Working Words

Elizabeth Manning Murphy (rev edn, Lacuna, 2019), 268pp, £19.95 (pbk)
ISBN 978 1 92 219836 5

Reviewed by Lindsey Thornitt

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I wish I had found this book earlier! Working Words by Elizabeth Manning Murphy is a highly engaging text that provides a comprehensive yet light-hearted view of what it means to be an editor, the steps it takes to become one and how to set up your business for success. She also discusses ethics and legal considerations for editors, project management, preparing quotes and responding to clients, how to incorporate an indemnity clause in a contract and home office set up. These are all things that are invaluable for people just starting out; I’ve never found so much useful information on starting an editing business in any other book, and that’s only the first 80 pages. The following chapters provide reviews of basic grammar, punctuation, style, plain English, editing for ESL writers and more. Each instruction is easily accessible and accompanied by readily transferable examples.

Murphy’s Working Words is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it for any new or intermediate editor venturing out on their own. The text is playful and engaging, and written in a conversational style that is never dry. Her Itchypencil moments are humorous and educational, offering a candid glimpse into the professional editor’s world, both behind the desk and out and about in everyday life. I plan on keeping this one within easy reach on my reference shelf.

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