Monthly Archives: June 2015

Judith Butcher Award shortlist 2015

The SfEP has issued a shortlist of members to be considered by this year’s sub-committee in charge of the Judith Butcher Award. It is presented to someone who makes or has made a ‘clearly identifiable and valuable difference’ to the SfEP.

Each year, all Society members are asked to nominate candidates for the Award, saying why they think the nominee should be considered, and the sub-committee draws up a shortlist. This is then studied carefully, and the winner decided upon.

The presentation itself takes place at the conference gala dinner on 6 September.

Three candidates are on the shortlist: Paul Beverley, Rod Cuff and Louise Harnby.

PBPaul Beverley

Paul is described as giving ‘unstintingly of his time and expertise, sharing freely what could be considered commercially valuable expertise (which he could easily have sold in ebook format instead)’, and as ‘helpful to me and countless others simply by responding to queries about, or requests to write, macros’. Another nominator writes that Paul ‘contributes a great deal to the continuing professional development of the SfEP membership’.

RCRod Cuff

In many years on the general committee (precursor of the current council), developing and looking after matters electronic, Rod ‘has been a driving force within the SfEP … developing and maintaining the website and the online Directory, and running SfEPLine’, managing the Directory until 2012 and somehow able to fit in being the official proofreader for Editing Matters for the last 12 years. In addition, he ‘has used his long experience of SfEP’s past by working voluntarily in the Membership Working Group and the Futures Group … to lead the many hours of research, thinking and work that led to the new membership arrangements now in place’. Another role is as a key member of the Linnets – the choir that performs at the annual conference – and he also ‘flew the flag for editors on Only Connect’.

LHLouise Harnby

Louise is described by one nominator as ‘a constant source of inspiration … [she] has helped no end of newer members of the Society’. The set of PDF proofreading stamps that she provides free to members of the Society, the books she has published on setting up as an editor and on marketing editorial services, and her inspirational blog are the most visible of many efforts on behalf of members, including what have been described as ‘always thoughtful, thorough and polite … posts on SfEP forums’.

A longer version of this article originally appeared in the July/August edition of Editing Matters, the membership magazine of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.

Transferable skills and life lessons

It’s safe to say that all proofreaders and copy-editors did something before they started out. Here are a few of the things I learned that I still use every single day.

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Guide badge

Brownies and Guides

I was a Sixer and a Patrol Leader, so early on I was learning about teams, about working together for a common goal within my own team and in conjunction with others, yet not afraid to stick my neck out and do things off my own bat.

School deadlines!

Thou shalt have thy homework in on time! Show your workings. Quality output pleases people. I ended up a prefect, so more acceptance of additional responsibility.

Saturday job

(Four years in a pet shop.) Be nice to people and they’ll come back. Businesses are built on returning customers. Watch your wastage. The backroom parts of the job are important, too. Regular heavy lifting builds muscle – if it seems hard at first, it will get easier with practice.

University

Make sure you understand the brief, can carry it out independently and to a high standard. Look things up if you’re not sure, or even if you think you are – avoid dumb mistakes. Self-discipline and time management. The importance of research. The art of procrastination (sad, but true).

Psychology experiment subject

(Earning a bit of cash to help while studying.) Check your understanding of what’s required. Test your equipment. Concentrate.

Postgrad course choice

You can survive the most horrendous mistakes.

Proper job

(I joined the civil service as a direct entrant junior manager and took it from there for the next *cough, cough* years in central government, then outsourced to the private sector.) The value of precision work. Negotiation. Vigilance. Effective communication with customers of all kinds and temperaments. Running a budget. It’s easier to save a pound than earn a pound. Cash flow is king. Know where you and the work you do fit into the overall process. Under-promise and over-deliver, but don’t go crazy on either.

Look ahead and anticipate problems. Calculate task dependencies. Prioritise and plan. Keep people informed. Be realistic. If things look like going pear-shaped, take early action and warn people as soon as possible. Put yourself in your client’s shoes and act accordingly. Be reliable. Be flexible, but don’t be a doormat or a yes-man – it does no one any good and will quite often bite you on the bum. Seek out training. “We’ve always done it that way” is the wrong answer. When estimating, give yourself contingency time. Don’t work at 100% capacity as routine – if there’s a crisis, you’ve nothing else to give.

