Editorial tips and tools
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Editorial tips and tools
Editing and proofreading tips
Curated by Frank Steele
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CMOS Shop Talk

CMOS Shop Talk | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Evaluate the strength of your knowledge of Chicago style! If you’re a beginner, exercise with us and build some editorial muscle.

Its easy and private—no registration or log-in required. Your results are instantly returned. Take each test more than once if you like.
Frank Steele's insight:
Chicago Style workouts--test your editing knowledge
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The Beginner’s Guide to Cold-Calling Publishers - Copyediting.com

Cold-calling potential clients is not one of my favorite marketing activities. In fact, I rarely do it. Yet it can be a way to win a new client or two. So when my latest copyediting students asked how they should approach cold-calling book publishers, I went to the EAE Backroom and asked the hive mind.

What I got in return was a great beginner’s guide to cold-calling.
Frank Steele's insight:
Good advice on cold calling, or simply on marketing yourself.
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Hale and Hearty after Thanksgiving Dinner - Copyediting.com

Like no other holiday, Thanksgiving revolves around food. For many of us, the day sets visions of roasted turkey and dressing, mounds of mashed potatoes, cranberry jelly, and pumpkin pie dancing in our heads. But many Americans are being more health-conscious these days, creating more balanced and nutritious meals for their family and friends.

Some, I’ve been told, even serve vegetables.

Come Thursday evening, healthful meals like this cause less food coma and more vigor, which leads us to two pairs of often confused words:

HALE VS. HAIL
Frank Steele's insight:
Being hale and hearty
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“Dos and Don’ts”: Just Don’t

“Dos and Don’ts”: Just Don’t | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
We’ve all read those bossy directives from advice mongers: “Do rock a ripped T with a bright floral skirt.” “Don’t chew gum during an interview.” “Do practice blending eyeshadow with your brush.” “Don’t yank electrical cords from the wall.” Aside from being either fatuous and trendy or obvious and unhelpful, such lists actually pose some editorial dangers.
Frank Steele's insight:
Spelling Dos and Don'ts....
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Make a Custom Tab on Word’s Ribbon - Copyediting.com

Hunting for functions is probably the biggest time waster in word processing. Knowing keyboard shortcuts for the most common functions is a huge time saver (like ctrl + S to save a document), making your own shortcuts can help too. A custom Ribbon tab is a great alternative for those who are more visually oriented, rather than memorizing shortcuts.
Frank Steele's insight:
If you use Word 2010 (and I think Word 2007 too), you can add functions on the Quick Access Toolbar very simply, and it saves tons of time flipping through menus.
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Percentages in Text

Percentages in Text | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Percentages are ubiquitous, and not just in election season. But they remain slightly abstract—a concept used to describe something else. Therefore, we often get them wrong.

If you want to impress your boss or client as a copyeditor, go through and check all the percentages.
Frank Steele's insight:
Do the math. As Mark Allen says, percentages are often wrong.
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Choosing Not to Edit - Copyediting.com

Choosing Not to Edit - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
We’re copyeditors: we live to edit things. We’re horrified when we have to leave something we see as wrong. But sometimes the situation demands that we do. One of my Copyediting III students recently struggled with this.
Frank Steele's insight:
Knowing when not to correct is as important as knowing when to do so.
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Moonlight Blogger on Kindle - free till Wednesday

Moonlight Blogger on Kindle - free till Wednesday | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
In a special promotion, today through Wednesday, November 2: The Kindle edition of Moonlight Blogger is free at Amazon!

If you’re new to this site (or if you’re the sentimental type), you can catch up on my past posts in Moonlight Blogger, which contains more than 80 essays posted here in the early days of the Subversive Copy Editor blog, from May 2010 to July 2011.

Moonlight Blogger includes practical copyediting and word-processing tips, bits of copyediting humor, and advice on getting along with colleagues and making sense of the “new publishing” age.

Focusing on the age-old problems and quandaries of writers and editors, these essays should be relevant and helpful for a good long while.
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From Chicago's Carol Fisher Saller
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Outside the Coloring Lines - Copyediting.com

Outside the Coloring Lines - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Do coloring books need editors? They do if they contain words. At the very least, they have a title, and experienced editors know that, the larger the type, the more likely a typo.
Frank Steele's insight:
Even calendars need editors. It's sometimes surprising how errors can crop up in such simple publications.
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Problem Clients, Part 4: How to Attract Your Ideal Clients - Copyediting.com

Problem Clients, Part 4: How to Attract Your Ideal Clients - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
How do I find new clients? is a big, broad, wide-open-sky kind of question. It’s so vague that it usually leads to the questioner becoming the questionee, and it’s almost impossible to answer in a uniform way.

