Three Reasons why you MUST have a Copyeditor

Three Reasons why you MUST have a Copyeditor

The inspiration for this post came, in two ways, from someone who describes himself as  ‘a happy customer’.

Jonny Elwyn is a freelance video editor and (full disclosure here) a friend. Shortly before Christmas he contacted me about a new project he’d been working on – an ebook called How to be a Freelance Creative. At first he just asked if I could have a look, if I had a minute, and give him some feedback. It was a crazy time, and I just didn’t have a chance. A couple of weeks later, though, he came back to me with a different question – what would it take for me to edit the book for him? What were my rates, and what would I bring to the project?

As we emailed back and forth, it became clear that he knew he needed something, but wasn’t quite sure what, or whether I would be worth the investment. After all, this was his first foray into writing, and he had (has) no idea whether or not the book will sell, so any extra outlay is something of a gamble.

Thankfully, because he had spotted a few typos himself already, he decided to take the plunge and commissioned me to do a thorough proofread and copyedit.

It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable projects I worked on last year. Jonny has a naturally engaging style, and drew on his eight years of experience and extensive reading to create a guide which is knowledgeable and accessible, and packed with really helpful pointers for anyone in or contemplating a freelance career in any creative field. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and learned a lot along the way.

Then came the moment of truth – sending the heavily-marked-up document back to its nervous author. Would he be daunted by the sheer number of corrections, comments and suggestions? Would he feel that I had added value or that I had imposed too much of my style and opinions onto his piece of work?

He couldn’t have been more pleased. He agreed immediately with the big, substantive points I had made, such as restructuring the heading styles and a fairly heavy rewrite of the introduction, and emailed back a few times as he worked through all the smaller changes to say how helpful he was finding them.

He also offered me some suggestions for how to develop my business, by using this website to share resources that help people both know what to expect from a copyeditor, and make the most of the service they’re paying for.

Look out for some fact-sheets coming soon, but first, to the title – why do you need a copyeditor anyway? If you’re writing anything of any size and substance that you want to be taken seriously, I can’t improve on Jonny’s reasons:

1. They will make your work better;

2. You will know the work is better;

3. You will feel much more confident sharing it as a result.

Thanks Jonny, it’s great to have this kind of positive feedback from a client, and you should definitely feel confident in your book.

Anyone who is, or is thinking of becoming, a freelance creative should definitely check out Jonny’s book – as his website says, it contains “Basically, everything I wish I’d known when I started”. And anyone who is, or is thinking of, writing something for publication, should definitely contact me and see how I can help.

I look forward to chatting to you.

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