After every project think about what worked, what didn’t, what needs tweaking and what needs investigating further with a view to bigger changes – then act before the next project. Don’t get so wrapped up with the work in front of you on your desk that you don’t see what’s going on around you. Keep an eye on industry innovation.

Sue LittlefordSue Littleford was a career civil servant before being forcibly outsourced. That was such fun she changed tack altogether and has now been a freelance copy-editor for eight years, working mostly on postgraduate textbooks plus the occasional horseracing thriller. She is on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Proofread by SfEP member www.proofeditwrite.com.

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

Reading more than once

reading onceAt an SfEP local group meeting the other day, someone asked the question “Do you read things more than once?” Several of us answered “No” without hesitation. Often, there is not the budget to allow for more than one full pass at the proofreading or copy-editing stage. However, as the conversation went on, that “no” was further qualified.

There’s no doubt that looking at something more than once is likely to provide a more accurate end result. So when, and in what ways, might it be appropriate to go over things again?

  • A way to get a quick overview is to check the contents carefully first against the main body of the book or document when proofreading. Check that chapter names are correct and numbered correctly, and check the running heads. As well as ensuring that the contents list is accurate, this provides a quick overview of the book’s structure and general content, so you know what’s coming – this may influence early proofreading decisions, potentially saving you time and angst later on.
  • One idea that was suggested was to make separate passes for different kinds of error – either those specific to the project, or errors we personally know we have a tendency to overlook. These weaknesses will vary from person to person; I know I have a blind spot when it comes to subheadings, for instance. Someone else mentioned en dashes in number ranges. There will be at least as many examples are there are editors.reading again
  • We also agreed that the need for multiple readings might be dictated by the subject matter or the genre of the project. Fiction, for example, demands an in-depth understanding of plot and structure that may not be possible to grasp with a single read. Of course structure is important in a non-fiction book too, but often it will be more explicit and prescribed.
  • Some editors swear by printing things out and doing a separate read-through on hard copy. Again, the decision to do this, or not, will come down to personal preference and may well be influenced by the budget.
  • Most of us probably use some kind of end-of-project checklist to help us scan the text for particular things at the end of a job. This might be a standard checklist that we use for every project, or something more specific to the job (perhaps provided by the client), or a combination of the two approaches.
  • Finally, we all agreed that when starting out proofreading, multiple passes are probably necessary. Any proofread or edit involves looking for a range of types of error, and it takes time to learn to pick up all the little details, while also reading for meaning. Accuracy at speed comes with practice.

Do you read more than once? And do you do a detailed read, or do you have strategies to speed things up?

Photo on 28-05-2015 at 13.51 #2Posted by Liz Jones, SfEP marketing and PR director.

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

 

Everyday CPD

photo (3)There’s nothing like going on a training course or attending a conference for an intense dose of CPD. But the rest of the time, CPD happens more by osmosis.

Learn from other editors

Many of us work alone, and it can seem that we work in isolation. But just in the last week I have had two very positive experiences of learning from other editors in the course of my everyday work. One job involved a second proofread, and I was sent my first proofread to check against. The first proof set now also included marks made by the senior commissioning editor, who is obviously intimately acquainted with the series (this was my first book for the client, and it had quite a complicated set of features). I learned so much from being able to see which of my original corrections the editor had let stand, and which she had modified or stetted for the typesetter. Any subsequent books I proofread or edit for the client should be easier and more accurate as a result.

The other positive experience involved copy-editing in Word using a template made by a fellow SfEP member, supplied to me by the client (an educational publisher). The template was set up in such a way that using it enabled me to see at a glance exactly how long each of the lessons in the book was running – again, there were various features such as boxes which complicated matters – and cut accordingly. This saved me time, and led to a greater degree of accuracy – hopefully there will be no need to cut text at the proof stage as a result.

Read around the subject

One of the best things about our work can be the variety of materials and subjects we work on. Many a time I have found myself happily distracted by the subject matter of a book, and reading around it in my own time. Although this is essentially a pleasurable exercise, it can also be of direct benefit in terms of your work – next time you edit a book on the same subject, you will be much better informed.

