Tag Archives: social media

CIEP social media round-up: October and November 2021

In October and November 2021 we continued to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to raise awareness of the CIEP, promote our values and highlight our incredible and growing list of resources for members and non-members. Looking to the wider world, we posted articles that celebrated major events and explored the business of editing, the details of text, beautiful books, and weird and wonderful words.

Supporting self-publishing

In October we were a session sponsor at the Alliance of Independent Authors’ online conference, #SelfPubCon21, where we sponsored CIEP member Sophie Playle’s session on crafting beautiful prose. We created a lovely bundle of free resources for delegates: three guides, two focus papers and four fact sheets.

Boosting specialist knowledge

We promoted a new guide, Editing Fiction Containing Gender-Neutral Pronouns, by Louise Harnby, which helps fiction editors consider the implications for narrative viewpoint when an author uses gender-neutral pronouns.

And we continue to raise awareness about the CIEP’s Directory of Editorial Services on a weekly basis. In October we promoted music and language editors and novel critiques. The aim is to demonstrate that the Directory is a source of professionals in whom clients can have confidence.

We also want to share our knowledge more widely, and we decided that not enough people know about Editorial Excellence and what incredible value there is inside this bi-monthly newsletter.

So all of our social media accounts now have sign-up details pinned to the top of the page, and when people join they get a welcome email pointing them to the newsletter archive so they don’t have to wait for the next edition.

Blog bonanza

Our blog posts went into overdrive in the wake of the CIEP conference, with 19 posts reviewing conference sessions, finishing with a first-time conference-goer’s experience in which Dayita Nereyeth summed up her journey through #CIEP2021 beautifully.

We also promoted blog posts on a variety of topics: eco-anxiety, sentence case in titles, grammatical rules and personal communications, business-boosting tools, 21 tech tips and commissioning, editing and proofreading figures.

Questions and more questions

November saw a new CIEP language quiz, number 11, for the competitive grammarians among us.

And we promoted the launch of our new course, The Art of Querying, across all of our platforms.

Marking world events

As usual, we marked events in the wider world with our curated content. We posted Oxford University Press’s celebration of ten people who made British history for Black History Month; on 1 October it was also International Coffee Day and we linked to a list of coffee quotes, courtesy of Goodreads; at October’s end it was of course Halloween, which we anticipated on 12 October with Merriam-Webster’s list of monsters with excellent names including Snallygaster and Hodag. Nearer the date we shared a spooky Halloween tale for writers by cartoonist Tom Gauld in which, after curses and death, the worst event was, in the words of the storyteller: ‘The book had a typo and the entire print run had to be pulped!’ One of our Facebook followers commented: ‘Pulped for one typo??? Those were the days.’ Quite right. Remember, folks, most books have the odd typo.

In November, COP26 in Glasgow was the main event, and we made sure we gave our followers enough environment-related reading material to accompany them through, from new words such as wish-cycling to the etymology of the word ‘world’. Brian Bilston published an ingenious poem, ‘Every day the planet burns a little more’, to be read downwards and then, for a more hopeful vision, back up again.

The business of editing

As ever we posted a good deal of content about being an editor or proofreader, starting with The Ethics of Online Portfolios: How should editors showcase their skills and experience?. In early November we looked at how to build a waiting list, and later in the month CIEP’s own business columnist, Sue Littleford, published a well-received blog on the ACES website about author querying, which included seven golden rules and a description of Sue’s own querying process. The article got a lot of love online, and for good reason.

Something else that got a lot of love was the term ‘polywork’, which describes a new working lifestyle of ‘pursuing multiple jobs to fulfill multiple interests’ as defined by fierceelectronics.com and recorded by Cambridge Dictionaries. One LinkedIn follower commented: ‘I’m definitely a polyworker: genealogy, editing, writing and a bit of designing brand books. I love it all so why choose only one?’

Textual healing

From the subjunctive to pronouns, capital letters to commas, as well as what happens when friends discover grammatical ‘errors’ in your novel, we also considered the details of text. One very popular article, Writing by Seeing Only the Punctuation, allowed its readers to paste into a web tool any piece of writing in order to view only its punctuation. Our followers called it ‘fascinating’ and ‘awesome’, and one commented: ‘These are works of art! I’d love one as a poster.’ That’s someone’s Christmas present sorted, right there.

Beautiful books

On 28 October it was a day for the enjoyment of books as we posted an article about the 15 most beautiful bookstores in the world as well as a scientific explanation for your urge to sniff old books. The author herself (@joodstew) thanked us on Twitter for the shout-out. Most welcome.

And then for those who have all the books but don’t have the time to read them, a new concept: an antilibrary, a research tool that ‘creates a humble relationship with knowledge’ because it reminds us of all the things we don’t yet know.

Weird and wonderful words

Something else we’ll bet you don’t yet know is the meaning of most of the words in Merriam-Webster’s Great Big List of Beautiful and Useless Words, Vol. 2 (yes, there has already been a first volume). With a subtitle of ‘They’re wonderful. They’re obscure. They’re often quite pointless’, this list includes ultracrepidarian, ‘giving opinions on matters beyond one’s knowledge’ (perhaps they need a humbling antilibrary), and spanghew, ‘to throw violently into the air; especially to throw (a frog) into the air from the end of a stick’. We hope to never have to use that particular word, ever. Poor frog.

And finally, as we’re getting into words-of-the-year season, a nod to The Cambridge Dictionary Word of the Year – wait for it … keep going … almost there – perseverance. We’ll allow Cambridge Dictionary to elaborate:

In 2021, people all over the world have had to show perseverance in the face of challenges and disruption to our lives from COVID-19 and other problems. Perseverance is almost always a positive word that expresses our admiration for people who keep going in difficult situations … You might find it encouraging to learn that we usually use perseverance to talk about an effort that is eventually successful.

We can only hope. From CIEP’s social media elves, wishing you a very happy festive season and a wonderful start to 2022.


