Category Archives: Professional development

How to guides to help with your professional development.

Developmental fiction editing Q&A part 3: Process

To celebrate the launch of our new guide, Developmental Editing for Fiction, we are publishing a series of three blog posts in which Sophie Playle – author of the guide – answers CIEP members’ burning questions about this service.

To learn more, download the guide and consider taking one of Sophie’s online courses about developmental fiction editing.

I’m interested in how you communicate the developmental edit. Is it primarily through an editorial letter? A combination of a letter and comments in the margins of the manuscript? Do you meet with the author on Zoom, talk on the phone? How often?

Absolutely no to Zoom! My poor little introverted soul couldn’t take that kind of spotlight – though video or phone sessions definitely work for some editors.

The way I deliver my feedback will depend on the scope of the service I’ve defined and the needs of the manuscript. For example, for some general feedback, I’ll write an editorial report that doesn’t go beyond a certain number of pages; there will be no notes in the manuscript.

But for a full developmental edit, I’ll provide a longer editorial report, and I’ll leave notes in the manuscript. How extensive these are will depend on what’s needed. I might make some direct changes to the text, I might not. I might extensively highlight the manuscript, I might not.

Do you use book maps or other visual aids?

I might, I might not! (See above.)

Book maps take time to create. If I think the plot is going to need some extensive work, I’ll suggest that I make a book map as part of my developmental edit. Sometimes, I’ll get the author to make one for me (this saves me time and saves the author money) and I’ll use that to help form my analysis.

I’ve made a basic narrative-arc graph that I often insert into my editorial reports when explaining the three-act structure. Sometimes I’ll use tables or graphs if they help me present information more clearly. It’s something I want to make more use of, actually, so I’m always on the look-out for ideas in this area!

I love to know about workflows and the practical side. How do you do the processing of reading, analysing, assessing and suggesting? Do you use a step-by-step process? How much back-and-forth is there with the author?

There’s no one right way to conduct a developmental edit, but this is my general approach:

  1. Read the manuscript straight through, quickly, without taking notes.
  2. Let thoughts percolate for a day or two.
  3. Jot down my main impressions for what needs to be addressed.
  4. Plug these notes into my editorial report template.
  5. The next step will depend on the scope of the specific service.
    • For a critique, I’ll flesh out those notes, scanning the manuscript to refresh my memory, if needed.
    • For a full developmental edit, I’ll work through the manuscript page-by-page, making the notes in the manuscript and my editorial report inform one another.

I’ll only get in touch with the author during the edit if I need them to clarify something relevant to the feedback I’m crafting. I won’t send them the manuscript to work on while I’m also working on it.

Developmental fiction editing

How many times do you read each manuscript, and what sort of notes do you make for yourself on each pass?

Usually once for a critique, twice for a full developmental edit (leaving notes and making edits during the second read-through).

I try not to make any notes on the first read-through as I want to experience the story more like a reader on this pass. I might highlight text I think could be useful to my analysis, and I might leave a few scant notes if I notice emerging recurring problems, but I won’t go into any detail or think about ways to fix the issues yet.

After you return your feedback to the client, is that the end of the process or do you then review any changes they make in light of your comments?

I let authors know that they can ask me for any clarifications if there’s something in my feedback they don’t understand. I ask them to batch their questions and let them know that I won’t spend more than another hour addressing them.

I don’t go back over the manuscript to check the revisions unless we’ve already agreed that this will be part of the service. This takes time, and needs to be considered in the fee and my schedule.

How do you balance how much you suggest and how much responsibility the author needs to take for fixing their own book under your guidance?

I won’t make substantial changes to an author’s book – that’s completely their responsibility, since it’s their book. I can only provide guidance and suggestions. How general or specific that is will depend on the scope of the service we’ve agreed upon.

How do you edit books in which authors have written to a formula, such as the frameworks in books like Save the Cat! Writes A Novel or Story Grid, especially if you’re not familiar with such frameworks or if the author is highly resistant to deviating from them?

If an author wants to use a framework you’re not familiar with, either don’t work on that book or take the time to learn about the framework.

If the author wants to use a framework, that’s up to them. You might be able to make the case for them to deviate from it, but if they decide they don’t agree with your justifications, that’s their right.

Authors often use frameworks as learning tools. They might not be ready to delve into more original or experimental story structures, and doing so might not help them achieve their writing or publishing goals so isn’t always necessary anyway.

As well as that, frameworks don’t produce cookie-cutter stories (if used well). Understanding archetypal story structure is hugely useful – for both authors and editors. Originality is found in the details, and the combination of new ideas – all of which can be hung beautifully upon frameworks.

About Sophie Playle

Sophie Playle is a professional fiction editor who also teaches online courses to other editors. Speculative and literary fiction are her favourite genres to edit, and she loves working with authors who are passionate about high-quality storytelling. Sophie is an Advanced Professional Member of the CIEP, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: header image by EliFrancis on Pixabay, open books by Gülfer Ergin on Unsplash.

Posted by Belinda Hodder, Blog Assistant.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Developmental fiction editing Q&A part 2: Definition and boundaries

To celebrate the launch of our new guide, Developmental Editing for Fiction, we are publishing a series of three blog posts in which Sophie Playle – author of the guide – answers CIEP members’ burning questions about this service.

To learn more, download the guide and consider taking one of Sophie’s online courses about developmental fiction editing.

What is reasonable for the client to expect of us in terms of interventions in the actual text in a developmental edit?

Whatever you’ve defined as part of your service.

And I don’t mean something like ‘I’ll leave at least five comments on every page’ because that’s arbitrary. It’s not about making the edit look a certain way, but making sure you’re delivering the outcomes you’ve promised – and that might mean your edits look quite different from one manuscript to another.

How do you explain the difference between developmental editing and other types of editing to a client? I’ve found sometimes the client hasn’t been wholly clear about what they expect from me.

