Why did you choose an editorial career, and how did you get into it?
As a classicist in a former life I have been translating academic work from German into English on and off for ten years. I really enjoy it and considered going freelance.
A friend of a friend who is a member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) suggested adding proofreading to my portfolio. It looked like a good fit since I'm well trained on grammar and always correct spelling mistakes in books I read.
Taking the SfEP proofreading taster test reassured me that it was something to pursue; I went as a visitor to my local Oxford Group meeting and then joined the Society.
What training have you done to get your editorial career up and running?
I initially signed up for the Proofreading Progress course online – a really comprehensive set of training with very helpful feedback from a tutor. I am now following this up with the equivalent copy-editing course, to add to previous experience, both as an academic and in policy and marketing roles.
Attending the 2015 SfEP Conference in York meant I learned a lot, from workshops, presentations and of course talking to other SfEP members. Not to forget the nuggets of wisdom I pick up by following the SfEP online forums!
What work are you most proud of?
It's early days but passing the proofreading test set by one of the major academic publishers felt like a real achievement. I got detailed positive feedback which was lovely, and it was the first big job I did using the BSI stamps by Louise Harnby to mark up straight on PDF.
What do you do if you're struggling on a job?
Check the SfEP forums for advice and just to see that I'm not on my own! And ensure I have a stash of chocolate ready, of course.
What does being a member of the SfEP mean to you?
As a relative newcomer, it gives me confidence as well as support – I know my training has been to a high standard, there is guidance on best practice and fair rates for the job. It means I'm part of a group of people who care about good writing and are always happy to share their insights and experience.
Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?
I find moving the occasional sentence or paragraph to make an argument flow better surprisingly satisfying. And I get a real buzz out of spotting small design errors when proofreading, like a changed leading or increased indent.
Do you have any editorial pet hates?
Pronouns that leave you guessing who or what is being referred to. And incorrect apostrophes!
What has most surprised you about your editorial career?
How much I like it, and how helpful people are in sharing tips and tools.
What's the best career advice you've received?
Go with what you care about and really enjoy doing.
What advice do you have for people starting out on an editorial career?
A background in publishing does help, to understand where your work fits in and to give you useful contacts. Being able to work confidently in a digital environment is also important.
Do you ever stop editing?
Actually, I do – especially when drawing, etching or visiting places.
Finally, tell us one thing about you not related to editing
The SfEP does not give any special endorsement to the members who appear in Meet our members. If you are looking for an editorial professional, we recommend you search the Directory of Editorial Services.