An American Editor

September 13, 2013

Worth Noting: Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers

A few weeks ago, in Worth Noting: Proofreaders-to-be: Loving Books Isn’t Enough, I commented that Louise Harnby’s book, Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers: A Guide for New Starters, looked interesting and that I planned to check it out. I did and I want to report that this is an excellent basic guide to the business of freelancing.

(I suppose I should disclose that to my surprise, I am mentioned by name in the book in connection with my EditTools macro collection. However, I assure you that the mention is fleeting and not why I’m reviewing the book now.)

Harnby’s book begins with the basics and gives good advice. American readers should be aware that it is written from a British perspective, but the advice crosses all geographical boundaries and is as relevant and accurate in the United States and Spain as it is in England. As I have stated numerous times, business is business — the basics do not change.

It is the basics that Harnby addresses. Things like why a business plan is a good idea, why one should have a business name and a domain name, networking, finding clients, getting experience, and the myriad other things that new-to-the-business-of-freelancing people need to know.

The book is not detailed, which is a weakness, but then it is not intended to be more than an overview. It does act as a checklist and guide. I think even experienced freelancers who are struggling with the business aspects of freelancing would benefit from this book. Information about the book and how to order it are available at Harnby’s website: Louise Harnby Proofreader.

It is an inexpensive investment (£5.99/US$8.99), but one that could set you on the right path. I encourage you to checkout Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers: A Guide for New Starters by Louise Harnby.

August 23, 2013

Worth Noting: Proofreaders-to-be: Loving Books Isn’t Enough

Every so often I am asked what it takes to become a thriving editor. Often, I’m told “I could be an editor because I read so much!” My stock answer has always been, “No, reading books is great, but not enough for most people to become an accomplished editor.”

I always hedge the bet a little because I have never forgotten the movie I saw decades ago, called “The Great Impostor,” starring, if I recall correctly, Tony Curtis, which was based on the true story of a Canadian who became many things — including a Navy shipboard surgeon and a university professor — just by reading.

It has also been my experience that no matter what I would tell the inquirer, my advice was falling on deaf ears.

Louise Harnby, proofreader extraordinaire, faced a similar inquiry and wrote about it on her blog. Her article, Proofreaders-to-be: Loving Books Isn’t Enough, is excellent and should be read by everyone with an interest in becoming an editor or proofreader. It is comforting to know that I’m not the only one whose advice is sought and then ignored.

Louise has also written a book, Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers, that looks intriguing and has garnered very positive comments from colleagues I know and whose opinion I value. On that basis, I recommend taking a look at her book; I know I plan to. There is no such thing as knowing too much about one’s business.

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