Being a freelance communicator is a challenge these days—well, it always has been, but the publishing is changing so much that it’s especially so now. One way of responding to the challenge is to get as much information as possible about how to cope. And do I have a resource for you for doing just that (disclaimer: I’m involved with this): The Business of Editing: Effective and Efficient Ways to Think, Work, and Prosper by Richard Adin, edited and with a foreword and introductions by yours truly and Jack M. Lyon, with an index by Sue Nedrow.
If you aren’t familiar with their names, Rich Adin writes the An American Editor blog, which is worth subscribing to in and of itself, and also has created a sophisticated style sheet and macros that colleagues might find useful in ensuring consistency and accuracy at http://www.wordsnsync.com/edittools.php. They’re way over my head, but can be valuable tools, especially for anyone who does large editing projects, and even more especially in the medical field. Jack Lyon owns the Editorium, which provides a variety of macros and other useful tools for working more efficiently—and the more efficiently we can work, the more we can earn! Jack is also the author of two books that are well worth having: Microsoft Word for Publishing Professionals and Macro Cookbook for Microsoft Word. (Another useful tool for improving accuracy and consistency, by the way, is Daniel Heuman’s PerfectIt.)
Working on this book was a fascinating collaborative experience. Editing an editing colleague would be a daunting responsibility no matter what, and working with renowned colleagues at the top of our profession was even more so. Part of me was terrified at the very thought, but most of me was excited about being part of such a project. And it was great. We had good-spirited conversations about several suggested changes, and I learned a few new angles on usage and grammar that I hadn’t encountered before.
You may not agree with everything that the author says—for instance, Rich and I have agreed to disagree that the only way to survive as a freelancer is to be a company that can do huge publishing projects and hires or subcontracts to other editors, and I have an essay in the book espousing my opposing opinion—but you can’t argue with his points about taking a business-like approach to your technical communication business. And you don’t have to be an editor for much of the advice in this book to be useful.
For full details about The Business of Editing, a downloadable sample, and ordering info click here. Hie thee to the site so you can celebrate the holidays by giving yourself—or a friend—these valuable insights into making a freelance communications business more successful and profitable in the new year!
Ruth E. Thaler-Carter is an award-winning, long-time freelance writer/editor, presenter at STC local and national conferences, and owner of Communication Central, which hosts an annual conference for freelancers every fall.