Publishers will have a brief in mind, and if you’re not clear on what they want from you, ask for clarification.

If you’re working directly with authors, though, they will look to you for guidance on what your service entails. They might have a rough idea about the kind of feedback they’re looking for, but you should lay out the details of your service for them so that you’re both on the same page.

Do you usually work with a finished draft, however rough it may be, or do you work with the author during the writing process? The latter is often referred to as ‘book coaching’, but it seems to overlap with developmental editing. Maybe that’s why so many authors – and editors – are confused by the scope of developmental editing.

I always work on complete drafts because to help an author shape their novel, I need to understand the story in its entirety. I’m definitely one of those people who consider those who help authors finish their drafts as book coaches.

But you’re absolutely right that there are no hard-and-fast service definitions, and this can create confusion. But only if you don’t define your service. As long as you’ve got a clearly defined service, it doesn’t really matter if someone calls a similar service by a different name.

At the end of the day, the aims are similar.

Laptop and typewriter sitting on a desk

I’d love to have some ideas on how to cost a developmental edit – and how to explain to the author how that price (range) has been arrived at.

I actually don’t think the author needs to know how you’ve arrived at your price. I don’t ask my mechanic or my plumber why they charge a certain fee; I don’t ask an artist how they decided how much to sell their watercolour for.

If I feel I’m getting a fair exchange of value, that’s all that matters – and that’s all that matters to your clients, too.

There are so many ways to conduct a developmental edit that it’s not very helpful to try to compare your fees to others in the field – because everyone will be doing things differently. Working out your fees for developmental editing is the same as working out your fees for any kind of service. There are lots of methods out there, and lots of things to consider.

Generally, it comes down to this:

  • What do you need to earn?
  • How long will the work take?
  • What are your clients willing to pay?

Playing around with these somewhat nebulous concepts will help you arrive at a cost – but pricing really is an art, not a formula, and it may take you a bit of trial and error before you feel confident you’ve got it right.

How do you make sure your page comments are suitable for a developmental edit and don’t stray into line editing?

Some editors will do a lot of line editing as part of a developmental edit, and that’s up to them – but I don’t work that way. If I want to delve into addressing issues at a line level, I’ll suggest that as an additional round of editing after the bigger-picture (developmental) side of things has been addressed.

This means all my page comments will be related to a big-picture issue. If I have a clear idea of what those big-picture issues are before I start working through the manuscript page-by-page, I can make sure my comments are suitable and targeted.

About Sophie Playle

Sophie Playle is a professional fiction editor who also teaches online courses to other editors. Speculative and literary fiction are her favourite genres to edit, and she loves working with authors who are passionate about high-quality storytelling.

Sophie is an Advanced Professional Member of the CIEP, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: header image by EliFrancis on Pixabay, laptop and typewriter by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Developmental fiction editing Q&A part 1: Giving feedback

To celebrate the launch of our new guide, Developmental Editing for Fiction, we are publishing a series of three blog posts in which Sophie Playle – author of the guide – answers CIEP members’ burning questions about this service.

To learn more, download the guide and consider taking one of Sophie’s online courses about developmental fiction editing.

What’s the most common developmental editing problem you see in fiction?

New writers often underestimate how much they don’t know.

Completing a full draft of a book is an immense achievement in and of itself, and authors will usually find their writing technique has improved by the time they get to the end of their first draft. But just as writing technique takes practice, so does the art of hanging plots together.

So the most common developmental issue I see in fiction is a weak or unclear premise (because the author will have usually started writing with a vague idea that they developed as they wrote) with a plot that doesn’t hit enough significantly dramatic, interesting or relevant events (because a good structure is built from a good premise).

Often the solution is to teach the author how to refine their premise and make better use of the archetypal plot points that lend themselves to a classic three-act structure.

Other common issues include narration that focuses too much on summary and exposition (instead of building dramatic scenes) and unfocused point of view, causing distance or confusion between readers and characters.

Have you ever come across a developmental problem so huge that it could not be resolved? If you have, how did you handle this with the author?

No, because what does it even really mean to resolve all the issues in a book?

There’s no such thing as a perfect book. In my eyes, my role is to help the author improve what they have, and I can always make suggestions on how they might do this.

Fiction authors tend to be emotionally involved in their writing. How do you deal with authors being upset and/or resistant to your suggested amendments? Or are they generally happy to receive constructive feedback?

You’d think that when someone asks for professional feedback and is willing to pay for it, they would be open to receiving said feedback … But that’s not always the case!

I’ve worked with authors who have replied to my feedback quite curtly, affronted. Over the years, I’ve developed a better instinct for the kind of authors who are secretly looking for validation and the kind of authors who are genuinely looking for constructive guidance, and made sure I’m working with the latter.

I work really, really hard on writing my feedback with sensitivity and tact, and I tell the author what they’re doing well, too. If they resist my feedback, there’s nothing I can do about that – and it’s their prerogative.

It’s possible the author needs to work on their own emotions around receiving feedback, but it’s also possible that I’ve not quite understood what they’re trying to do or that some of my suggestions aren’t right for the book, so I try to maintain some humility and distance from how an author receives my work.

There have been times when I’ve felt like an interloper in the private, intense author–text relationship. How does an editor create the space for themselves to work, and for the author to coolly re-evaluate the text?

Similar to my answer above: the author is responsible for their own mindset, but there are things we can do as developmental editors to help them feel good about the feedback we’re giving – by communicating with humility and tact.

What do you do when it feels as though everything needs fixing?

I put the manuscript aside for a day or two and let the small issues sink to the bottom of my mind like sediment so I can see the bigger issues more clearly. Then I focus on addressing those.

If I feel it’s appropriate, I’ll suggest multiple rounds of feedback – so the author will go away and address the first round of suggestions, then I’ll reassess the new draft and give them different, more nuanced things to focus on for the next draft.

