Q&A: Where can you find and engage a professional copy or content editor?

You can find quite a choice by searching online. The trick is to know who is good, and are their charges reasonable.

To find out who is good, prepare a sample text of a page or two and send it out to a shortlist of likely candidates to edit.

Most good and busy copyeditors may refuse to do this on spec, so be prepared to offer to pay—it may cost you a bit, but if you need a copyeditor on a regular basis, or for an important book, it’s worth the investment.

However, I routinely do such on-spec editing when preparing cost estimates for new clients, because unlike many editors, I charge on a sliding scale, based on the amount of changes done to the text (since it stands to reason and is only fair that someone whose text is well-written should pay less than someone whose text needs a lot of work). It also makes my charging calculation transparent, so the client knows that I’m not plucking the word rate out of the air:

Continue reading


Q&A: How do you do a proper citation in a research paper?

Microsoft Word is your friend in this regard—it will help you generate the appropriate way of citing in the text, or generate References or Bibliography lists at the end. (The following instructions pertain to MS Word Mac 2011, but should be broadly relevant to all modern versions of the program:)

Continue reading

Are there particular fonts that are the best to write essays with, or make the people who mark it think more highly of it?

(My answer to this question at Quora.com)

Many schools and publications explicitly specify that Times New Roman is the font to use. However, if you do have a choice Georgia is a superior alternative—less dense, and more readable.
But my favourite, by far, if you have it, is Cambria. Just a pleasure to read, so likely to make your assessor more favourably inclined towards your work.


Calculating the appropriate charge for editing jobs

It stands to reason that the rate for editing a text should be less than the rate for translating it from one language to another.
It also stands to reason that the rate for editing a text that requires little editing should be less than that for a text that requires a great deal.
That much is clear. However, determining the precise rate that is appropriate in each case used to be a matter of subjective assessment on my part—which is not an accurate method, and does not reveal to the client how I reached that conclusion.
So for several months, I looked for an objective means of calculating my rate for copy editing, based on an accurate measurement of the amount of editing required for any given text.
Finally, I found it.