Meeting Notes – July 13, 2017

Attendance

  • Brian Buckley (Coordinator)
  • Julia Phelps
  • Rita Ray (EFA member in Ohio; had not formally joined chapter at this time)

Time

6:00 – 7:10 p.m.

Format

Virtual. Phone conference via FreeConferenceCall.com.

Opening comments

Introductions

  • Brian Buckley — Copyeditor in Toledo area, freelancing for about two years.
  • Julia Phelps — Dayton area, specializes in science & engineering copyediting, has been busy lately.
  • Rita Ray — Joined EFA late last year, new to freelance editing. Lives in Toledo area. Has a degree in creative writing from the University of Toledo.

Brief outline of the EFA as an organization, EFA membership benefits, and Ohio chapter goals.

Chapter news

Two new chapter members:

  • Robyne Rahim
  • Ruth Sternberg

Julia asked whether there has been any push to move from the EFA’s national Yahoo forums to the new Vanilla forums. Forums are up and running but do not seem to be widely used yet. They are still somewhat in a testing phase. We had some discussion on how the Vanilla forums use subforums, threads, and posts. Also some discussion about Yahoo groups and receiving the emails from them.

Main discussion

Rita asked for advice on starting out as a new freelancer. She also pointed us to her website, which she built with Zoho. Brian suggested that, when you’re relatively inexperienced, it’s best to focus on the strengths you do have (e.g., any training or certifications, professional memberships such as EFA and ACES). He also recommended being willing to do sample edits and take editing tests for free, while acknowledging that not all editors will agree with that advice.

Rita asked about how to find clients. Brian recommended an approach he’s found useful: Cold-emailing small publishers and indie authors and offering services. Of course, potential clients should be carefully chosen, and emails carefully written, so as to avoid spamming. Julia said she gets most of her job offers from clients via her EFA profile, and recommended that Rita set hers up. Julia added that she has found a niche in science and journal work, and that her copyediting degree from the University of San Diego certainly helps.

Rita asked about the San Diego degree. Julia said she would recommend it, that it was a good value ($1,200 when she took it, though it may be more now). She added that it was not self-paced — there is a definite schedule.

Brian mentioned that, when he first started out, training was half about learning skills and half about building confidence in existing skills (i.e., “I really do know this stuff!”). He also recommended writing one’s website content and emails with a focus on the client, rather than oneself: “Here’s what I can do for you,” rather than “Here are the skills I have.”

Rita mentioned that editing classes and LinkedIn are both good ways to make new contacts.

Brian said that it can also be helpful to ask current and former clients for testimonials.

Rita signed off at this point, saying that the meeting had been very helpful to her.

Brian and Julia discussed some of the finer points of editing academic papers. Brian said he’s looking for a way to search the web for a precise, specific string (using quotation marks in Google doesn’t do it), and Julia said she didn’t know of a way to do that either. Julia said she’s looking for a way to “write” on PDFs (i.e., with a stylus and touchscreen) for proofreading purposes, and Brian didn’t know of a way to do that. Julia mentioned Astropad as something that might be worth looking into.

Some discussion of how to know when you’re over-editing, when it’s time to stop and just say no to the perfectionist voice inside. Julia said that good communication with the client was a good way to answer this question.

Julia and Brian signed off.

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