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Many CIEP members are either specialists or, at least, tend to offer a limited range of services. We are often just one cog in the long and complicated process that takes a raw manuscript and converts it into a published product. While many of us are shielded from the labyrinthine complexity of the full publishing process, circumstances can sometimes find us having to get up to speed quickly on aspects of the job.
Whether it’s newcomers seeking to make those first important contacts and secure their first clients or more experienced members presented with new processes or having to get to grips with unfamiliar programs, the CIEP forums have proved to be a helpful source of advice and information for members seeking to navigate the complicated and confusing world of publishing.
Working with publishers
New members in particular regularly find sound advice about getting established. How to find work with publishers is a common theme on the forums. There have been a number of discussions about the best way to approach publishers, including this thread in the Fiction forum, and the rights and wrongs of editorial tests as well as the experience and qualifications that publishers might be looking for. The question of publishers asking freelance editors and proofreaders to sign non-disclosure agreements has also been discussed on the forums. Anyone frustrated by a lack of response to initial contacts or to editorial tests will draw comfort from a recent thread in which members described how, even if it takes years, that initial contact with a publisher or potential client can eventually lead to work.
The question of what different publishers mean by copy-editing and proofreading may not always be entirely clear. A recent thread raised concerns about proofreaders being expected to identify and correct problems in texts that should perhaps have been picked up earlier in the publication process.
For certain publications, fact-checking is an important part of the process, and this is something that editors can be asked to do. This thread explored some of the considerations an editor would want to take into account before agreeing to do such work, and deciding on how much to charge for it.
Working with publishing technology
Many editors and proofreaders are perhaps lucky in never having to venture beyond Word and the occasional pdf. But there are a host of other programs that the publishing industry uses and you will find experts in these among the CIEP membership, many of them happy to share advice and expertise through the forums. Recent forum threads have focused on LaTeX, InDesign and MathType. If you find yourself faced with a tricky problem in relation to design or typesetting, the forums will often be a great place to find answers. A similar thread explored the options for formatting books for sale on Kindle and other electronic devices.
The forums are also a useful place for members to discuss experiences, good and bad, with individual publishers – though such conversations often switch quickly to private messages, away from the main forums.
If you’re a CIEP member seeking to expand your knowledge about any aspect of your work and the variety of ways in which we interact with the publishing industry, our forums are always there to offer advice and help. See you there!
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.
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Posted by Belinda Hodder, blog assistant.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.