Exploring Proof/Copy Editing-a couple questions

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Exploring Proof/Copy Editing-a couple questions

Postby sybilizedliving » Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:51 pm

Hi, I've been exploring the idea of doing proof editing/copy editing. I have the "For Dummies" book on the subject and have done internet research. I have a developing plan and have completed a 'bubble chart' outlining the areas I need to get further information about. My hope is to create a work-from-home business doing this. I'm an American living in Australia. My gut tells me the USA market is bigger/broader so that is where I should focus. I have a couple questions.... 1. Is proof/copy editing all done electronically now? The book I read talks about hard copy edits and learning the symbols, etc. I'm just curious whether this is actually done anymore? It's certainly not a hardship to learn the hardcopy way of proof/copy editing, but if it's not used any more, I don't want to spend the time learning it. 2. What software programs are typically used? Word? PDF? Others? I'm looking to develop an expertise in whatever is needed to successfully do this type of work. 3. Two specialties that I've considered are textbook editing or medical journal editing (I am a registered pharmacist). Does anyone have any experience they can share on either of these specialties? Where I would start to break into this area? 4. Does anyone have any favorite sites or favorite books they could recommend on proof/copy editing? Thanks in advance for any assistance answering these questions. Cheers!
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Re: Exploring Proof/Copy Editing-a couple questions

Postby mango » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:34 pm

Hi, I accidentally stumbled into an occasional subcontracting job through an ad on Craigslist, of all places. I edit scientific textbooks mostly. The person that I work for has the contract with the publisher. She receives most of her files electronically (from India, where they've been written) and edits using MS Word (English-writing Indians tend to use British spelling, and this needs to be corrected, in addition to the typical stuff). She has 4 levels of copyediting and charges differently for each level. I had no experience, but I took the test that she sent me electronically, and she was pleased with the results. I had also written and edited scientific articles (I'm a DVM), so that probably gave me an edge. My first project was an 1100 page medical textbook that had to be edited by hand. I looked the symbols up online. Every other project has been sent to me via e-mail, I edit in Word, and then e-mail it back. She also has very specific editing guidelines from her publisher that need to be followed. I wouldn't say that I'm very good at it, as I don't really have the interest or commitment to improving myself. I just used my basic grasp of the English language and her guidelines. May be why I haven't received a project in a while, but I just got my tax papers and made over $3000 on maybe 4 projects for her last year. Pay is good: between $1.50 and $3.00 per page, depending on which 'level' of copyediting. And that's the subcontracting rate: I'm sure she took a good cut. Good luck!
'Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how.
We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.'

-- Agnes de Mille
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Re: Exploring Proof/Copy Editing-a couple questions

Postby sybilizedliving » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:40 pm

Thanks Mango, I appreciate the information you've shared. I too thought with my background that scientific textbooks may be an option. I especially appreciate you sharing the cost per page information - it's sometimes so difficult to get specific numbers from people so you end up quoting blindly. Anyone else with ideas? I seem to recall someone, (I think it was DayOwl?) who did editing of medical journals?
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