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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: rainbow book shelves by Jason Leung on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

The 2021 CIEP conference: How to be a LinkedIn leader

This year’s CIEP conference was held online, from 12 to 14 September. Attendees from all over the world logged on to learn and socialise with their fellow editors and proofreaders, and a number of delegates kindly volunteered to write up the sessions for us. Liz Dalby reviewed How to be a LinkedIn leader, presented by John Espirian.

Most of us are probably already on LinkedIn because it’s a relatively simple and free way of having a professional online profile. And many of us know it as an extension of a traditional paper CV – it’s a place to show off your skills and achievements, in the hope of being noticed by a potential employer. However, whether or not anyone will actually notice you among the throng is another question. As with any form of social media, there are positive ways in which you can make yourself stand out, and there are also ways in which you can draw attention to yourself – even to the point of being restricted or banned – for all the wrong reasons.

John Espirian, former member and director of the SfEP (as it was then), has gone on to develop a significant following for his advice on how to make LinkedIn work better for you, alongside his own work as a technical copywriter. The thing that’s immediately noticeable about John’s Zoom presentation is his background. Where the rest of us might make sure we’d cleared the household mess out of the way or arranged a suitable book or two in view, John is totally on-brand with his trademark blue background, and even a QR code to scan, which takes you directly to his own LinkedIn profile. That, right there, is a lesson in message and branding, and he hasn’t even opened his mouth!

John introduces his session as ‘the whistle-stop version of the LinkedIn Leaders’ Playbook’, his course on how to get the best out of LinkedIn. He starts off with a list of ‘don’ts’ – things to avoid doing if you want to have success on LinkedIn, including trying to get too many connections too quickly. This is because it doesn’t allow you to get to know each new contact individually. He emphasises the importance of establishing personal contact with your connections throughout, whether via written messages or voice messages – while keeping it non-salesy and human.

Of course one of the things you may want to do on LinkedIn is share your content, but don’t even think about setting up a so-called ‘engagement pod’, where you are part of a group of people who all like and comment on each other’s posts. It’s not just bad form and a bit tacky, it’s against LinkedIn’s rules, and it’s an example of a practice that could get you banned, as is automating actions such as bombarding similar accounts with the same message. Take care!

A positive thing to aim for, John says, if you do it slowly and organically, is reaching 500 connections, as beyond that point LinkedIn won’t show exactly how many connections you have. Presumably, you could appear to be on a par with Elon Musk, or whoever, to the casual observer or passing HR person or commissioning editor.

Next, and perhaps most immediately relevant to anyone who’s a relative beginner, is how to make your profile as good as it can be. John has clearly analysed all of this at a granular level, so you don’t have to. Before applying his tips, he recommends checking your profile views, so you have something to measure against when assessing the changes you’ve made. Some of his tips are very basic, such as moving away from the default profile and banner images. But it’s also important to consider the placement of the two in relation to each other – don’t let your profile photo obscure anything you want people to see on the banner.

Most important is your profile headline. This is what people will see when you comment on other posts, for example, so make sure you get it right and make it interesting. On a mobile device, they’ll only see the first 40 characters. So even though you have 220 characters to play with, John doesn’t advise using anywhere near that number.

Next most important is your About statement, which can be 2,600 characters long but only the first three lines will be seen. State what you do, who you do it for, and how to get in touch. You want to make clear what value you bring to a project, and you might put killer quotes or list high-profile clients here, too. Other consistent pieces of advice are to break up walls of plain text with lists, for example (especially for mobile reading), and show a bit of personality! Again, end with multiple ways people can get in touch with you. Make it clear exactly what you provide.

John also mentions publishing your prices (via a link to your website), which he’s well known for advocating. This is to avoid interaction with timewasters who are not ever likely to pay what you charge for your services. Finally, he uses the device of a secret word in his About section, which is a way of testing whether people who connect with him have read his profile. It’s also a conversation starter. Again, it’s all about personalisation.

Next, he moves to Recommendations. He has a tip for asking for recommendations, which involves adding a link to the bottom of invoices or email signatures, for example, to take the pain out of asking contacts directly for Recommendations. However, they will need to be connected to you on LinkedIn to be able to do this. A further tip is customising your LinkedIn URL. It’s this attention to detail that makes John’s advice so useful – and this kind of thing is very easy to do, but has outsize effects in terms of making your profile seem cared for and polished.

Other areas he covers in the session include the difference between following and connecting (try to get people to follow you first by switching to follow-first mode, but only if you’re regularly putting out content); best practice when it comes to connecting and building your network (you’ve guessed it – make it personal, even using voice notes if you dare); creating content that clients will care about (using his CHAIR model); articles versus posts (even if you write an article, you’ll still need to craft a shorter-form post to make it visible to your network); the anatomy of a successful LinkedIn post (use emojis, make the most of the plain text format with lists and white space, and focus on getting engagement and comments), view counts and commenting etiquette.

John ends with a surprising statistic – that only 1 per cent of people on LinkedIn are content creators. This means that if you become one of them, you will really set yourself apart, which is what it’s all about in a crowded marketplace like ours. And his final takeaway is that ‘conversations are gold’. That’s really the message he conveyed throughout the presentation. Yes, there are technical tweaks you can make to tighten things up and make yourself visible. But to get the most from the platform, you have to show up as yourself, and engage.

The presentation was clear and consistent, packed with useful and actionable information. Throughout, it was impossible to forget who was presenting, too – John’s bitmoji alter ego was there, walking us through the slides, which were beautifully created in line with his branding. All in all, it was a highly polished and professional insight from someone at the top of his LinkedIn game, but useful and accessible to everyone, at any stage of the journey.

Liz Dalby has been an editor since 1998, and freelance since 2008. She works on non-fiction projects of all kinds, for publishers, businesses and independent authors. She’s also one of the commissioning editors on the CIEP information team.

