Guides

Page owner: Information director

Our guides provide a basic introduction to the various skills and knowledge needed to work as an editorial professional. They are intended for copyeditors and proofreaders, both practising and potential, and will also prove useful to others involved in publishing content, including businesses, organisations, agencies, students and authors. The guides are written by experienced editors, who are usually members of the CIEP. Publications in the series focus on the core skills of copyediting and proofreading, related areas such as project management, and practical advice on setting up and running an editorial business or working in-house. The guides provide only a taster of the skills and knowledge needed. We encourage you, once you have read a guide, to undertake relevant training with the CIEP, or another reputable provider such as the Publishing Training Centre (PTC), which will cover these subjects in much greater depth.

PLEASE NOTE: In the current difficult circumstances we are unable to send orders of hard-copy guides. The wellbeing of our staff is paramount, and we have asked them to work from home. Please bear with us, and enjoy the PDF versions in the meantime.

The guides are well written with common sense and offer invaluable advice.

Annie Deakins, proofreader

Editing into Plain English

Luke Finley, Laura Ripper and Sarah Carr

Cover of Editing into Plain English

With increasing demands for clearer communication in the public and private sectors, plain-English editing has much to offer. Looking at key aspects of working as a freelance editor for this market, this guide will:

  • introduce the concept of plain English and techniques for plain-English editing
  • help you to identify the market for plain-English skills
  • help you to find work in this field.

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Editor and Client: Building a professional relationship

Anne Waddingham

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We all know that a 'professional' does it for money, but what a professional is and does goes much further than that. A true professional demonstrates skill and competence and is adept at building business relationships with clients that bring mutual benefits based on trust and respect.

Using case studies drawn from the experience of many editors, this concise guide aims to help freelancers understand the needs of their clients, and to give clients a clear awareness of freelancers' requirements to do a good professional job. The HMRC's employment guidelines are also examined, as client and freelancer should be aware of common practices that may put at risk the freelancer's self-employed status.

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Editorial Project Management

Abi Saffrey

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Editorial project managers make publications happen, taking raw content through quality control and design processes to produce a finished product. This guide outlines the key concepts of editorial project management, including briefing, scheduling and budgeting. It highlights the importance of communication, and other soft skills, in guiding a project through its production while meeting stakeholders’ requirements and getting the best out of suppliers. This guide is for you if:

  • you want to know what editorial project management is
  • you are thinking about adding editorial project management to your skillset
  • you are considering taking on editorial project management responsibilities.

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Getting Started in Fiction Editing

Katherine Trail

Cover of Getting Started in Fiction Editing

Fiction editing is an increasingly popular field, but one that can be daunting to a new editor or even an experienced editor who has only ever worked on non‑fiction. This guide is aimed at copyeditors, whatever their experience, who want to know more about the nuts and bolts of fiction editing. It will also be useful to those who proofread fiction, to help understand what the editor should have considered.

The guide explains how to work with both publishers and independent authors and examines how their needs might differ. It also explores the various types of editing that a fiction manuscript might need, as well as what editors need to be aware of, such as continuity, the importance of style sheets and the risks of over-correction. The guide concludes with a list of resources for further reading and a glossary of fiction terms.

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Going Solo: Creating your freelance editorial business

Sue Littleford

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Making the decision to go solo as a freelance proofreader or copyeditor is a big career step. This guide covers:

  • business basics – writing a business plan and starting to think about all the elements of your new business
  • knowledge – what you need to know about keeping up to date on editorial work and where to find out more
  • money – statutory requirements for income tax and national insurance, plus budgeting, record-keeping and invoicing
  • clients – where to find them, how to handle them
  • you – looking after yourself, managing your time and preparing for disaster recovery
  • resources – a wide range of resources for the new freelance proofreader and copyeditor.

Readers are guided through the decisions the new business owner has to make, the things they should be aware of and sources of support for their exciting new venture.

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Going Solo is very good, and I'd strongly recommend it to anyone thinking of setting up as a freelancer. It covers all the essential things with impressive clarity, but without going into information overload, it's got a great resources section, and it manages to balance positivity with sensible realism.

Stephen Pigney, editor and proofreader

Marketing Yourself: Strategies to promote your editorial business

Sara Hulse

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Marketing Yourself (formerly Developing a Marketing Strategy) covers various strategies for promoting an editorial business, including the importance of a professional business image. It stresses that editors need to be looking ahead all the time and seeking new avenues of work on a regular basis – not just waiting until there is no work to do.

There is advice on ways to market yourself – whether you're just starting out or have some experience and are looking to gain new clients. The guide points you in the right direction, and it will inspire and encourage you to get out there and promote yourself and your editorial business.

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Pricing a Project: How to prepare a professional quotation

Melanie Thompson

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Freelance editorial work is a professional service and no two projects are the same. Pricing up a project involves four main elements:

  • understanding what the particular job involves
  • knowing your own pace of work
  • knowing what can go wrong
  • knowing the market rate for the work.

Pricing a Project describes the quotation process, from taking a brief to agreeing terms and conditions. This practical guide comprises tips, checklists and worked examples to assist not only freelancers but also clients who seek the services of editorial professionals.

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When I was first starting out I purchased the SfEP guide to Pricing a Project. It was so packed full of information and advice that it gave me the confidence I needed when handling those first few quotes.

Sarah Dronfield, proofreader

Proofreading Theses and Dissertations

Stephen Cashmore

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Proofreading Theses and Dissertations introduces some of the basic principles of proofreading academic texts. In many respects, the work required is the same as for any other proofread – you check for errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and consistency – but it is complicated by the fact that the thesis or dissertation must be the student's own work.

The guide explores the nature of this type of proofreading as well as the practicalities of how to get work, calculating fees and negotiating with students. It then deals with potentially thorny ethical issues such as what to do with possible plagiarism and how much to query, intervene in or change the student's writing.

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Your House Style: Styling your words for maximum impact

Christina Thomas with Abi Saffrey

Cover of Your House Style

A badly presented document, publication or website loses credibility quickly when the reader is distracted by inconsistent spelling and usage and badly presented figures and measurements. The cure? A well-thought-out editorial house style to guide everyone who works on a document, publication or website. This guide outlines the value of a house style and reveals how to go about constructing such guidance if one doesn't already exist. It will alert you to the many ways in which content, whether printed or online, can disappoint, simply through inconsistent usage or presentation. Working through this will help you identify weaknesses in written content and enable you to devise a style guide that can be used by everyone concerned to iron them out. It's also an indispensable quick guide for editors and proofreaders who need to apply or devise house style.

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