That’s because it’s the wrong question.

Every business, every professional, every person, is different, but How do I find new clients? assumes they all use the same formula. Instead, the better question is, How do I attract the perfect clients for me?
Frank Steele's insight:
I recommend a point near the bottom: "Be visible." I'm not sure the client application is a good idea, but I think it depends on the person implementing it and their situation.
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Seen in the Manuscript - Copyediting.com

Seen in the Manuscript - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
The work you are editing occupies a great portion of your mind. You might ask colleagues for help with difficult passages, and you might be inspired by what you read. Who doesn’t want to share inspiring words? We need to celebrate our happy work  as well as the mind-spending stuff.

But do you have the right to share from the manuscript you are working on? No editor would share a work in its entirety, or even a significant portion of it, without asking the author or publisher for permission. Not breaking copyright law goes without saying. But can an editor share even a single phrase?
Frank Steele's insight:
Interesting. I've never shared details from material I've been working on, even without an NDA. Just didn't seem right.
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Green’s Dictionary of Slang is now available online

Green’s Dictionary of Slang is now available online | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Green’s Dictionary of Slang Online can be searched for definitions, first uses, etymologies, parts of speech, authors, titles, usage labels, etc. As the press release puts it: ‘Those who wish to know how many words James Joyce used for sexual intercourse or Charles Dickens for drunk will find their answers. And whether any came from Yiddish.’
Frank Steele's insight:
New online resource. Free look-ups seem fairly basic, from what I've seen so far.
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Who Edits the Dictionary? - Copyediting.com

Who Edits the Dictionary? - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Imagine proofreading 3000 pages of four-point type on deadline!
Frank Steele's insight:
How dictionaries are edited, in case you've wondered.
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Collins Dictionaries Top Ten Words of the Year - Copyediting.com

Word-of-the-year season is upon us! Last week, Oxford Dictionaries’ editors announced post-truth as their word of the year, but they weren’t the first. The editors at Collins Dictionaries posted their top ten words of the year on Thursday, November 3.

Collins being a British dictionary, its choices might seem surprising or downright foreign to some Americans, as their choices lean toward the social and geopolitical situation in the UK.
Frank Steele's insight:
For word lovers. I like hygge.
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7 Steps to Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Editor - Copyediting.com

Every now and then, I read a book that challenges me to redefine my approach to my freelance editorial business. John Jantsch’s The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself did just that this month, and I’m using it to reshape my marketing strategy for 2017.

The Referral Engine focuses on how word-of-mouth referrals, strategic partners, and content marketing are the new drivers of successful businesses.

Here are Jantsch’s seven steps to winning new clients, exceeding their expectations, and creating long-lasting relationships with them. If you’re a freelance editor like me, hopefully this quick summary will leave you with some exciting new ideas on how to market your services.
Frank Steele's insight:
Good advice on marketing yourself and gaining new clients
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Automate Typing With Word - Copyediting.com

I don’t type my name anymore. Neither do I type the name of this blog, the titles I mention most, or even my address. And I do it all with the functions built into Word:

AutoCorrect,
AutoText, and even
AutoFormat.
Frank Steele's insight:
This speeds up your computer work considerably, if you use Word at all.
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How to Become a Successful Freelancer

A robust network is a freelancer’s best friend. The goal is to start your business with “a group of people who really care about you” and who are ready to support you along the way, says Horowitz. Reach out to the people closest to you to let them know what you’re doing. This doesn’t have to feel like you’re begging for work though, says Horowitz. In fact, she advises taking people you like out to coffee or lunch “before you have an ‘ask’” and offering to help them out in any way you can. “It’s the equivalent of doing informational interviews. You’re just making clear the kind of work you’re doing now and that you’re available to help anyone who might need it,” she says.
Frank Steele's insight:
Freelancing and your friends/network.
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Journalist's Toolbox | A Society of Professional Journalists Blog

Journalist's Toolbox | A Society of Professional Journalists Blog | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Frank Steele's insight:
Copyediting resources from Journalist's Toolbox. Some great links here, and some outdated. Treasures new and old.
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Let's go to the videotape

Let's go to the videotape | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
WE GET USED TO USING CERTAIN WORDS to describe things, and we continue to use them even when they are no longer accurate. As we wrote a few years ago, telephone terminology hangs on even though we no longer hang up.