 

 

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:

 

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

CIEP social media round-up: August and September 2021

August and September 2021 brought us new members and the CIEP conference. We took a stand on key issues and enjoyed reading about reference books, focusing on specifics of business practice and fiction editing, and encountering a wealth of idle curiosities. Finally, we celebrated autumn’s arrival with the wonderful Brian Bilston.

Welcoming new members

In August we ran a two-week flash offer on membership via our social media channels. This got a fantastic response, with 361 new members joining us. Welcome to every one of you!

Then at the beginning of September we launched three new CIEP guides, all of which, like the rest of our wide-ranging suite, are free to our members – just one of the benefits of joining the Institute.

Conference excitement

In August and September we continued to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in the run-up to the CIEP annual conference, and we posted a video and text-based posts about the exciting speaker line-up.

 

 

 

 

There was some tremendous live tweeting by delegates throughout the conference, and more than one comment from people suffering from FOMO who wished they’d booked a place! Thanks to everyone who shared their conference experience through social media. You can still see what went on via the hashtag #CIEP21. Soon we’ll release reviews of the brilliant conference sessions and a round-up of the conference blogs, so the excitement doesn’t need to stop just yet.

Where we stand

During these two months we made it clear where the CIEP stands on some key issues. We blogged about why we’re no longer using the terms ‘non-native’ and ‘native’ and we introduced our environmental working group.

 

 

 

 

Our newly updated equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) web page contains links to all of our own key resources, our recent public statements on racism in publishing and beyond, and ideas about where you can go for more information on EDI. We hope this page will become a vital part of every editor’s toolkit.

Celebrating reference books

Talking of toolkits: reference books. We love them, don’t we? In August we heard from the CIEP’s friend Dr Fraser Dallachy on the origins of the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, a mammoth undertaking that when finished in 2009 after ‘over fifty years of sorting and categorising’ was roundly celebrated: ‘there was much rejoicing, speech-making, and imbibing of wine’.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Dictionary of Caribbean English. The OED recently worked with Dr Jeannette Allsopp, who founded the Richard and Jeannette Allsopp Centre for Caribbean Lexicography, and many others to expand its coverage of Caribbean English, revising over 120 entries in the OED and adding more than 100 new ones. One word mentioned in the article was tabanca, ‘the name that Trinidadians have given to the longing and melancholy they feel after the end of carnival’. A bit like CIEP members feel after the conference, perhaps.

Positive posts

To cheer us up, how about some positive new words? The crop at the end of August from Cambridge Dictionaries – ‘volunteercation’, ‘peace tourism’ and ‘kindness economy’ – should do the trick. If not, check out the article they posted a mere week later about the language of reading, including ‘getting lost in a book’ and ‘bookworm’ (you called?). And then, the week after that, Cambridge Dictionaries did it again with an article about words and terms connected with trust and loyalty. Happy sighs all round.

Keeping focused

There was plenty of practical content during this period: critical-thinking copyediting, getting paid by the project, formatting a book using Word Styles and counting pages in a manuscript submission. And, ever a favourite topic: style sheets – what they are and how to use them.

Fantastic fiction

We curated a variety of articles for fiction editors in August and September, from ‘“Whoever/whomever” in fiction: Which should your character use?’, which sounds niche but was actually an interesting discussion about how much grammar we should expect our characters to know and employ, to Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness, on process and acceptance, and from avoiding anachronisms in fiction to the importance of curiosity and tension to storytelling.

Curiosities for idle moments

There were curiosities of other kinds, too: the sort of lighter content that always goes down well with our friends and followers, including pangrams (sentences that contain all 26 letters of the English alphabet) and which library matches our personality. We enjoyed some beautiful colophons and discovered why there’s no ‘n’ in restaurateur. We found out how the poetic greats were snubbed and tried out seven Shakespearean insults. We even learned 22 charming words for nasty people, which might come in handy one day. And do you know what the opposite of déjà vu is? Now you do. Don’t worry about the odd feeling that you’ve read it before – it’s because you follow us on social media, of course!

Finally, as September edged towards October our thoughts turned to autumn, and, joyfully, Brian Bilston met us right there with a poem entitled ‘The problem of writing poems in the shape of deciduous trees’. If you weren’t one of the 393 people on our social media platforms who liked or loved this poem, do click through. It’s a tree-t.

Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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: ferris wheel by Steve Shreve on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

 

CIEP social media round-up: June and July 2021

June and July 2021 in social media gave us conference fever, hot new resources, trustworthy professionals, heroic diving etymologists and faithful canine edibuddies.

We used Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote the CIEP annual conference in September, and posted a video and text-based posts about the speaker line-up. The full programme is available on the CIEP’s conference page. Take a look!

Fabulous resources

We’ve also made a splash about the following fabulous additions to the CIEP’s extensive resource library.

Professionals you can trust

And we continue to raise awareness about the CIEP’s Directory of Editorial Services on a weekly basis. The social media posts reflect the broad range of specialist editorial skills CIEP members have to offer and draw attention to advertisers’ qualifications, experience and client references. The aim is to demonstrate that the Directory is a source of professionals in whom clients can have confidence.

The wider wordy world

In rounding up the external links we have shared in the previous two months we try to look for vague themes. This period has been unusually disparate in its topics, although highlights have been an article from ACES about whether your punctuation is too varied; Lynne Murphy’s celebration of 15 years of Separated by a Common Language, her blog about British and US linguistic variation; a well-received CMOS quiz on editing lingo; and an interview with Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of The Other Black Girl, on the spoofability of the publishing world.

However, two themes did emerge: etymology and dogs. So, same old same old, but let’s plough on nevertheless.

