Guides

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Written mainly by senior members of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, this growing series of practical booklets focuses on copy-editing, proofreading and related fields and on how to make a living from them.

The SfEP guides are intended for copy-editors and proofreaders, both practising and potential, and for others involved in publishing content in some way, including those working for companies and government agencies and departments.

Editing Fiction: A short introduction

Imogen Olsen

Cover of Editing Fiction

It's always been notoriously difficult for newcomers to break into the field of fiction editing. However, the recent massive growth in the creative writing industry, coupled with the fashion for self-publishing novels as e-books, has opened up new opportunities for freelance fiction editors.

This guide is aimed at both freelances who want to know more about traditional fiction publishing and those who'd like to take advantage of the growing market but know little about the techniques of editing fiction. It explains the difference between working for publishers and working for private clients, and examines the separate skills of manuscript assessment, structural editing and copy-editing. It concludes with an extensive list of resources for further study.

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Editing into Plain Language: Working for non-publishers

Sarah Carr

Cover of Editing into Plain Language

With increasing demands for clearer communication in both the public and the private sector, plain-language editing has much to offer non-publishers. Looking at key aspects of working as a freelance editor in this market, this guide will help:

  • editors to command good rates of pay and have the satisfaction of clarifying information intended for the general public
  • organisations to improve the clarity of their texts (both printed and electronic), and so increase their own efficiency and effectiveness
  • the public and other readers of such readable and more understandable texts to have more knowledge and power.

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Editor and Client: Building a professional relationship, 2nd edition

Anne Waddingham

Cover of Editor and Client

We all know that a 'professional' does it for money, but what a professional is and does goes much further than that. A true professional demonstrates skill and competence and is adept at building business relationships with clients that bring mutual benefits based on trust and respect.

Using case studies drawn from the experience of many editors, this concise guide aims to help freelances understand the needs of their clients, and to give clients a clear awareness of freelances' requirements to do a good professional job. The HMRC's employment guidelines are also examined, as client and freelance should be aware of common practices that may put at risk the freelance's self-employed status.

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Going Solo: Creating your freelance editorial business

Sue Littleford

Cover of Going Solo

Making the decision to go solo as a freelance proofreader or copy-editor is a big career step. This guide covers:

  • business basics – writing a business plan and starting to think about all the elements of your new business
  • knowledge – what you need to know about keeping up to date on editorial work and where to find out more
  • money – statutory requirements for income tax and national insurance, plus budgeting, record-keeping and invoicing
  • clients – where to find them, how to handle them
  • you – looking after yourself, managing your time and preparing for disaster recovery
  • resources – a wide range of resources for the new freelance proofreader and copy-editor.

Readers are guided through the decisions the new business owner has to make, the things they should be aware of and sources of support for their exciting new venture.

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Marketing Yourself: Strategies to promote your editorial business, 2nd edition

Sara Hulse

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Marketing Yourself (formerly Developing a Marketing Strategy) covers various strategies, including the importance of a professional business image. The guide stresses that we need to be looking ahead all the time, and seeking new avenues of work on a regular basis – not just waiting until we have no work to do.

There is advice on ways to market yourself – whether you're just starting out or have some experience and are looking to gain new clients. The guide points you in the right direction, and will inspire and encourage you to get out there and promote yourself and your editorial business.

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Pricing a Project: How to prepare a professional quotation

Melanie Thompson

Cover of Pricing a Project

Freelance editorial work is a professional service and no two projects are the same. Pricing up a project involves four main elements:

  • understanding what the particular job involves
  • knowing your own pace of work
  • knowing what can go wrong
  • knowing the market rate for the work.

Pricing a Project describes the quotation process, from taking a brief to agreeing terms and conditions. This practical guide comprises tips, checklists and worked examples to assist not only freelances but also clients who seek the services of editorial professionals.

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Theses and Dissertations: Checking the language

Pat Baxter

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Student theses and other dissertations, postgraduate essays and post-doctoral articles form a not inconsiderable portion of the work that many copy-editors and proofreaders do.

The subject areas of these academic texts range across all fields of study, and this rich cultural diversity offers scope for the development and edification of copy-editors and proofreaders themselves, as well as providing opportunities to broaden editorial experience.

This guide covers many aspects of this work, ranging from ethics to marketing, methodology and theory to practice, pros and cons to rewards and limitations. It also illustrates through directly referenced text the variations in content and style that might be encountered.

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Your House Style: Styling your words for maximum impact, 2nd edition

Christina Thomas

Cover of Your House Style

A badly presented document, publication or website loses credibility quickly when the reader is distracted by inconsistent spelling and usage and badly presented figures and measurements.

The cure? A well-thought-out editorial house style to guide everyone who works on a document, publication or website.

This guide outlines the value of a house style and reveals how to go about constructing such guidance if you don't already have it. It will alert you to the many ways in which content, whether printed or online, can disappoint, simply through inconsistent usage or presentation.

Working through this will help you identify weaknesses in your written content and enable you to devise a style guide that can be used by everyone concerned to iron them out.

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