Work in house

This kind of opportunity doesn’t come up every day, but it might – and if it does, be open to it. Working in a client’s office is a golden opportunity to pick up work tips. You’ll see directly how people tackle the kind of work you need to do, and you’ll be able to ask questions in real time. You’ll also make new contacts and cement existing ones. And as well as being a CPD injection, who knows where the experience could lead in terms of future projects?

Move outside your comfort zone

I’m not suggesting you take on work that you’re really not ready for or trained to do – that would be irresponsible. But if you are offered a job for which you tick most of the boxes, but that goes just beyond what you’ve done or experienced before, don’t instinctively turn it down – taking it on can be the best way of learning. If you will need to pick up a new skill to complete the job, there are plenty of people you can ask for advice along the way. Carry out your own research, ask editorial friends and colleagues, or try the SfEP forums or any other online group you are part of.

A job that requires a new way of working may take longer than you expect the first time you do it. Think of learning how to do something properly as an investment, though. Next time you’ll be much quicker.

Learn a skill not connected to editing

Not everything we do has to be about editing. Work can be all-consuming, especially for freelances and small-business owners, and it’s healthy to switch off from it for a while. You might take up a sport, or a musical instrument, or study another language. Getting away from the desk is a great way to relax, think about something else and develop a new area of expertise in the process. However, a positive side-effect may be that when you return to your desk, you are able to see the solution to a niggling problem more easily. And in the longer term, it’s sometimes possible to turn a seemingly non-editorial hobby – such as cooking or gardening – into an editorial specialism.

Harnessing everyday CPD

Ultimately, most of the things mentioned above will simply happen in the course of everyday life – editorial and otherwise. The trick is to recognise and acknowledge what is happening in order to make the most of it.

Photo on 28-05-2015 at 13.51 #2Posted by Liz Jones, SfEP marketing and PR director.

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

 

Specialist Q&A – medicolegal editing

Specialist Q&A graphicOur editorial industry is made up of people carrying out a huge range of tasks across many different sectors. Although we are bound by common aims – to make text consistent, accurate and clear – our chosen areas of work can differ in fascinating ways. 

Etty Payne is a freelance translator, proofreader and copy-editor. She has answered some questions on one of her specialisms: editing medicolegal reports.

1. Briefly, what’s your work background?

I have a degree in French and was an in-house translator for 16 years, much of that time at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Editing and proofreading was very much part of the translation work and I continued as a freelancer once we moved back to the UK.

2. How long have you specialised in this particular kind of editorial work, and how did you get started?

I’ve been doing medicolegal reports for nearly 4 years. I was already specialising in medical communications, nursing and healthcare and was approached by a medicolegal expert who wanted his reports proofread. I’ve since picked up several similar clients.

3. What specific knowledge, experience or qualifications do you need?

You need a lot of medical knowledge and some legal knowledge. I don’t have a degree in medicine but, for a number of reasons, I’ve done a huge amount of self-study in various fields of medicine, pretty much continuously since the age of 18.

Because these reports are often written at speed or transcribed from poor quality dictations, they can contain many mistakes, and yet clarity and accuracy are crucial. You need to be able to see at a glance whether or not names of drugs and diseases or anatomical and medical descriptions are correct. But at the same time, as the reports are written for readers who aren’t expected to have any medical knowledge, you have to be able to read them from their point of view and ensure that complex medical ideas and opinions are expressed in very clear, precise English.

A good understanding of the strict legal requirements and principles governing how these reports are written is also essential so that you can let the expert know if their report hasn’t followed the rules.

And, because some clients want their reports formatted from scratch, it definitely helps to be completely comfortable with the intricacies of Word.

4. How do you go about finding work in this area?

The first client found me, and since then it’s been via my website and word of mouth.

5. What do you most enjoy about the work?

I love checking facts and rewording for the non-medical reader. I also enjoy the variety the reports bring to my work: they range from 20 pages to 80 pages so can make a welcome break from a 400-page academic book.

6. What are the particular challenges?

The main challenge is the depth of work that needs to be done (all very accurately, obviously) with a quick turnaround because clients often want their reports instantly! I have a long checklist that I work through so even when reports are well written, there’s still an incompressible length of time required for each one.

7. What tips would you give to someone wanting to work in this field?

If you have the medical and legal background, then it’s the same as for any specialism: get yourself out there and tell the right people what you do and how you can help them.