Heroes of etymology

At the CIEP we just love etymology, the study of the origins of words and terms and how their meanings change. So June and July were a treat for us as they provided a combination of box-fresh new terms (lockdown foot and bungalow leg; yep, both sound painful), a fascinating myth-busting quiz about the OED and an interesting article from a New Words editor which started with the words: ‘My name is Fiona and I am responsible for putting amazeballs into the OED.’ Another word that Fiona’s team has worked on is ‘staycation’, the subject of much hot debate this summer as Person A casually said to Person B, ‘Yeah, we couldn’t get abroad this year so we went for a staycation at the coast about 50 miles away’ and Person B spat back, ‘But that’s a holiday! You have to stay at home for a staycation!’ If you’re interested in whether Person A or Person B is correct in their use of the term, here’s the link to the entry in the OED. (Spoiler: it’s both. Both are right. Now, please stop arguing.)

Another term that has been used a lot this summer, to consternation in some quarters, is ‘wild swimming’, the practice of taking to the water in lakes, rivers and the sea (‘What? In my day we called this “swimming”’). Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman valiantly dived (or is it ‘dove? Oh, never mind) into this particular controversy on the Grammarphobia blog, usefully tracing its origins to Roger Deakin’s classic swimming book Waterlog. This was published around the turn of the millennium, so, yes, unless you are very young ‘wild swimming’ would have been simply ‘swimming’ in your day, but now it exists as a term in the OED (although you’re not obliged to use it).

We appreciated Edwin L. Battistella’s honest, self-reflective post for the OUP on ‘crazy’ and related terms. Being conscious about language is constant work, and this etymologist, author and lecturer outlined the reasons he would no longer be using ‘crazy, wacky, looky, kooky, or nutty’ after hearing directly from his neurodiverse students about how they were affected by this type of language.

We posted another great blog from Edwin L. Battistella in June about the flexibility of pronouns, which formed the basis of a question in CIEP quiz 9. There are all sorts of different types of pronouns, it turns out: personal, reflexive, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative … and ‘your ass’, as in ‘If you keep that up, they’re going to fire your ass’, is a pronoun too. Who knew? Those hero etymologists knew, along with their equally heroic colleagues, the linguists and the lexicographers.

Everybody and their dog

‘Everybody and their dog’, according to Battistella’s article, is an idiomatic compound pronoun that simply means ‘Everybody’. But when we said on 25 June ‘Everybody and their dog is at work today’ we really meant it, as it was Bring Your Dog to Work Day. If you work from home, this day was likely no different from any other, for you or your dog, but we asked our social media friends and followers how their canine friends were helping them on this special date. A LinkedIn follower responded: ‘My #edibuddy keeps reminding me to take a #stetwalk!’

How does having a canine edibuddy work for other freelancers? Well, some of us with dogs can report that the experience is a combination of having your feet snoozed on (particularly welcome in the winter), hoping they don’t see a squirrel out of the window during a Zoom call (mute button at the ready) and being followed into the loo (chin on your knee and all), but who can more professionally articulate its ups and downs? How about copywriter and dog owner Tom Albrighton, author of a blog for the CIEP on how to be a freelance introvert? Here are some of his recent tweets at @tomcopy: ‘Imagine if dogs had phones. You’d be getting constant texts like “Time for a walk?” and “How about some cheese”.’ (Truth.) ‘It’s common practice in our house to articulate the dog’s presumed thoughts in a “doggy” voice. What happens if you have two or more pets? It must be like one of those one-person Shakespeare performances.’ (Can CIEP members with more than one dog illuminate us on this?) And finally: ‘Just got caught singing a song to the dog about how I’ll take him out in the garden in another half an hour. That’s what working at home is all about.’ It sure is, Tom, it sure is.

Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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: dog in a box by Erda Estremera on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

CIEP social media round-up: April and May 2021

From spoof biographies to snacks, annual reports to fact sheets, conferences to quizzes, April and May 2021 combined fun, advice and endless opportunities to get engaged online. In this round-up, we cover:

  • Special days
  • Improving your business and working practices
  • Sharing CIEP resources
  • Conference excitement
  • Wordy chat
  • Quizzes and other fun stuff

Special days

Immediately as April started there was a special day to celebrate – April Fool’s Day. We posted an article about Grove Music Online’s Spoof Article Contest, which has been running now for 20 years. You can read the winning entry, plus the runners up, in the article. The judges commented: ‘It was hard to miss that the biographies took a turn for the macabre, perhaps inevitable as we begin year two of a pandemic. Whereas our 2016 contest saw a surprising number of flatulence artists among its biographees, this year we saw an unprecedented attention to the mode of death.’ What future world events may cause a resurgence in spoof flatulence-artist biographies, we wonder?

On 16 April we noted, in our pyjamas, that it was ‘Wear your pajamas to work day’, and on 26 April we were organised enough to note that it was ‘Get organized day’. Oh goodie! An opportunity to buy yet another notebook.

We celebrated the Oscars in late April by sharing a list of the books behind the nominated films and discovering what’s behind the term ‘red carpet’.

Improving your practice

Sharing advice and tips is a big part of what we do. Two of the articles we posted to help our followers improve their practice were written by CIEP members, and one of them is worth keeping in mind as you trawl through the many articles offering principles for a successful start-up or listing must-dos as a beginner. CIEP Advanced Professional Member Helen Stevens’s Take my advice – but also don’t lists ten pieces of advice where the opposite might also well be true. We continued this advice/anti-advice theme with two other curated articles: ‘Why procrastination can help fuel creativity’, which looked at the role of the unconscious mind in invention, and ‘The benefits of distraction’, based on a review of a session at the ACES 2021 conference, held in April.

One piece of advice that is unequivocally worth taking, however, especially as your freelance business grows, is CIEP Advanced Professional Member Hazel Bird’s suggestion to produce an annual report. This will give you a regular chance to assess where you’ve come from and where you’re going. ‘Use yours as a pathway to shed the aspects of your business that pull you down and achieve more of what you want’, she says.

Keeping up to date with technology is essential to running a successful editorial business so we took notice when Jane Friedman helpfully revealed how to turn a Microsoft Word document into an Ebook, and Crystal Shelley usefully reviewed Word Macros, giving our own Paul Beverley a mention.