I try to suggest this approach upfront, before I even start working on the manuscript, so that I’m not suddenly asking the author to shell out for more editing that they didn’t expect or budget for. To be able to suggest this approach to the author, I need to spend a little time looking at the manuscript and getting to know the author’s creative goals beforehand.

You (and the author) have to take into account the law of diminishing returns, though. Authors don’t have infinite budgets or time, so sometimes it’s about doing the best you can with the resources available, and accepting that.

Even if you and the author can’t get the manuscript to the point you’d like, it can be a valuable learning experience for the author and they can take what they’ve learned to their next book.

About Sophie Playle

Sophie Playle is a professional fiction editor who also teaches online courses to other editors. Speculative and literary fiction are her favourite genres to edit, and she loves working with authors who are passionate about high-quality storytelling.

Sophie is an Advanced Professional Member of the CIEP, and has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: header image by EliFrancis on Pixabay, bookstore by Maria Orlova on Pexels.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Ten bookish books of 2022

2022 was a good year for books about, well, books: their history, what constitutes them – from their different sections to their individual paragraphs, sentences and words – and the places they can live. In this article we look at ten books, published or reissued this year, that people who are interested in books – professionally or for fun – will love. Some of them have already featured in the CIEP book reviews slot in The Edit, our newsletter for members, and on our website, and some are in the pipeline for review. We’ve listed them in order of release.

1. Comma Sense: Your guide to grammar victory by Ellen Feld (Mango, 18 February 2022), 288 pages, £16.95 (paperback)

‘Food and grammar have a lot in common!’ according to this book’s author. Based on US grammar, Comma Sense contains useful advice, brief but clear lessons, and fun quizzes – some cooking-based – for all writers and editors. Our reviewer said: ‘This encouraging book would refresh the grammar skills of a variety of time-strapped word wranglers, from creative writers, to businesspeople, to editors.’

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

2. How Words Get Good: The story of making a book by Rebecca Lee (Profile, 17 March 2022), 384 pages, £14.99 (hardcover)

This book, in fact, is about the making of many books. The author is an editorial manager at Penguin Random House, so has overseen all the stages of book production, working with the people who are essential in each of them, from authors to indexers. There are plenty of entertaining behind-the-scenes stories, and you’ll come away wiser about exactly what goes into the creation of a book. Those who work in the industry are likely to feel acknowledged, their part in the process no longer a mystery.

Buy this book.

3. Portable Magic: A history of books and their readers by Emma Smith (Allen Lane, 28 April 2022), 352 pages, £20.00 (hardcover)

Emma Smith’s work, ‘a thing to cherish’, according to The Guardian, examines books as objects: scrolls, mass-marketed paperbacks, hiding places, decoration and even fuel for the fire. Smith tells the stories of the different types of books that have emerged at different points in history. People who cultivate giant piles of ‘to be read’ books rather than instantly transporting their chosen text to an e-reader will appreciate this appreciation of the physical, sniffable, page-turning hard copy.

Buy this book.

4. Rebel with a Clause: Tales and tips from a roving grammarian by Ellen Jovin (Chambers, 11 August 2022), 400 pages, £16.99 (hardcover)

To those who have followed her on Twitter, it feels like Ellen Jovin has been running her Grammar Table, where anyone can come and ask a question about language usage, for ever. In fact, it’s only four years. It’s been a packed schedule since that first appearance outside her Manhattan apartment, as Jovin has taken her table across the USA. This book tells some of the stories of the questions brought to the Grammar Table, and examines the grammar behind the answers. There are diagrams and ‘quizlets’ to support Jovin’s explanations. A must for any grammar lover.

Buy this book.

5. Blurb Your Enthusiasm: An A–Z of literary persuasion by Louise Willder (Oneworld, 1 September 2022), 352 pages, £14.99 (hardcover)

The author of this book has written 5,000 blurbs, so she knows what she’s talking about. In Blurb Your Enthusiasm she gives ‘the dazzling, staggering, astonishing, unputdownable story of the book blurb’, and asks why publishers always describe books using those sorts of terms. Quirky, fun and illuminating, this is a treat for anyone who is interested in books or the art of copywriting.

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

6. A History of Cookbooks: From kitchen to page over seven centuries by Henry Notaker (University of California Press, 6 September 2022), 400 pages, £22.36 (paperback)

This broad and detailed history of the Western cookbook was first published in 2017 but has now been released in paperback. This is a fascinating read for all lovers of cooking and books, covering the evolution of recipe formats from bare notes to the detailed structure we see today as well as what we might call the ingredients of the books themselves – their writing, designing and printing.

Buy this book.

7. The Library: A fragile history by Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree (Profile, 29 September 2022), 528 pages, £10.99 (paperback)

This history of libraries is entwined with the history of publishing and the development of society, so this book gives insights into all three. It has taken some centuries for libraries to hit their stride, in terms of access and stock, and reading about this might prompt a fresh appreciation of your local library branch. According to its CIEP reviewer, ‘this book is both informative and easy to read, and goes to all sorts of unexpected places. Come to think of it, that is much like a decent library, isn’t it?’

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

8. Reading the World: How I read a book from every country by Ann Morgan (Vintage, 29 September 2022), 416 pages, £9.99 (paperback)

Inspired by all the countries arriving at the London 2012 Olympics, Ann Morgan decided she would read a book from every independent nation. That’s 196 plus one – you’ll have to read the book to discover the story behind the extra one. Morgan’s literary journey is full of unexpected difficulties and wonderful finds, and this book is bound to inspire you to broaden your own reading horizons. Reading the World was originally published in 2015, with the paperback version released in 2022, so there are now years’ worth of stories about the project itself. You can find these on Ann Morgan’s website.

Buy this book.

