Whatever stage your project is at, I can help you get it to the finishing point.
Do you have an idea of what you want it to be but haven’t started yet and need advice on structure or process? You might be looking for project management.
Do you have a first draft that needs shaping or a thorough edit? A copy-edit is what you need.
Is your text soon to go to print but in need of one last checking over? It’s ready for a proofread.
I am also a writer and copywriter, and have worked with governmental bodies (such as Irish Revenue) to convert complicated text into Plain English. Contact me to find out more.
Your institution – a corporation, a governmental bodiy, a charity, an educational institution or a museum, perhaps – has a message it would like to get across to a certain set of readers. You might be working on a campaign that you’d like to turn into a book to present to potential clients. Maybe it’s a history of the institution itself. You might have an author in mind, or a group of authors. Perhaps you’d like to include images in your publication and need to know how to go about it. Most of all you are unsure exactly how you’re going to bring all these elements together. This is where a project manager steps in; they will look at the materials available and advise on the best way to turn this into a final product – on time and on budget.
What is involved in project management?
It all depends on what you have and what you want. Here are a few of the tasks that a project manager might carry out:
Running the schedule. The project manager will work backwards from your deadline to set a schedule that maps out the dates by which specific tasks need to be finished, as well as the key people who will be carrying out those tasks.
Creating, forming and shaping text. A project manager will help create a structure for your text in order to ensure maximum clarity and impact of message. This might involve coordinating authors to write new text or taking text that already exists and shaping it into the most effective form.
Organising and selecting imagery. This can include choosing and briefing photographers for specific events or selecting existing imagery from archives and image libraries for contextual purposes, as well as writing corresponding captions. They may also be in charge of obtaining licensing for images.
Overseeing copy-editing, proofreading and approval. The project manager will be the main liaison between you and those charged with working on the text, i.e. the authors, copy-editors, proofreaders and indexers (unless they are doing one or all of these tasks themselves). It will be their job to ensure that you approve of the work done at every stage.
Please contact me to discuss any of the above.
What is copy-editing?
Generally speaking, if you have a first draft of a text that you are mostly happy with but that you feel needs a once-over before proceeding to the next step – to a publisher, printer or professor – then you are looking for a copy-edit.
As the Society for Editors and Proofreaders puts it, ‘The aim of copy-editing is to ensure that whatever appears in public is accurate, easy to follow, fit for purpose and free of error, omission, inconsistency and repetition. This process picks up embarrassing mistakes, ambiguities and anomalies, alerts the client to possible legal problems and analyses the document structure for the typesetter/designer.’
More prosaically, your copy-editor is your first reader, your first critic and your first line of defence. Your copy-editor will save you time, stress and money by making sure that your text is its most perfect self before reaching the state at which it is much more difficult (if not impossible) to change.
What will you do specifically?
Editorial style guide. Consistency is key. If you already have a list of style preferences for spelling (e.g. European English rather than US English), capitalisation, punctuation, etc., then I will ensure that the text is in alignment with this style. If you don’t then I will work with you to create a style guide to be implemented.
Sentence structure and internal logic. Aside from fixing typos and other grammatical errors, I will make sure the text is well organised and that the ideas presented are clear and flow freely.
Fact-checking. You will of course be the expert when it comes to your project, but I will be looking to see that you’re getting the details right: the dates, the titles, the foreign-language accents. Any queries I have will be flagged for your attention.
Clear, straight-forward feedback. Every project is different and I will adapt to your specific needs. Copy-editing feedback will most often take the form of a Word document with changes tracked so that you can see each and every change. Passages of text for which I have more specific questions or issues will be flagged as a comment within the file.
How can copy-editing save me money?
Costs incurred in having your project copy-edited pale in comparison to the unsavoury problems you might encounter if you skip this step. It is much easier to address issues with the text – such as inconsistencies in style and grammatical, logical or structural problems – before it reaches the proof stage (i.e. after a designer has set the text). And fixing larger textual problems after the design has been set also raises the risk that new errors will be inserted that may make it all the way to the printers – a potentially costly mistake if the error is large enough to necessitate a reprint.
For more information on what copy-editors do, see the Society for Editors and Proofreaders website.
What is proofreading?
If the copy-edit is your first line of defence, the proofread is your last. Your proofreader is there to make sure those potentially embarrassing mistakes don’t make it through. They are there to check that the text is consistent with your editorial style guide (see copy-edit).
If your project contains images, captions and cross-references, these will also be checked by your proofreader, along with running heads, page numbers (known in the publishing industry as folios) and any other design elements, to see that they make sense and are in print-worthy order.
For more information on what proofreaders do, see the Society for Editors and Proofreaders website.