Sharing our resources

Our focus papers and fact sheets continue to be popular on social media. Over the past two months, we’ve promoted the following recent additions to the CIEP resource library.

 

Conference excitement

Also well-received was the super PDF of the #CIEP2020 conference session write-ups. At the end of April, we promoted this free booklet to our members, followers and friends via social media. We hope you enjoyed this conference recap, and that you’ll join us for more fabulous online learning at #CIEP2021!

In May, we used Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote a competition offering ten free #CIEP2021 conference places. Then, in early June, we spun an online Wheel of Names to randomly select the winners. The response was phenomenal – thank you to the hundreds who entered, and congratulations to our lucky ten!

Those of you who are members of the Society of Young Publishers might also have attended SYP Scotland’s #SYPRefresh conference. The CIEP sponsored one of the sessions and offered delegates a free copy of the Your House Style guide.

Wordy chat

As ever, tips, talk and debate about words formed a large part of our social media output, from the language of painting and decorating to the origin of haggis, from the history of ‘gilding the lily’ to the differences between ‘lead’ and ‘led’, ‘unsatisfied’ and ‘dissatisfied’, ‘use to’ and ‘used to’. We also learned about five words that don’t mean what you think they do when you look into their origins.

One word we had certainly never heard before, because it’s brand new, is ‘boffice’. Can you guess what it is? You may even have one of your own. Give up? OK, here’s the link.

Quizzes and other fun stuff

The CIEP offers its own fun quizzes, but we love other people’s quizzes too. There was a good crop during this period, including puzzlers about US v UK English, how certain words were coined, libraries and book titles based on their obscure subtitles.

Talking of obscurity and book titles, how about The Adventures of a Pin, Supposed to be Related by Himself, Herself or Itself (someone there could do with the singular ‘they’), Ducks; and How to Make them Pay, Cabbages and Crime, and Who’s Who in Cocker Spaniels? You can find all these wonders and 73 more in ‘77 strange, funny and magnificent book titles you’ve probably never heard of’.

Those among us who are parents of young children laughed long and hard at the twisteddoodles cartoon that one genius social media team member chose for the late May Bank Holiday Friday Funny, entitled ‘If going anywhere with small children was a magical fantasy novel’. This inspired 123 reactions on Facebook, with particular admiration given to Chapter Six, ‘The Snackening’. The last chapter is ‘The Vow to Never Go Anywhere Again’, with the title of Book Two, the sequel, revealed as ‘The Forgotten Vow’. Talking of which, we’ll see you again at the end of the long UK summer holidays. Have a lovely sunny time, and don’t forget the snacks.

Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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: notebooks by Kiy Turk on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

CIEP social media round-up: February and March 2021

Ah, the relief in February and March 2021 as spring approached, and finally, well, sprang. We marked this hopeful period by promoting a new course and guide, and by celebrating significant days and seasons.

In this article, we cover:

  • Word for Practical Editing course
  • promotion of our Going Solo guide
  • BookMachine’s Editorial Season
  • Twitter threads, racism and the media
  • special days and seasons
  • business tips and tricks
  • language love.

Our three-month promotion of the Word for Practical Editing course had a fantastic response across social media, with nearly half a million impressions across our various platforms, and nearly 5,000 click-throughs to the course page. It clearly strikes a chord with budding and more experienced editors alike who want to maximise Microsoft Word’s ability to do the heavy lifting when it comes to routine editing tasks.

We hope you enjoyed watching Sue Littleford, author of our guide Going Solo, spin a wheel of names! The ten lucky winners each received a free copy of the second edition of this popular start-up guide.

Another popular event promoted heavily on social media was BookMachine’s Editorial Season. We ran a special membership-growth campaign, and Advanced Professional Member Kia Thomas featured in one of the Season’s regular Wednesday Wisdom slots. Kia shared her experience and insights into editorial freelancing during a live Q&A that was well attended and very much enjoyed.

We also used Twitter threads to promote Going Solo and a blog post about proofreading as a side hustle. Threading is a useful tool for Twitter promotion that requires more in-depth information than can be squeezed into 280 characters.

The CIEP was especially grateful for this functionality during the controversy that erupted following comments from the Society of Editors’ former executive director, Ian Murray, on racism and the media. Commenting on something as serious and important to our industry via social media needs to be concise and clear but substantive. Threading allowed us to make a statement about the CIEP’s commitment to conscious language, representation and structural barriers, and to continuing to learn and do better. You can find our commitment to anti-racism on the home page of our website.

Special days and seasons

During Covid times there has been a feeling of making the most of special days and other periods of celebration. As we’re wordy people, this usually involves reading the relevant books. February was LGBT+ History Month and we published three articles that explored some great LGBT+ reads: history books; books that celebrate and educate; and 42 LGBTQ books that will change the literary landscape this spring. To mark that special day in mid-February – you know, the one celebrated all over the world – that’s right, National Radio Day on 13 February (why, which mid-February date did you think we meant?) we included a much-admired poem from Brian Bilston re-creating the tuning of a radio. At the beginning of March it was World Book Day, of course, eagerly anticipated as the most popular ever. To celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17 March we shared an article covering 25 books by Irish authors you should read.

On 8 March it was International Women’s Day, but the articles we posted celebrating women during these two months weren’t confined to a mere day. From women in the OED to a quiz to find out which literary heroine you are, and from what Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s time in lockdown teaches us to how well you know a selection of literary classics by women, quite apart from all of the articles we featured that were written by women, quoted women and built on the work of women – well, it was as if women and girls make up, what, 49.6% of the world’s population or something.