9. Index, A History of the: A bookish adventure by Dennis Duncan (Penguin, 2 October 2022), 352 pages, £10.99 (paperback)

This is a ‘mesmerising’, ‘fascinating’ and ‘often humorous’ book, according to the delighted CIEP reviewer of Index, A History of the, who says: ‘This book should be on the reading list of every one of the (few) library schools that are left, and in the break room of every publishing house too. In fact, it should be in the home or office of anyone who has ever used an index.’ And the treasures don’t end with the body text. The index for the book – ‘excellent … beautiful as it is useful’ – was created by CIEP Advanced Professional Member Paula Clarke Bain, who in 2020 wrote a CIEP blog article on her typical week.

Read the CIEP review. Buy this book.

10. Why Is This a Question? Everything about the origins and oddities of language you never thought to ask by Paul Anthony Jones (Elliot & Thompson, 13 October 2022), 320 pages, £14.99 (hardcover)

Finally, dive into the nuts and bolts of letters, words and writing systems, grammar and language, and how we communicate and understand each other’s communication, with this entertaining book. Guaranteed to ask questions you’d never thought to articulate, Why Is This a Question? provides gems on every page. Quick, fun facts throughout for friends and family, or for enthralling your own word-loving brain.

Buy this book.


By the CIEP information team. Compiled with the help of Nik Prowse, CIEP book reviews coordinator. Read all our book reviews at: ciep.uk/resources/book-reviews/. With special thanks to our amazing web team, who post reviews with swiftness, good humour and unfailing attention to detail.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: header image by Taylor on Unsplash.

Posted by Harriet Powers, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

CIEP forums: Director update

The forums are one of the CIEP’s most valued networking resources, and they were as busy as ever in 2022. Community director John Ingamells gives his perspective on the CIEP forums this year, and gives us a glimpse of what’s to come in 2023. John covers:

  • our forums as a virtual meeting place
  • changes to our moderation team
  • setting professional boundaries
  • nurturing a supportive atmosphere
  • our plans for 2023.

You will only be able to access links to the posts if you’re a forum user and logged in. Find out how to register.

This is the time of year when many of us look back and assess what has happened in the 12 months just gone: the good, the bad, our successes and slip-ups. For the CIEP forums, it has been a busy year, with the usual abundance of professional advice covering every imaginable aspect of proofreading and editing, alongside our almost daily dose of exquisite speeling misstakes and general malapropisms in the evergreen Typo of the Day.

A virtual meeting place

The forums have gone from strength to strength as one of the CIEP’s most valued offerings to members. They offer a place for members to meet virtually, ask questions, share ideas, and offer helpful tips and useful pointers on anything from the placement of a comma to how to avoid backache from sitting at a screen all day. In many ways, the forums serve as a virtual water cooler for so many of us who work in isolation without the human contact taken for granted in a traditional office space. Many members cite this as an important aspect of their appeal.

They thus act as an important addition or continuation to those opportunities that members have to meet each other in person. Alongside the annual conference, many local groups have traditionally been able to meet in person as well. Of course, that all came to a halt during the pandemic and we saw that, alongside Zoom meetings, the forums provided an important way to stay in touch. Now that COVID restrictions have eased, some groups have arranged in-person meetings again.

Changes to our moderation team

As most members will be aware, the forums are overseen by a team of moderators and, with a couple of long-standing members of the team looking to stand down after many years of service, the Council decided early in 2022 to instigate a formal recruitment process to find new members for the team.

This reflected the Council’s broader wish to professionalise the organisation as well as a recognition of the fact that forum moderation fell squarely within our legal obligations to ensure that our activities and events are free from any form of direct or indirect discrimination. Part of this change was to begin remunerating the moderators. Four new members were duly recruited to the moderation team and joined over the summer.

Setting professional boundaries

This last year has proved to be a busy one for the moderators. The vast majority of traffic on the forums is informative and helpful and, more importantly, is carried out in a friendly and collegiate atmosphere. But we are only human, and it is perhaps to be expected that on rare occasions, when opinions differ, discussions can become more direct.

Now, there is nothing wrong with some robust debate with members expressing opposing views on a topic. But here it is important that we remember what the forums are, namely a closed professional space. Or, to turn that around, it is important to remember what the forums are not – they are not a public social media setting with an anything-goes attitude to what people can post and how they behave. We all need to bear in mind that we are in a professional setting, dealing with colleagues and counterparts.

This is particularly important when discussions are begun around sensitive issues such as race, cultural appropriation, gender and many others. We have no wish to stop discussion of such issues – there are many legitimate questions of an editorial nature that crop up about, for example, how to advise clients on appropriate language or usage when handling a sensitive topic. Language changes, sometimes very quickly, and clients will often welcome up-to-date advice from a professional editor.

Nurturing a supportive atmosphere

As long as the forum threads handle sensitive subjects with care and with a sympathetic regard for all members, discussions can continue. But we know from experience that members have sometimes felt harmed by the way one or two threads have taken things beyond purely editorial contexts.

There are plenty of places out on the internet where issues can be debated full throttle. But in our closed professional space, where we have a responsibility to our diverse membership, we ask members to stay within certain boundaries. If you would like to see more on this topic, it is worth rereading the notice that the chair, Hugh Jackson, posted in February outlining the CIEP’s position.

In this context, it is also worth reminding ourselves that the CIEP has a core aim to listen to and learn from perspectives that may have struggled in the past to be heard in organisations like ours. What we are really trying to do is nurture an atmosphere in which everyone has the confidence to participate actively in the forums.

Into 2023

How we handle the more challenging threads on the forums has itself been the subject of some debate. We have already announced that we are in the process of drawing up new guidelines for the moderation process which we will be sharing with the wider membership in the weeks ahead and welcoming your comments.

Of course, the big challenge for the year ahead will be the move to the new online platform. Like everything on our website, the new forums will look very different, but we will be working hard to ensure that they will continue to be the useful, informative and friendly place that so many members have come to know and love.