8. What is the pay like?

The pay is usually better than for the big publishers, but, because of the detailed attention each report needs, I find it works out a little lower than the rates I usually earn for most business clients.

9. What other opportunities do you think editorial work in this area might lead to?

I’ve been asked to present a workshop on writing medicolegal reports at a conference of medicolegal experts. The thought is pretty daunting so I may offer instead to prepare a written document that experts could work from. Much less scary!

EttyEtty Payne (Elegant Words) is an Advanced Professional Member of the SfEP, specialising in international development, health/medical documents and anything to do with dogs and photography. She loves quizzes and generally finding answers to questions, but the question she finds hardest to answer is ‘Where are you from?’: she was born in Morocco with Venezuelan nationality, grew up in Brighton, went to university in Wales, got married in Norway, lived for many years in Paris, Strasbourg, Lisbon and Brussels and now lives in Hampshire.

You can find Etty on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Proofread by SfEP Entry-Level Member Karen Pickavance.

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

 

Ten tips for successful conference networking

meetingBy Mary McCauley

By this time last year I had already booked my flight to my first ever SfEP conference. I had been invited to present a seminar and I was absolutely petrified. I lay awake at night worrying; not only was I going to a conference in another country, I was also going to have to get up and speak in front of a room full of strangers. I knew just one other person attending … and I had only met her once before. What on earth had I let myself in for?

I needn’t have worried. I went to the 2014 conference, met lots of lovely people, made some fantastic new friends, learned an incredible amount (and not all of it during the workshops and seminars) and I thoroughly enjoyed and gained from the entire experience.

Networking, according to our friends in the Oxford English Dictionary, is to ‘interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts’. That’s the formal way of looking at it: I think of it as getting away from my desk, hanging out with my tribe, meeting and learning from interesting colleagues, making new likeminded friends and having fun. So whether you’re a conference regular or a nervous newbie (as I was), here are my ten tips for making the conference networking experience a more fruitful and enjoyable one.

Network online before you go

Joining pre-conference online discussions will make it easier to join real-life conversations come September! You can find out who’s going to the SfEP conference and get lots of advice and tips on all things conference related by joining the pre-conference chats on the SfEP forums. If you have a Facebook account make sure to join any relevant groups in which members are discussing the conference. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow the #sisfep15 tweets – better still, if you use the likes of Hootsuite or TweetDeck, you can set up a dedicated #sisfep15 stream.

If you’re normally a social media lurker rather than an active participant, then perhaps make a special effort to comment more in discussions. If you don’t already have a social media account, then I recommend you join Facebook as a starting point. It seems to be the social media hangout of choice for many editors internationally, and it’s a fantastic tool for meeting editorial colleagues and learning from others.

Use a recent photo of yourself in your social media profile

Many people have genuine concerns about identity theft and privacy when it comes to using an actual photo of themselves rather than a substitute/default image in online profiles. However, it makes it easier to approach colleagues at the conference if you recognise each other’s photos from social media. Try and use a photo that was taken in the past five years – one that reflects the way you look now. It’s easier to make conversation with a new colleague if they’re not completely distracted by the differences between the social media you and the real you!

Make a wish list

Before you head off to the conference (or, following onsite registration, when you get a list of the attendees) make a note of all the people you’d like to meet in person during the conference. This can include both speakers and attendees. Perhaps you’d like to meet an industry expert, training supplier or publisher’s representative; or it may be a colleague whose blog posts or social media comments you admire; or a member of the SfEP council or admin staff (don’t forget to put faces to the names of all the hard-working SfEP office team!). If there’s a helpful colleague whom you haven’t met in person, but who has referred clients to you or helped you in any way, it would be nice to meet them in person to thank them.

Feel the fear and … smile!

So you’ve come out of social media lurking mode and taken part in online discussions; you’ve bitten the bullet and posted a lovely recent photo of yourself on Facebook; and you’re walking in the door for registration on day one of the conference … but all you want to do is find a nice dark corner in which to hide. Just remember that even the most confident person in the room is probably feeling a bit apprehensive – it’s normal, but don’t let it hold you back from having a productive and enjoyable conference. Often what we project is reflected back to us, so a smile goes a long way. The knots in your stomach may not be conducive to smiling, but the more you do it the more you’ll relax, and the more approachable you’ll be.