Business tips and tricks

As ever, we posted a good number of articles to help our friends and followers keep ahead in their businesses. The title of ‘Video killed the meeting room star’ was given a thumbs-up by our Facebook audience, but its contents proved equally admirable as it explored the do’s and don’ts of making video calls. Articles on pricing structures, being able to accept feedback and when and how to fire a freelance client offered useful advice, and posts condensing the lessons of decades of non-fiction editing experience and how to edit face to face, as well as a quiz on the anatomy of a book, were useful in a different way. For inspiration (and what business person doesn’t need to be inspired sometimes?) we posted a great article about seven writers who were also editors (and the books they edited), and another about the innovative influencers on TikTok whose book reviews are having a major effect on publishing sales.

Language love

But if you’re an editor or proofreader it’s no use being strong on the business side if you’re not cutting the mustard with your knowledge of language and punctuation. We covered this side of things too, with articles about prefixes, countable nouns, brackets and parentheses and commas between adjectives in creative writing.

And then there’s the content we post because of the sheer love of language, which we know our friends and followers share: ‘6 Latin abbreviations you should know’, ‘When repulsive wasn’t disgusting’, ‘Irony and the OED’ and an article on imps and elves, and what they have to do with vaccines. A wealth of etymology and history, all rounded off with a bang-up-to-date short article on whether it’s correct to say O.K., OK, ok or okay. The answer, apparently, is now ‘ok’, with a nod to the fact that ‘maybe mmmkay will achieve formal status one day’. ‘K’, as one of our Facebook followers succinctly said.

In February and March 2021 we showcased CIEP courses and guides, spoke out on important issues, and curated seasonal content and tips to improve your business and language skills. We hope you enjoyed following us as winter turned to spring.

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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: grass in sunlight by Aniket Bhattacharya; women by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum, both on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

CIEP social media round-up: December 2020 and January 2021

December and January were all about giveaways, grammar, goals and good dogs.

December saw the launch of our first holiday calendar campaign, which offered daily giveaways and time-limited discounts on CIEP fact sheets, focus papers, courses, guides, articles and conference-session videos. The promotion was a big hit within the global editing community and drew attention to the huge bank of valuable content offered by the CIEP.

In January, we began testing Facebook ads and commissioned a social media consultant with expertise in delivering these to targeted audiences. A three-month-long campaign featuring our Word for Practical Editing course will run until early April 2021.

We also reposted links to older but still relevant problem-solving CIEP blog posts about customer service, punctuation, word counts, multi-lingual editing, editing technical materials, plain English, editor websites, editing scams, being a young editor, business content, keeping fit and being a freelance introvert.

My grammar and your grammar, sitting by the fire

The CIEP has a new Getting to Grips with Grammar and Punctuation course, and during December and January grammar, punctuation and language usage featured prominently in our curated content, from an adverb quiz to whether it’s acceptable to say ‘try and’, the order of adjectives, the prefix un-, the word ‘multiple’, the dative pronoun ‘methinks’ and if it’s wrong to say ‘from whence’, as ‘whence’ means ‘from what place, source or cause’. This kicked off its own debate, as we suggested ‘this ever-changing world in which we live in’ was a similar example of superfluity in language and asked if anyone could name the song ‘from whence’ these lyrics came. A number of followers and friends suggested that the right words (from ‘Live and Let Die’) were ‘this ever-changing world in which we’re livin’’, which sent us down an internet rabbit hole via Stan Carey at the Macmillan Dictionary Blog to an interview with Sir Paul McCartney himself. After all that, it turns out Sir Paul wasn’t sure of the lyrics, either.

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021

As it was the end of one year and the beginning of the next, there was a certain amount of looking back and looking forward, plus a festive article on what you should read based on your favourite Quality Street. Well worth a read at any time of the year, although it might make you hungry. We celebrated 2020’s incredible book sales (an article that got 118 likes on Facebook, the equivalent of a hearty round of applause), concentrated on setting goals for 2021, were inspired by small professional editor groups, and looked to start our own editorial blogs.

What’s in a name?

Near the beginning of December we posted a story about a set of Isaac Newton’s notes, sold for auction at £378,000, that was almost destroyed by fire when his dog, Diamond, jumped up on the table and upset a candle. Obviously our first thought was ‘what an excellent name for a dog’. As is Smurf, the starring example of a CMOS article on commas and appositives. Should you write ‘your dog Smurf’ or ‘your dog, Smurf’? It depends on whether Smurf is your only dog; if so, use the comma. This set us thinking: if Smurf isn’t your only dog, what would your others be called? Moomin, Kermit and Simba, perhaps. And in fact, Simba featured in an article in Dictionary.com about where the world’s most popular pet names come from. But not everyone wants to go mainstream, and the beauty of pet naming is that you can use a word hardly anyone has heard of like, say, sporange (the botanical structure that creates spores), which is remarkable for being the only word in the English language that rhymes with orange. Pretty distinctive. Although yelling it across your local park might be more distinctiveness than you’d be comfortable with.


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Photo credits: silver reactions by George Pagan III on Unsplash

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

Buck the trend: strengthening your business during lockdown

By Rachel Gristwood

2020 was a challenging year in which to set up and run a business. But with the wonders of modern technology, it has been possible to receive training, find clients and function as an editor/proofreader from the comfort of our own homes.

In 2019, I completed the CIEP’s Proofreading 1: Introduction course and passed the Proofreading 2: Headway course. That summer, I began a year-long business start-up course through The Growing Club, a local Community Interest Company (CIC) for women that functions much like an enterprise agency. It provided me with training and support while I was setting up my business: Well Read Proofreading Services.

And then the pandemic struck.

There was no script for how to set up a business and find clients in a pandemic. The trick was to use the contacts I already had, think innovatively and make the most of every opportunity that came my way.

I’ve listed below some suggestions for how to strengthen a proofreading/editing business during the pandemic, together with how these avenues have helped me – sometimes in surprising ways.

Local Enterprise Agency (EA)

Local enterprise agencies exist in the UK to help start-up and small businesses. Other countries may have organisations that perform a similar function but go by a different name for our overseas friends.