Register to join the CIEP forums.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: header image by Norbert Levajsics on Unsplash.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

Curriculum focus: Meeting up

In this regular feature for The Edit, former training director Jane Moody shines a light on an area of the CIEP’s Curriculum for professional development.

Keeping in touch with fellow professionals is vital for all editors and proofreaders. This month’s focus of The Edit seems to fit neatly within Domain 1: ‘Working as a professional’, which covers the professional life of an editor/proofreader. These subdomains cover various aspects of personal communication. The table gives details about the competencies, skills and attitudes that you should be able to evidence under each of the criteria. I’ve listed some suggested supporting resources below the table.

Knowledge criteriaEditorial competencies, professional skills and attitudes
1.1.1 Role and responsibilities of an editor/proofreader within a publishing team• Is aware of own role within the team and able to work as part of a team
1.1.4 Professional communication and negotiation• Communicates politely and diplomatically
• Responds promptly
• Understands negotiating techniques and is capable of handling delicate negotiations appropriately
1.1.5 Continuing professional development• Recognises the need for continual learning throughout career
• Can demonstrate frequent continuing professional development and improvement of skills and knowledge
1.2.6 Marketing of services• Is aware of the importance of networking
1.2.7 Professional use of social media and internet• Understands importance and uses of professional directories and business website for marketing of services
• Understands and follows good practice in the use of social media

Resources to support your learning and CPD

Courses and meetings

Books, guides and general resources

Blogs

Networking

Have you come across Business Buzz? You might not meet another editor or proofreader but you will have interesting conversations and make local links that you might not otherwise have discovered. My local group meets monthly in face-to-face drop-in sessions. Why not see if there’s a group near you?

About Jane Moody

Jane has worked with books for all her working life (which is rather more years than she cares to admit), having started life as a librarian. She started a freelance editing business while at home with her two children, which she maintained for 15 years before going back into full-time employment as head of publishing for a medical Royal College.

Now retired, she has resurrected her editorial business, but has less time for work these days as she spends much time with her four grandchildren and in her garden.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: counters by Pixabay on Pexels.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Flying solo: Networking for business support

In this Flying Solo column, Sue Littleford looks at ways in which we can step outside the editing and proofreading bubble when it comes to networking and professional development.

Networking with editors is great – we all share similar interests and can support one another about editing and proofreading. However, what about networking with freelancers/small business owners/solopreneurs/sole traders in other fields, and the organisations that serve them?

Besides developing your editing skills, you need to keep up to speed with managing and marketing your business, and quite possibly stiffening your spine when it comes to pricing and negotiating.

Here are a few of the places I network for the business side of my business – as I live and work in the UK, these examples are going to be UK-centric but I hope they will spark ideas of what to look for, for those of you living elsewhere.

IPSE

For networking, IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) is my big hitter. The pinnacle of its networking is the annual National Freelancers Day one-day online conference, free to members and £40 for non-members (in 2022, with early-bird discounts also available). The next one is 15 June 2023.

Aside from a series of strands of presentations and workshops, there are plenty of opportunities to talk to fellow delegates in workshops and in the informal virtual meeting rooms. The related app also allows you to join up with people. Who knows – you may land your next client! And even if you don’t, you may find the ideal person to design your new website.

Aside from the flagship event, throughout the year there are webinars on everything from managing stress to making tax digital, plus offers and consultations; and IPSE continues to campaign for better treatment of freelancers, contractors, sole traders and the like. Until a recent government U-turn, they had successfully campaigned to ditch IR35 but for now their fight continues.

I’ve only known them during Covid times, so can’t comment on in-person events but local meet-ups are happening again. In the last 12 months, IPSE has held more than 100 online events and its events calendar gives a flavour of what is to come.

Small Business Britain

Small Business Britain has partnered with Lloyds Bank Academy to provide webinar training relevant to small businesses (including on finances, marketing and wellbeing) and has just launched a helpline to support sole traders, small businesses, freelancers and so on with specific and general confidential help and support.

SBB has also partnered with Oxford Brookes Business School to provide a Sustainability Basics programme.

Aside from supporting sole traders and small business owners, SBB campaigns on a range of issues, like equality, diversity and inclusion, and provides opportunities to act as a mentor, paid or unpaid, ‘within our campaigns and with our partners’.

Social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and so on and so forth

I’m no devotee of social media, being on LinkedIn and Twitter and that’s it, but there’s no doubt that editorial groups spring up there. But instead of just checking out editorial networks, look for those that relate to freelancing and small business owners.

Follow accounts that relate to marketing, freelance support and any other aspect that interests you, and see where that takes you in terms of active community and insider info.

Being Freelance

Steve Folland of Being Freelance offers all kinds of content on, er, being freelance. Here, editorial and business worlds collide, as he was kind enough to come to speak to the Berkshire CIEP local group in June 2022.

He hosts a community on Facebook (I’m not a FB user, so can’t comment on this – if you can, pop something in the comments for this post!), offers training by video for new freelancers, has a vlog and podcast, and a shop with freelancery delights (I have a non-employee-of-the-week mug and coaster) and he also has on his website a directory of freelancers.

BookMachine

BookMachine often partners with the CIEP and has an online community, discussions and training events online and in person for all things publishing.

Places I’ve heard of but not tried

Other non-editorial places to hang out

I get emails from a number of other organisations and people to keep me up to date with what’s going on with the business end of my business, although they don’t necessarily offer true networking opportunities, at least as a rule. Here’s what lands in my inbox:

Louise Brogan (on LinkedIn)

Louise is a speaker on all things LinkedIn, and provides video tutorials. She also offers one-to-one tuition and private coaching on using LinkedIn to your best advantage.