Arrange to meet up

Adjusting to your surroundings in the first few hours of the conference, particularly if it’s your first, can make networking difficult. If possible, pre-arrange to meet up with a friend, or an online or local group colleague, before registration. Attending registration and the AGM with someone you know will ease you into networking mode – it’s easier to approach other people when you’re with someone. This is especially true if you wish to approach one of the more well-known presenters, guest speakers or panellists!

Be interested

How does one actually network? Well, for a start, try not to think of it as ‘networking’: approach it as mere friendly chatting with likeminded people with whom you share a love of words. Don’t be afraid to use small talk to get you started – where would we be without that wonderful fail-safe topic of conversation that is the weather? You could also comment on your surroundings, ask colleagues about their journey to the conference, where they travelled from, which sessions they’re most looking forward to, which type of editorial work they do, etc. – be interested in them and listen to what they have to say. You’ll find that most people will turn the tables and ask the same questions of you (‘And what about yourself?’), so think through in advance what you’d like to say about the type of work you do.

Help others

I attended non-editorial business conferences in my previous career and I’m amazed at the cultural differences between those and editorial conferences. Editorial folk are a naturally friendly and helpful bunch, happy to reach out to others. That wasn’t always my experience at business conferences! When you meet new people at the conference, be open to helping them – share your knowledge or experience, offer advice if you think it’ll be welcomed, or refer them to other resources or people you think may help them. People will do the same for you, and it’s in this sharing of experiences and knowledge that understanding is formed and connections are made.

Having been the billy-no-mates person at business conferences on a couple of occasions, I know what a dreadful feeling it is. So if you see someone walk in to the conference canteen alone with no obvious group to sit with, or standing alone during the coffee break, why not smile and invite them to join your group. Likewise, if you’re the one alone, don’t be afraid to approach a friendly looking group and simply say, ‘I’m by myself – do you mind if I join you?’

Don’t skip meals and coffee breaks

There may be times when you’ll feel like running back to your room for a quiet lie-down or to catch up on your emails, instead of facing the canteen or coffee stand. Try to fight that feeling and battle through! It’s not a long conference, and you can catch up when you get home (though I do recognise that for some of the more introverted, those quiet times alone are what get them through the entire conference).

In my experience, a lot of the nuts and bolts of networking happens during the meal and coffee breaks, drinks receptions, etc. It’s often during these that new friendships are formed, some of the most valuable discussions take place and ideas are shared – so mingle, mingle, mingle!

Carry business cards with you

While some people feel business cards are becoming obsolete, I believe they’re still a valuable networking tool. When you meet someone at the conference whom you find interesting and friendly, someone you’d like to connect with professionally or socially, then ask for their business card and offer yours in return. Try not to stick the card in your pocket or folder immediately; take a moment to look at the details on it and ask any questions you might have about the person’s work, etc. It may feel really awkward at first, but the more you offer your business card and ask for one, the easier it gets.

Follow up when you get home

There will probably be colleagues and speakers whom you would like to stay in contact with after the conference. When you get home dig out their business cards, or find their details on the lists in your conference pack, wait a day or two and then connect with them online through social media. LinkedIn is a good medium for the more professional-level connections, Facebook for the more friendly and sociable connections, while Twitter is a good catch-all tool. If the person in question doesn’t have a social media account, you could send a ‘lovely-to-meet-you-and-let’s-stay-in-touch’ email instead.

When sending a LinkedIn connection request, personalise the message and refer to your interaction at the conference. If you think you can be of help to the person, mention this in your message. During the conference, perhaps you’ll promise a colleague you’ll share something with them – a contract template, for example, or a link to a helpful blog post. If you do, ensure you follow up after the conference and send the promised item. Likewise, if someone promises you something similar but forgets to send it, don’t be afraid to connect online and follow up.

I found my editorial tribe online; meeting so many of them in person at the conference last year felt like returning home. The conference is a wonderful experience, and while networking online is great, networking in person is even better. Best of luck to all my colleagues heading to editorial conferences in the coming months. Unfortunately, I can’t attend this year but I’ll be with you in spirit (and via the conference Twitter hashtags)!