  • Ask if they run training courses. These may be as simple as a morning session on how to use a particular social media platform, or an in-depth year-long course on how to set up and run a business. Enquire as to whether you might be eligible for any funding to help with costs.
  • See if they have any networking events via Zoom. You may be able to find new clients. At the very least, you’d be able to chat with other small business owners and perhaps learn from them.
  • Does your local EA have any contact with other organisations that may help you, such as the local group of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) or a Chamber of Commerce?
  • Is there a mentoring scheme where you can be helped with the finer details of running your business and finding clients?

My experience

I am fortunate to live in the area covered by The Growing Club, a Community Interest Company that provides support, training and mentoring opportunities for women in the North West of England. I began a year-long business start-up course in the summer of 2019, which continued via Zoom during the lockdown. Through that course, I now have a business mentor who will answer questions, help me to plan and, most importantly to me, help with any difficulties – something I am so grateful for as it greatly reduces my stress levels!

I attend a weekly Zoom drop-in session, which is great for socialising with other small business owners and finding out answers to any questions I might have. I also attend the monthly local group meeting of the FSB, through which I now have two prospective clients talking with me about their future proofreading needs.

I have gained some business through networking there, and now have two local authors as clients; two local businesses have given me material to proofread that they’ve written during lockdown, and the owner of a new start-up business asked me to bring their website up to scratch because English is their second language.

I’ve also undertaken a piece of copywriting through The Growing Club and had the pleasure of being taken on as a writing coach to help a local author with her writing – something I enjoyed enormously.

Local college

Colleges provide courses to help upskill their local population.

  • Find out about the range of courses they offer. You may have thought of broadening your social media reach to get your business ‘out there’, so see if your local college offers training courses on different social media platforms.
  • See if they run courses on aspects of running a business; for example, marketing or finance.
  • Ask if funding is available to local businesses.

My experience

I found there were social media courses through Lancaster and Morecambe College, with training provided by The Consult Centre, a local social media company. I undertook training sessions on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google My Business, as well as Canva, which enables me to design professional, branded posts to upload to my social media platforms. As a local business owner, I was eligible for full funding.

While I post weekly on social media to increase the visibility of my business, I’ve enjoyed the natural networking opportunities such interaction has given me. Connecting with other editors and proofreaders through LinkedIn has been a pleasure, a helpful resource, and has helped me feel much less isolated during these strange times.

Universities

Students and academics use the services of proofreaders for dissertations, theses, journal articles and books. Some universities maintain a register of approved proofreaders. They may stipulate that applicants to the register must live within easy reach of the university to meet potential clients in person, if requested, and there are often proofreader guidelines to adhere to.

My experience

I definitely knew when Masters dissertation writing time had arrived! Yes, you’re proofreading to a tight deadline, but I got a real buzz out of working closely with the students and helping make their writing the best it could be prior to submission.

I enjoyed a detailed commission for an academic to help ensure her article met the house style of the journal she wished to submit it to.

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading

My membership of the CIEP has played an integral part in my development as a proofreader. I completed the Institute’s level 1 and 2 proofreading courses in 2019.

The 2020 CIEP conference laid a wealth of information at my feet. Thank you to every keynote speaker. The networking sessions were instrumental in helping me build connections with editors and proofreaders.

I also belong to my local CIEP group and enjoy the Zoom meetings. It’s a great way to give tips to others and to learn from those more experienced than myself.

Other avenues

Be innovative!

Write articles for publications. This will get your business name out there and tell people what services you provide.

Diversify. I now also offer:

  • Copywriting
  • Transcription
  • Coaching sessions in writing skills.

For those of you just starting out, see if you can undertake voluntary work in return for a testimonial.

Summary

Be open to opportunities and flexible enough to mould your skills to a situation that may not be your normal remit, but one that you could diversify into.

The most memorable soundbite I learned from my year-long business start-up course was: ‘Don’t ever do the hard sell – just talk to people.’ Ask them about themselves and their business. Leave them with a positive feeling after your conversation and they’ll remember you in a good light.

I hope I’ve been able to suggest ideas to strengthen your business. I’d love to hear your tips, too.

After achieving a Masters in Volcanology and Geological Hazards from Lancaster University, Rachel Gristwood trained in proofreading through the CIEP before setting up her business, Well Read Proofreading Services. She enjoys working within academia, and also with local authors and business owners. Networking is important to her, especially via Zoom during the pandemic.

 


The CIEP’s guides are great resources for editorial business owners – whatever stage they are at. Check out Marketing Yourself and Pricing a Project. A new edition of Going Solo, with an accompanying record keeping Excel toolkit, will be published soon.


Photo credits: Rachel’s photo was taken by her late father, Ken Gristwood. Strength by Vicky Sim; Grow by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

CIEP social media round-up: October and November 2020

Well, we’ve been busy. In our last round-up, we described our first chatbot social media campaign, which featured Lynne Murphy’s focus paper on global Englishes. There was more chatbot fun on Facebook in late October when we delivered 350 copies of Rob Drummond’s focus paper The linguistic sophistication of swearing via Messenger. That was followed up by a cross-platform promotion that focused on grammar snafus. The Slaying zombie language ‘rules’ fact sheet and a spooky version of our ever-popular language quizzes were promoted just in time for Halloween.

The fun wasn’t all on Facebook, though. Next, we posted Meet the Directors videos on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, revealing not just a few surprising facts about the Council!

November saw our first online conference. We hope you enjoyed the Facebook competition! Over 1,200 people entered, and five won free places picked randomly from an online Wheel of Names spun by the marketing and social media directors.

The CIEP blog is a valuable repository of content written by our members, and we want to celebrate that. Now that our new scheduling system is up and running, we’re able to ensure that our articles are broadcast via social media on a regular basis, regardless of when they’re written. Over the past two months, we’ve posted or reposted blogs about glossaries, the forums, language, business tips, grammar, the author–editor relationship, networking, project management, productivity, querying, references and imposter syndrome.