Karen Webber (on marketing)

Karen, of Goodness Marketing, doesn’t believe that marketing should make you cringe – if it does, you’re going against your personal values, so you need to change tack and align your marketing activity accordingly. She offers training (at astonishingly reasonable prices) and sends weekly advice emails on how to market comfortably but effectively, and she blogs, if you want even more.

Jeremy Mason (on video for marketing)

I’ve seen Jeremy speak at a couple of online events in the last year, and he is fun (as a freelance TV cameraman, he also works on Strictly!) and exceptionally knowledgeable about getting into video to support your social media and marketing with practical advice on the tech, good framing of your shots and the actual content. He offers downloadable resources and training so that you can make videos that get your message across effectively.

Robin Waite (on pricing)

I’ve seen Robin present, too (at the National Freelancers Day conference 2022), encouraging us all to be fearless with our pricing. He has books and courses, and has an emailing list that gets new content roughly once a month.

Janene Liston (on pricing)

Janene, AKA The Pricing Lady, is another who offers coaching, consultancy and resources to understand your attitudes to pricing (especially if you are timid around pricing), and her occasional webinars are incisive and thought-provoking to get your mindset on the move.

Hub Balance (business and wellbeing)

This is one I’ve not yet got to grips with, although it’s been on my radar since the summer. Hub Balance offers two strands of toolkit on its website, for business and for wellbeing, aimed at small business owners, freelancers, sole traders and the like, focusing on creatives (editorial counts as creative). It talks about community, but at the moment that just seems to mean account holders – if you know more, bring us up to speed in the comments. The toolkits look useful, and they’re on my CPD list.

In-person and other local networks

Check out opportunities for in-person events, if you like them. Chambers of commerce are often a good starting point, and organisations such as IPSE run local meet-ups, as I’ve mentioned.

Investigate local business support groups, too.

Finally, as part of managing your business is effective marketing, do consider going to conferences that relate to your subject niche, for three reasons: keeping the knowledge of your field up to date; being able to say so in your marketing materials; and networking with potential clients.

Where do you already network?

If you already have places to go, online or off, why not pop ideas and links in the comments, so people can join you? At the National Freelancers Day conference in June 2022, for instance, I did spot three other CIEP members. Why not make that many more of us next year? Non-UK folk are particularly welcome to add networking ideas and links for their own locations.

About Sue Littleford

Sue Littleford is the author of the CIEP guide Going Solo, now in its second edition. She went solo with her own freelance copyediting business, Apt Words, in March 2007 and specialises in scholarly humanities and social sciences.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: header image by Joshua Harris, presentation by Matthew Osborne, both on Unsplash.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Round-up: CIEP conference 2022

The CIEP’s 2022 hybrid conference, ‘Editing in a diverse world’, took place from 10 to 12 September at Kents Hill Park, Milton Keynes, and online. In this article we’ve gathered attendees’ reviews and reactions before, during and after the event, on social media, in blogs and in our souvenir-style 46-page conference publication. Whether you made it to the conference in person or online, and even if you didn’t attend this time, we hope it gives you a sense of the news, learning, atmosphere and fun of #CIEP2022.

Before: Hashtag excitement

‘Less than two weeks until #CIEP2022! Who’s coming? Starting to feel very, very close indeed.’ On 29 August, CIEP chair Hugh Jackson (@JPS_Editing) informally kicked off conference proceedings with the first use of its Twitter hashtag. Others followed suit, posting before the event about matching fingernail varnish to business cards (@dinnydaethat), and how their knitting was looking (@AjEditorial) in preparation for a meeting of the CIEP’s Haber-dash-ers craft group.

The day before the conference, a fabulous time was wished to fellow editors (by @JillCucchi), and on Day 1 we got commentary on how journeys to Milton Keynes were going, whether that was on three trains (@GhughesEd) or a long, long car journey from Glasgow (@Jane_33South). On Day 2, one of the speakers, Professor Lynne Murphy (@lynneguist), announced she was on her way with: ‘Judging from the tweets, it looks like a very interesting conference so far!’ Conference director Beth Hamer (@BethHamer1) responded with ‘Looking forward to seeing you. We’re having a ball.’

During: ‘Viva hybrid conferences!’

There were two main strands of social media activity during the conference. One was by in-person delegates: LinkedIn commentary on proceedings and live tweeting. @ayesha_chari got a special mention by @The_CIEP social media central for her ‘exceptional live tweeting’, and she flawlessly relayed events until the very end of the conference and Ian McMillan’s plenary session, when she wrote: ‘Laughing too hard to live tweet or do anything else. (If this were in ink on paper, there’d be smudges from laughing tears.)’

The other strand was from our online delegates. As in-person delegates wiped away tears of laughter in Milton Keynes, virtual delegate @akbea tweeted: ‘Sitting in my car outside a school in Wakefield listening to the wonderful @IMcMillan delivering the final talk of #ciep2022. Viva hybrid conferences!’ This parallel in-person/online experience enriched the conference for all the delegates, as questions and comments in sessions arrived through Zoom from remote attendees, and those at home got a taste of the live action through the video link-up. Some even took part remotely in the famous CIEP conference quiz on the Saturday night.

Social media gave us some insights into where and how people were consuming the conference. One delegate wrote on LinkedIn: ‘I’m thrilled I got to attend online so I could monitor my son’s Covid symptoms in-between sessions. Phew!’ @SaraKitaoji, in Australia, posted a picture of the tea she was drinking in order to stay awake: ‘The key to late night Zoom meetings: Japanese green tea. A cute cat cup helps, too. Enjoying more 3am–5am #networking sessions at #ciep2022.’

During these three days, because delegates were joining from everywhere in the globe, from the USA to India, from Germany to Thailand, it felt like a small world. As Hugh Jackson gave his closing address, @TrivediAalap, based in Canada, posted: ‘@The_CIEP transforms the definition of home. It is my home. Wherever, whenever.’ And just afterwards, @FreshLookEdit wrote: ‘So grateful the Spatial Chat was left open after the conference officially closed so the online peeps could linger a little longer. What an amazing weekend of fun, friendship, and learning. Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, speakers, and delegates!’

