.

So, please don’t be afraid to send me your work, I promise that I will respect it and treat it the way I would want my own work to be treated!