MaryBased in Wexford, Ireland, Mary McCauley is a freelance proofreader and copy-editor working with publishers, corporate clients and independent fiction authors. She is a professional member of the SfEP and a member of the Association of Freelance Editors, Proofreaders and Indexers (AFEPI) in Ireland. She helps run the AFEPI Twitter account and also blogs sporadically at Letters from an Irish Editor. Connect with Mary on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

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

Social media round-up – May 2015

SfEP logoIn case you missed them, here are ten of the most popular links shared across the SfEP’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) in May.

 

The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts (Facebook, 8 May)

Seven maps and charts, visualised by The Washington Post, that help you understand the diversity of the world in terms of languages.

Top 10 Coolest Bookshops in Britain (Facebook, 11 May)

Great independent bookshops from around the UK … with tantalising pictures for book lovers!

How to Preserve Voice (Twitter, 12 May)

Some interesting thoughts on preserving voice when editing, on the Copyediting blog.

The greatest wisdom from Roald Dahl books … (Facebook, 13 May)

Quotes from Roald Dahl’s fiction that still resonate today – advice on topics from keeping things fun to dealing with negative people.

6 punctuation marks you might be using incorrectly (Facebook, 14 May)

The OxfordWords blog takes a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks.

Make Professional Editing Work for You (Facebook, 18 May)

A post from The Writers Bloc on why you need a professional editor, why good editing costs so much, what to expect from your editor, and how to get your money’s worth.

The value of a light touch and other lessons from the Comma Queen (Facebook, 18 May)

Matthew Crowley reviews Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris on the ACES blog.

More pupils ‘reading for pleasure’ (Facebook, 21 May)

Some encouraging statistics on children’s reading habits, on the BBC website.

How I set up my Proofreading and Editing Business (Twitter, 21 May)

Editor Mary McCauley provides a checklist of the steps she took to establish her business.

12 nouns that are always plurals (Facebook, 25 May)

An OxfordWords post listing a selection of nouns that are always treated grammatically as plurals – aka pluralia tantum.

 

Posted by Liz Jones, SfEP marketing and PR director.

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

 

 

Know when to say no

NOWe’re in the business of saying yes … but just as important can be knowing when to say no – some projects may just be more trouble than they are worth. Here are some warning signs to look out for.

  • An unreasonably long test. You have to decide what you consider unreasonable, of course, and it may depend on how much you want the work, and how much work you stand to gain if you’re successful. Bear in mind too that taking a test can be a brilliant way in if you are starting out, as it effectively gets around the need for experience to prove yourself.
  • Refusal to stay within acceptable boundaries. Is the prospective client emailing you every half-hour with queries, or demanding instant answers? Do they telephone you outside normal working hours? This lack of regard for your time can signal a potentially problematic working relationship.
  • A large or complex project offered for a flat fee. We often hear that per-page or per-word rates are best because they reward efficient working practices. But be wary of taking on a long or very complicated job on this basis, unless you have worked on something similar for that client before. If you do proceed, aim to build in agreement from the start that the budget will need to be reviewed if the hours exceed a limit.
  • Unwillingness to discuss the budget. Refusal on the client’s part to commit to a figure, even when asked, is a bad sign. Negotiating can be difficult on both sides – but there still needs to be discussion and agreement about the cost before the job begins.
  • Refusal to agree project terms in writing. The contract for a project could take the form of an email or series of emails in which key details are agreed; it doesn’t have to be on paper, or even very formal. But you do need to have things pinned down; an agreement over the telephone or even in person won’t do, and you can’t refer back to it reliably.
  • Does the client fail to send the work on time, without warning or explanation? If so, don’t feel you have to accommodate this. You may choose to, of course – it’s not unusual for projects to run late, and being adaptable can work in your favour – but don’t be bullied into working to their schedule if they show no respect for yours.
  • A sense that the project, for whatever reason, is not right for you. Learn to trust your instincts – they are very often right.

It can take time to learn when to say no, and even after years as a freelance editor, it’s still possible to get it wrong sometimes. What factors would make you turn a project down?

Posted by Liz Jones, SfEP marketing and PR director.

Proofread by SfEP provisional intermediate member Gary Blogg.

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