So it’s not a surprise that news reports frequently refer to “video footage” when there is no actual footage.
Frank Steele's insight:
Good reminder for the older folks among us, like me!
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A Freelancer’s Prayer.

A Freelancer’s Prayer. | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
O Sweet and Merciful Jobs Creator, grant me the strength to rise at a non-shameful hour.

Be the hand that guides my deodorant, the loofah that cleanses my darkest areas. Trick me into believing I will have a face-to-face conversation with someone, anyone I know.


We rely on readers like you to keep McSweeney’s going
Let my sweatpants’ stains speak more to the battles I’ve won than the snack-like meals I’ve bolted down.
Frank Steele's insight:
A prayer that many freelancers can probably relate to.
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Contracts for Freelance Editors - Copyediting.com

Contracts for Freelance Editors - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Freelance editors can use project contracts to protect themselves. Here’s how.
Frank Steele's insight:
I rarely have clients who want to use contracts, but I did have one a few months back. And some of the terms of the contract, added by a lawyer who wasn't familiar with editing, were just unacceptable. I declined to sign, and the client eventually removed those terms, and we went on to a fairly happy partnership. I just won't sign a contract that I don't understand, or that I have to get legal advice to understand. It's not worth it, even for peace of mind.
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4 Tips to Using Praise in Author Queries - Copyediting.com

4 Tips to Using Praise in Author Queries - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Copyeditors work hard to best present queries to authors in order to achieve our goals. In “How to Cushion Author Queries,” Adrienne Montgomerie recommends incorporating positive feedback. “Include some notes of praise alone,” she writes, “such as ‘This is a really evocative scene.’”

By praising our authors in comments and cover letters, we’re working to build trust with them. We demonstrate that we’re not summarily dismissing their hard work; we see the good in the manuscript, too, even if we’re paid to find the not-so-good. Praising can build an author’s confidence and point out what works so they can do more of it.

Praising can also soften the copyeditor’s attitude toward the manuscript and the author. Let’s face it: our job is to find fault. It’s easy to slip into a mindset that the negative is all there is. By focusing a little on the positive, we remind ourselves that a manuscript and its author are more than their faults.
Frank Steele's insight:
Appreciation is important.
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Measuring Readability: A Secret Skill for Copyeditors - Copyediting.com

Measuring Readability: A Secret Skill for Copyeditors - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
Here’s a trick question for you, copyeditors.

What’s wrong with this paragraph?

Klinger sales representatives can instantly check a customer’s credit, quickly source the needed products within the company’s global inventory, and ensure that the products are shipped to the customer on time, without having to correct a customer order when the day-old inventory report reveals a particular batch of printers is no longer in stock or available for shipping.
Frank Steele's insight:
Shorter is often better
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The Business of Editing: The Card — Don’t Leave Home Without Them

The Business of Editing: The Card — Don’t Leave Home Without Them | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
A repeatedly asked question goes something like this: “Any tips on how to find clients?” There are any number of variations, but the question really is asking “how should I market and to whom should I market?”

The answers given are always the standard answers for today. Be on social media, have a website, ask for referrals, and so on. Never mentioned is one of the oldest and most effective methods of marketing: The Card.

“The Card” is the business card. That little scrap of heavier paper that acts as an introduction of the giver to the recipient; the one piece of paper that a businessperson should never leave at home. It is the goldmine of essential information about its giver.
Frank Steele's insight:
The value of business cards. I have cards and I haven't found them especially useful. But Rich has some good points. Do what works for you, and if you can make an unorthodox measure work, then go for it.
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Editing Tools: What to Do about Software Subscriptions - Copyediting.com

Editing Tools: What to Do about Software Subscriptions - Copyediting.com | Editorial tips and tools | Scoop.it
most copyeditors can’t afford to buy every editing tool or subscribe to every editing resource. Freelancers have to self-fund. Employees often have to, as well; employers rarely supply all the tools and resources we need anymore. Although the expenditures are usually tax deductible, we still have to come up with the money. And even $5-a-month subscriptions add up.

So you need to make choices about tools and resources. How do you decide?

Review your needs.
Pay for what you value most.
Make choices on the rest.
Frank Steele's insight:
Set priorities
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