After: Catching up and rounding up

After conferences, many attendees need time to review their time away and catch up on family time, sleep or relaxation. This year’s post-conference social media was heavy on tea, candles and TV. Some delegates were battling an earworm placed by Ian McMillan with his song about conferences, ‘Here come the lanyard people’.

The talk was also of catching up on sessions missed. As @JennyLaura1 put it during the conference: ‘I’m torn between @MayaBerger’s and @NickTEdits’s session this afternoon. Still, it’s a nice dilemma to have, and I can watch the other one later.’ A couple of weeks after the conference, @HelenSaltedit reported: ‘Just watched my first #CIEP2022 video (catching up with sessions I missed during @the_ciep conference).’

The videoed sessions kept giving, as did the learning points in them. On 18 October @TheClarityEditr wrote: ‘Inspired by Hester Higton’s #CIEP2022 session, I’ve FINALLY made some templates, updated SOPs and added space in my mega-spreadsheet to more systematically calculate project quotes.’

Two delegates wrote round-up blogs soon after the conference that transported us back to the whole experience. Even though her team came fourth in the quiz (down from first last year), Sue Littleford, who attended online, concluded her blog with an uplifting image: ‘The CIEP is the rising tide that lifts all editors’ boats, and at every conference I’m reminded of how proud I am to belong to it.’ Annie Deakins described her sixth CIEP/SfEP conference as ‘great company with fellow editorial colleagues, learning in the form of continuous professional development (CPD), and laughing … so much laughing!’ Sue and Annie also gave interesting reviews of some of the sessions, so be sure to catch their blogs.

The most lasting legacy from #CIEP2022? Even all the happy memories and invaluable lessons had a rival for the prize of what would stay with delegates longest. On 3 October, @ayesha_chari wrote on Twitter: ‘Omg! It’s back in my head! @The_CIEP conference goers, HELP replace the earworm please.’ What, this earworm: ‘Here come the lanyard people …’? Oops! Sorry.


For the complete conference round-up, with reviews of every session, download our 46-page PDF.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Resources round-up: Microsoft Word

Welcome to this round-up of resources compiled by the CIEP. This time, our subject is Microsoft Word.

We have divided our picks into:

  • macros and other editing tools
  • Word tips
  • courses, webinars and books.

Macros and other editing tools

If you work in Word, and you talk to other editors, before long you’re likely to find yourself hearing about macros and other automated editing tools. PerfectIt is used by many freelance editors, and its website contains lots of useful FAQs and tips, as well as video tutorials, user guides and training. If you have further questions, Facebook has a group for PerfectIt users.

Recently PerfectIt launched a Chicago Manual of Style style sheet, which you can access if you’re a CMOS subscriber. Hilary Cadman has reviewed this feature for the CIEP.

Paul Beverley’s free macros, including the popular FRedit, are available through the ‘Macros for Editors’ menu on his website, and he has posted a number of useful explanatory videos on YouTube. Paul has also written a free book, Macros for Editors. Crystal Shelley has reviewed Paul Beverley’s macros.

The Editorium, run by wildcard expert Jack Lyon, hosts the new Editor’s Toolkit Plus 2023, a Word add-in that contains dozens of time-saving tools. The website also hosts EditTools, for editors working on complex documents. Jack Lyon’s Wildcard Cookbook for Microsoft Word, loved by many editors, is available via links on the Editorium site.

A simple tool that’s useful in creating author queries is TextExpander, which creates ‘snippets’ of text that you frequently use, allowing you to add them to a document with keyboard shortcuts.

Word tips

For Word users, there are plenty of tips available online. Allen Wyatt provides well-regarded Word tips. Or look on the Word MVP Site for a range of articles about every aspect of Word, written by volunteers. Or visit Hilary Cadman’s blog for useful tips.

Microsoft itself offers some videos on features like Find and Replace and using Word styles in its Word help & learning section. Or visit Microsoft’s tech community for tips, for example on using Word’s modern comments.

Courses, webinars and books

The CIEP’s Word for Practical Editing helps students to increase their editing efficiency by using Word’s tools and features. Editors Canada has a range of webinars on editing software, on subjects from text expanders and macros to increasing efficiency in Microsoft Word.

Individual editors offer courses on Word, too. Hilary Cadman offers courses on PerfectIt and Endnote, Word coaching, and most recently a course on Word styles and templates. Adrienne Montgomerie offers training on Word Essentials, and a book that can be used for self-study.

Finally, Geoff Hart’s book Effective Onscreen Editing, currently in its fourth edition, is widely recommended by advanced Word users.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: Laptop and notebook by Maya Maceka on Unsplash; cat on keyboard by Александар Цветановић on Pexels.

Posted by Julia Sandford-Cooke, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP

An interview with Paul Beverley: the man behind the macros

Paul Beverley is well known in the editing community as the ‘king of macros’. He has not only devised and developed such indispensable free tools as FRedit, but also provides training via Zoom, on YouTube and in person. Paul talked to the CIEP Information Team about his ‘total and utter obsession’ with macros, and his plans for the future.

How (and why) did you get started with macros?

I joined SfEP (as it was then) 17 years ago after editing and typesetting my own monthly computer magazine for 20 years. The magazine was dying and I was heavily in debt, so I had to find freelance editing work and needed to do that work fast.

For the previous 15 years, I had used a FRedit-like computer program with a Mac, so I got someone to write a version of it in Visual Basic for Word, and from there I set about learning to program my own macros. But I also had to learn to use Word, which I had never used before!

What are your favourite macros? (e.g. the ones you think are most helpful)

Number 1 has to be FRedit. You give it a list of words, phrases or punctuation that you want highlighting and/or changing globally, and FRedit does it in seconds. I simply wouldn’t bother editing without it.