We’re also now scheduling weekly posts and videos about the directory. Each one features a genre, subject or service, and links to the directory. The goal? To show potential clients around the world how to find a qualified editorial professional who’s a great fit for them.

And finally, membership and training. Our courses, guides and membership benefits are also featuring every week on social media. Did you catch the video about the Efficient Editing course? We know how much people are missing face-to-face workshops so we’re spreading the word about the CIEP live webinars via the socials too.

Lost in translation

As usual, we brought our followers a rich selection of content from all over the internet about words in all their glory and variety. Popular were our postings of articles that explored words from different languages that just couldn’t be translated into one English word, yet described something exactly. On 10 November on Twitter and 13 November on Facebook, we shared 10 untranslatable words that perfectly describe how you’re feeling in 2020 – for example, all that boketto (staring blankly into space, Japanese) in your home might give you fernweh (a hunger to travel to faraway places, German). We complemented this on 11 November with 38 wonderful words with no English equivalent and topped them both off a couple of weeks later with a Merriam-Webster quiz asking where in the world certain English words originated from.

Dogs can definitely boketto

We also posted a piece this Halloween-tide about Edgar Allan Poe’s vocabulary, from ‘alarum’ to ‘tintinnabulation’ – a word, incidentally, that revealed the source of ‘tintinnabulum’, used in Part I of The Zombie That Ruled Grammar for Infinite Eternity, subject of Riffat Yusuf’s spine-chilling language column for the CIEP.

Ace ACES

ACES, the society for editing in America, was a veritable fount of knowledge, sharing its wisdom on editing-related matters from understanding image rights to public speaking to copyediting graphic novels. Especially fascinating was its piece on ablaut reduplication – not another untranslatable phrase, but the phenomenon that we all know but don’t know that we know, of vowels in constructions such as ‘ding-dong’ or ‘hee-haw’ moving from the front to the back of the mouth. This was discussed at the grammar amnesty session at our 2019 conference, with a prize (a KitKat – geddit?) offered for more examples. Published just after our 2020 online conference season, this article became a lovely reminder of when we were last together in person. Thanks, ACES.

Words of the year

In November, Collins Dictionary named its word of the year: lockdown. A fortnight later, Oxford Languages announced that, for them, it wasn’t possible to identify just one word of 2020, and they released a report, Words of an Unprecedented Year, instead. Perhaps it’s time to look somewhere completely different for words that inspire and delight. On 13 November on Twitter, we posted New York Magazine’s video of the vocabulary of Schitt’s Creek’s Moira Rose, whose speech fairly bombilates with unusual terms: something to confabulate about as you chin-wag on Zoom with family and friends over the next few weeks. We wish you a truly glee-ridden holiday season, dear social media followers.

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Photo credits: social media by Merakist; dog by Naomi Suzuki, both on Unsplash

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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

Consistency is key to building and keeping a ‘fan base’

This year’s CIEP conference was held online, from 2 to 4 November. Attendees from all over the world logged on to learn and socialise with their fellow editors and proofreaders, and a number of delegates kindly volunteered to write up the sessions for us. Emily Gleeson reviewed Digital marketing primer: making a big splash on your own, presented by Erin Brenner.

Coffee break at the 2019 SfEP Conference.

In a year of firsts for everyone, the CIEP 2020 conference brought many for me – my first online conference, my first CIEP event and, more pressingly, my first time nervously writing something real that people might read. My nerves may have been wasted, though, as the more sessions I attended, the more I felt I’d found a place where I could just … be.

Stage fright is my most loyal companion and extends to everything that’s visible to the public, which certainly affects my weak digital marketing efforts. So, it was with a sliver of excitement and loads of trepidation that I sat down to watch Erin Brenner (Right Touch Editing) speak, hoping to learn even a little something that might help.

For many, digital marketing conjures up frightening images of the conceptually impossible, but Erin soothed us quickly. She began by breaking it down into easy-to-stomach pieces. In doing so, she changed my perspective on successful marketing from an insurmountable mountain scaled only by interpersonal geniuses, into relieved acceptance of the clearly doable step-by-step processes defined by her tidy methods. With a heavy emphasis on building strategy, we were introduced to a clear, goal-driven structure that I’m sure will have even the most introverted and uncertain of us seeing small triumphs, if only we put in the effort. In a defining point about audience, Erin tapped into a reminder I expect all of us need to hear occasionally.

The problem we’re solving for our client is not their lack of clean copy.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the achievement that we find in polishing something to almost perfect, that we can forget that our clients come to us to make their product better, not cleaner or well-written. If they understood our profession – our passion, obsession, sometimes pathological need – enough to know that cleaner even exists, much less as a step towards better, they’d probably not look for us at all.

This comment about problem-solving, which took up only a single line in my hurried notes and is something we’re probably all theoretically aware of, carried us easily into the remainder of the session. Empowering and encouraging in her easy, collegial way of sharing, Erin took us on something akin to a journey of marketing enlightenment. She broke down everything – from defining the real problem we’re solving to how to use a strong marketing message and evocative keywords to get that across. So genuinely generous is Erin with her expertise, we were also treated to resources and suggestions to help us successfully develop a schedule and measure the result of our efforts. All we have to do is stick to the plan.

Erin Brenner’s Digital Marketing Primer rather convincingly conveyed this exciting idea that, with a little bit of patience and the creation of fluid, achievable goals, digital marketing success is not out of reach for any of us. In fact, if we can keep the excuses at bay and follow the guidance we’ve been given, we can pursue it with confidence and clarity and strive to make our businesses work better for us.

Emily Gleeson is a fiction editor based in Australia, who proclaims an eclectic taste and a preference for stirring subtlety, bold truths and vivid imagery, but whose real delight comes from the happiness her clients find in their achievement. Emily can be found at facebook.com/emilygleesoneditorial/, where she patiently awaits news of a CIEP membership upgrade.

 


Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

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