Next it has to be analysis macros such as DocAlyse, ProperNounAlyse and HyphenAlyse, because I love spotting inconsistencies, even before I’ve read a word.

What’s motivated you to be so generous in putting together and sharing all your macros?

Putting together? See question 1 – a selfish desire to earn more quickly.

Sharing? Why not? What have I got to lose by letting others benefit?

Sharing for free? Easy! If I sold them I’d need to employ a team of technical support personnel (there are well over 1,100 macros to support). As it is, people are really grateful when I help them and, if I’m honest, I like it when people say they appreciate me.

Do you have any tips for overcoming a fear of using/reluctance to use macros?

It can all sound rather daunting but if you can get going with just two or three macros, or maybe half a dozen, you’ll save yourself time and that will motivate you to pick up a few more.

That’s the approach in our self-learning offering: ‘Macros from Square One’ (Mac or PC), where you learn how to install a macro into Visual Basic and then you use it, and then you load another one and so on.

Or another low-tech approach is that you can put a special Word file into a folder on your computer, and suddenly, without ever seeing the inside of a computer program, you will have a dozen or more macros ready to use. This is called ‘Macros Free Trial’.

Also, there’s Jennifer Yankopolus’s ‘Macro of the month’, with hints and tips as well as a suggested macro to try each month.

But to really get yourself launched there’s a paid six-session training course run by Jennifer Yankopolus for the EFA: ‘Macros A to Z’. It gets booked up quickly but if you sign up for ‘Macro of the month’ you’ll get the dates of the next course.

What question are you asked most often about macros (and what is the answer)?

Apart from ‘How do I get started?’ (see above), there’s ‘Are macros safe?’ If you are worried about viruses, there’s no need. In Word’s File–Options–Trust Center Settings, keep your setting as ‘Disable all macros without notification’.

If people are worried about messing up a document by using macros, then, yes, this can happen, but only if you misuse a given macro. Any tool needs to be used with care, so follow the instructions and don’t take on something too complicated too soon.

What is the most unusual/interesting request for a macro you’ve had?

Maybe checking, for a PR agency, the length of tweets – 140 characters max (they can be longer now).

Or, in a book about the card game bridge, changing all the special symbols (icons for clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades); the client wanted text: cx, dx, hx, sx.

In another example, someone had to check the totals at the bottoms of columns of figures in a document, and they didn’t fancy typing all the figures into a calculator. One click for each, and the macro checked the addition instantaneously.

Is there any request/need you’ve not been able to make a macro for?

Yes, occasionally, but it’s usually because the request would take too much of my limited available development time for what is perhaps a rather niche application.

The problem is more often the other way around. People want a specific macro, and within the 1,000 macros there is probably one already, but how do you find it? To help, we’ve provided an electronically searchable ‘Macro Menu’.

Have you ever tried to create macros in Google Docs? Would you?

My answers are ‘no’ and ‘no’, in that order. Again, it’s not a matter of pride or principle, just that I’ve got my work cut out trying to support the existing macros and develop new ones that people ask for.

Paul demonstrating his macros at the 2022 CIEP conference

You train people to use your macros. Where in the world has this taken you?

Physically, only to Spain and Canada, but the Spanish editors are so keen on using macros that they have translated some of the macros and some of the documentation for Spain and Central and South America.

When the pandemic hit, I discovered Zoom and so I have been able to train people all over the world. At one stage, I taught people in eight different countries inside five days. And I know of 56 different countries where my macros are being used – and not all for editing in English; there are specific macros on my website for editing in Dutch, German and Spanish, none of which I speak!

And (as a rough estimate) how many people do you think you’ve trained?

I’ve no way of knowing, actually. My YouTube channel has over 1,300 subscribers, if that’s any indication.

You’re now approaching retirement. Will you continue to create and explain macros?

As long as I can, I’ll keep creating macros – it’s a total and utter obsession. But training is not really my forte because I tend to bombard people with all the exciting and time-saving things they could do with macros. Not helpful!

When I’m gone, my macros will still be available, but I became concerned, a few years ago, that all the programming techniques I use to create new macros are locked in my brain. I managed to document many of them in my book’s Appendix 13 – ‘Word Macro Techniques’, and demonstrated some in YouTube videos.

However, in the past few years Word has become even more ‘feature-bloated’ and therefore VBA [Visual Basic for Applications, the programming language used for Word macros], has got slower. I have had to work out tricks to regain the lost speed of some of the more complex macros. These techniques are largely undocumented.

I get a kick from creating new macros but documenting the techniques is a real slog. So if anyone could offer help or inspiration on the documentation front, that would be much appreciated. It would be a shame to lose those tricks when I’m gone. Thanks.

How else will you spend your retirement?

I am now more or less retired from paid editing, but my lovely wife Sue has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so I’m guessing that I’ll have less and less time for macros (and documentation) as the years roll by, and we’re also involved in an Alzheimer’s drugs trial.

Also, please be warned that I’m planning to do another sponsored Land’s End to John O’Groats bike ride, but this time for the Alzheimer’s Society. It will have to be a local ride as I don’t like leaving Sue for too long. I can do the required 1,000 miles plus 38,000 feet of climb by cycling 200 times around Taverham, where I live outside Norwich – it’s actually quite hilly here.

I hope you’ll support me – you might say it’s 1,000 miles for 1,000 macros. Thank you, in advance.

Find Paul’s macro resources

 

About Paul Beverley

Starting in 2005, Paul Beverley’s freelance editing + SfEP + macros got him out of a massive financial hole. Now fully pensioned, he is very fortunate to be able to give the macros back to CIEP and the wider editing world. It’s great fun!

 

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: Bicycle by Deniz Anttila from Pixabay

Posted by Julia Sandford-Cooke, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP