Archive for April, 2019

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Word: Find a word surrounded by tags and make it bold

April 28, 2019

In a comment for this post (https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/word-replace-and-reformat-text-inside-square-brackets-using-wildcards/), Christopher asked how to replace a term surrounded by tags (e.g. [b]Whistle[/b]) so that the tags (the [b] and [/b] bits) are removed, the word is made bold, and a dash is added after the word (I’ve assumed an en dash).

Again, find and replace with wildcards come to the rescue. NOTE: The steps below will only replace single words, not two or more words within the tags.

  1. Press Ctrl+h to open the Find and Replace dialog.
  2. In the Find field, type: (\[b\])(<*>)(\[\/b\]) (it’s probably best to copy this as it’s easy to mistype it)
  3. In the Replace field, type: \2 ^= (Note: There are two spaces you need to type here: between the 2 and the ^, and after the =)
  4. While your cursor is in the Replace field, click Format, then Font, and choose Bold.
  5. Click Find Next. Assuming the word and its marks are selected correctly, click Replace.
  6. Repeat Step 5 until you’ve done them all. If you are confident you won’t break anything, click Replace All.

What this all means:

  • In the first Find element (surrounded by parentheses), you have to ‘escape’ the square brackets as they are special characters in a wildcard search. The escape character is \ and you have two square brackets, so therefore you have to type: (\[b\]) 
  • In the second Find element (surround by parentheses), < means the beginning of a word and > means the end of a word, with * representing any and all characters in that word. This is a single whole word only.
  • Just like in the first element, you have to escape the special characters in the third Find element with \. There are three of them to escape this time—two square brackets and a forward slash.
  • In the Replace, the \2 represents the second element (i.e. just the single word), which you’re replacing with itself. Next, there’s a space, followed by ^= which represents an en dash, followed by another space.
  • Finally (Step 4 above), you need to tell Word to bold the item you’re replacing.

Notes:

  • Depending on how the original words and tags were spaced, you may end up with two spaces after the en dash—a simple find for two spaces and replace with one space will sort those out.
  • Any words that have a space (or other non-letter character) immediately after the [b] tag or before the [/b] tag probably won’t be changed.
  • This only works for single words. If you have more than one word, you’ll either need a different find/replace, or, if there’s only a few, you can search for them after running this and fix them manually.

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Word: Webinar for Editors Canada

April 23, 2019

I’m doing a 90-minute webinar on Microsoft Word for Editors Canada on Wednesday this week. It’ll be at midnight my time, but between 9am and noon in the Americas, and late afternoon in Europe. You can register here: http://training.editors.ca/upcoming_webinar/save-time-and-your-sanity-increase-your-efficiency-with-microsoft-word-for-windows/

Even if you can’t attend, you can still register and get the recording, the slides, and the handouts afterwards.

Update: The webinar organiser ran two quick polls for me during the session—one about which version of Word attendees were using, the other about how involved they were in formatting Word documents for their clients. If I get screenshots or official results of these polls, I’ll post them here, but here’s what I remember:

  • ~90% of attendees were using Word 2010 to 2016 for Windows; ~10% were using Word for Mac. Interestingly, Microsoft touts that about 80% of Word users are now using Office 365, but that these results certainly don’t confirm that claim. Of course, Microsoft may not have polled heavy users of Word, such as editors, where I think they would get a very different result than what they claim for ALL Office users.
  • More than 50% of attendees were involved with formatting Word documents ‘often’ or ‘always’, about 30% ‘sometimes’, with only 15% saying ‘rarely’ and no-one stating ‘never’. However, these results could be skewed—the promotional information for the webinar mentioned that formatting would be one of the focus areas, so it’s possible those not involved in formatting may have chosen not to register.
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Word: Find multiple manually entered numbers and delete

April 22, 2019

I copied a very long manually numbered list (more than 300 numbered list items) from the internet into Notepad (to strip out the formatting), then into a Word document. Unfortunately, the numbers remained, and applying Word’s numbering didn’t get rid of them. What to do? Use Word’s Find and Replace with wildcards, of course!

My aim was to delete all the numbers and the space, en dash, space following each number, to end up with a list I could apply Word’s auto numbering to.

Here’s how I did it (NOTE: If you’re doing something similar, work on a COPY of your document first to make sure this works as you want it to):

  1. Open the Find and Replace dialog box (Ctrl+h).
  2. Click More.
  3. Select the Use Wildcards checkbox.
  4. In the Find what field, type: (<[0-9]@>)( – )
  5. Leave the Replace with field empty.
  6. Click Replace All.

Voilà! Almost all the numbers were gone, except for a few that used hyphens instead of en dashes or that didn’t have a space before or after the en dash, but I spotted these easily and fixed them manually.

How this works:

  • The first element (in the first set of parentheses) comprises several parts:
    • < and > indicate the beginning and end of a ‘word’, respectively
    • [0-9] indicates any number in the range from 0 to 9, and with the < in front of it, any ‘word’ that starts with a numeral
    • @ says to look for whatever immediately preceded this symbol as many times as required (i.e. a number from 0 to 9) until you reach the end of word marker (in other words, a whole number of any length)
  • The second element (second set of parentheses) looks for a space, en dash, space immediately following the number found in the first element
  • By leaving Replace with empty, you’re replacing whatever was found that matched the Find with nothing—in other words, you’re deleting whatever was found.

 

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Word: Delete, add, or change author name

April 6, 2019

When you create a document in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, the user name you entered on File > Options > General tab is automatically added as the author name. In most cases, you want this. But what if you don’t? What if the author name is the name of the person who created the template you’re using? Or is the original creator of the document you’re modifying who left the organisation long ago? What if you want to remove that name altogether and add your own name (or some other name) as the author?

(NOTE: Be careful when changing the author name that you don’t break any copyright laws—these laws vary from country to country, but essentially, the author of a document is likely the copyright owner of that document, except perhaps in cases of ‘work for hire’ where the organisation owns the copyright. If in doubt, speak to a lawyer or the organisation’s Legal Department.)

This information applies from Word for Windows 2010 and later.

How to delete an author name in an Office document (Word, PowerPoint, or Excel)

  1. Open the document.
    NOTE: If you want to change the author name in a template, right-click on the template, and select Open to open the template. Do not double-click the template to open it as it will only open a document based on the template, not the template itself.
  2. Go to File > Info.
  3. Right click on the author’s name.
  4. Select Remove Person.

How to add an author name in an Office document (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)

  1. Open the document.
  2. Go to File > Info.
  3. Click Add an author.
  4. Type in the new name, or click the book icon to select it from your Contacts list.

How to change your name for future Office documents (Word, PowerPoint, Excel)

  1. Open a document.
  2. Go to the File > Options > General tab.
  3. Change your name in the User name field.
  4. Optional: Change your initials too.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Close the document.
  7. Check that the new name is applied to a new document—create a new blank document (not based on a template), then check the User name property under File > Options > General tab, and that it’s used as the author name when you go to File > Info.

 

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ACES Conference 2019: Providence, Rhode Island

April 1, 2019

I’ve just finished attending the ACES Conference in Providence (ACES was previously known as the American Copy Editors Association; now it’s ACES: The Society for Editors). This was my fifth ACES conference and it was the biggest yet. The 2018 record of 710 attendees in Chicago was broken with an increase of 16%, taking the registered attendees in 2019 to 827!

The conference was held at the Omni Providence Hotel, on the edge of downtown Providence and right next door to the convention centre. The rooms were standard hotel rooms for a hotel of this star rating, so nothing much to say about those. The lobby was easy to find as were the conference rooms (unlike in Chicago in 2018). And the conference rooms were set up well for a conference of this nature—the audio worked well, the presentations were projected on the screens without any glitches, and there were no impediments to seeing the presenters (except for the panel discussions where the participants were seated at a table at floor level, not on a dais).

The program was extensive, and the sessions I attended were excellent. Between five and eight concurrent sessions were scheduled for each time slot (typically seven or eight), so it was impossible to go to them all. There was a 30-minute break between sessions, with a long lunch break, which gave you enough time to visit the bathroom, grab a coffee, check out the vendor booths, and get to your next session. As a presenter, that 30 minutes was perfect for making sure the previous presenter had vacated the room, and give you unpressured time to set up for your session.

All the comments and notes below are my own and do not represent anybody else. Naturally, I only reported on the sessions I attended.

Freelancers Happy Hour

This was held the evening before the conference started and was not an official ACES event. It was sponsored by some small copyediting businesses and was held at a bar a couple of blocks from the hotel. The food was good (free food, cash bar), the company was good, and the room was LOUD. I left after about an hour because I thought I’d lose my voice trying to maintain a conversation at that noise level, and with my presentation scheduled for early the next day I wasn’t going to jeopardise my voice. Unfortunately, this year the Freelancers Happy Hour clashed with the ACES Spelling Bee, which was on at the same time. In previous years, the spelling bee has been held on another night, and not at the same time as the freelancers’ thing, so I’m sure many people were torn as to which one they’d go to.

Day 1

After the opening session, the first sessions of the conference started. My 10:30am session on Microsoft Word clashed with another session I really wanted to go to (Samantha Enslen’s session on editing for readability, which I missed last year because of the lack of microphone in a big room), but as I was speaking at the same time, it was impossible to attend hers. This year, the session times were cut to 60 minutes (from 90 and then 75 minutes in previous years), so I had to move through my material at a fair clip and had to take out all demonstrations (bar one) from my presentation so that I could cover everything in the time allotted. I also included Mac information for each tip for the first time. In previous years, the audience for this session has hovered around 150 people, but was only about 80 people this year. But then, it’s the fourth consecutive year I’ve done the same session! The response from attendees immediately after the session and in the following days was all very positive. And many attendees from previous years came up to thank me for making their lives easier, including one chap from a military university, who said he’s shared my tips and handouts with thousands of students and faculty.

Lunch on the first day was the Peer Networking Lunch, and I sat at one of the Corporate Editors tables. I quite like the idea of these lunches as you get to meet other editors you may not meet otherwise, but why-oh-why do they have to seat us at such big tables? It’s impossible to talk to 10 or 12 people across a large round table, even if there wasn’t a lot of other noise coming from the other tables. You end up only talking to those next to you, or perhaps one further away on each side, and thus pretty much ignore the rest of those at the table because you can’t hear or be heard. Tables of four to six people would be much better because you’d get a chance to introduce yourself and talk to everyone at the table, and thus not feel as though you’ve excluded those you can’t hear.

After lunch I attended the ‘Maximize your time: Growth and balance for your freelance editorial biz’ co-presented by Julie Willson and Melanie Padget Powers. Most of what they had to say and the advice they gave wasn’t new to me, but it was revealing and scary to see how much time in a 24-hour day I spend on various activities. My aim? To cut down the amount of time spent on social media and watching TV, and spend more time on hobbies and creative pursuits. I’ll see how that goes… Some other insights from their session included:

  • Focus on peak productivity times (are you a morning or a night person?)
  • Create routines/habits to maximise your energy peaks and troughs
  • Simplify your systems
  • What are your pre-work routines? What do you do first? Is there a better/more efficient way or time to do those tasks? (e.g. don’t deal with non-urgent emails etc. in your peak productivity times—leave until you are less sharp)
  • Habit formation: Create a ‘today’ list of 3 to 4 items only; create a highlight for the day; create a random questions list; make it convenient; reward yourself
  • Go to https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com to find out which sort of tendency (Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel) you best match

The last session of the day was Sea Chapman’s ‘Raging silence: Confronting death in the written word’. This wasn’t my first choice for that time slot, but I’d had breakfast with Sea and a couple of others that morning, and her presentation sounded fascinating. And so it was. Unlike journalists who may have to report on deaths (natural, murder, suicide, violent deaths, terror acts, obituaries, etc.), my only exposure to death in the documents I work on relates to euthanising animals that are injured as a result of work activities (e.g. struck by a vehicle). Sea took us through an overview of how death is seen in different countries, religions, and cultures; the rituals involved in death and the disposal of the body; the ethics of writing about death and a dead person; terms used to describe suicide (‘took their own life’ or ‘died by suicide’ are preferred to ‘committed suicide’, which survivors may find offensive or harmful or imply criminality); the various euphemisms and metaphors used to describe death—and how to avoid them; focusing on the victims and survivors after a tragedy and not giving power or publicity to the perpetrator; etc. She also provided us with an extensive handout of resources, including an excellent set of guidelines at: https://www.journalism.co.uk/skills/how-to-report-on-death-and-suicide-responsibly-as-a-journalist/s7/a547931/

The Opening Night Reception (food included, cash bar) was well attended and another loud event (well, nearly 800 people in a room will create a lot of noise, even if many of them are self-confessed introverts—they’re not so introverted when they are with their tribe!). One of the highlights was the availability of heaps of word board games around the room and on small tables! This was a brilliant idea and should be standard at all conferences for writers, editors, and others involved in words. It allowed us to meet others in a way that avoided the social chitchat and small talk that is painful to so many people at an event like this. Getting to know someone over a board game certainly beats standing around waiting to join in the conversation with a group of people you don’t know.

Day 2

My sessions today started with Lisa McLendon’s ‘Small changes, big difference’ where she focused on the little things we can do to eliminate excessive and awkward wording, making the copy smoother, clearer, and more concise, and making sentences stronger and more direct. She showed lots of examples, and explained why and how they could be revised. For example:

  • There were thousands of screaming fans packing the arena. ==>Thousands of screaming fans packed the arena.
  • The restaurant offers seven different vegetarian entrees. ==> The restaurant offers seven vegetarian entrees. (‘different’ is redundant—they wouldn’t offer seven entrees the same!)
  • Estimated to be about 50,000 years old, the Yukon Paleontology program thinks the specimens are the oldest mummified mammal tissue ever discovered. ==> The Yukon Paleontology program thinks the specimens, estimated to be 50,000 years old, are the oldest mummified mammal tissues ever discovered. (example of misplaced modifier)

Her general advice was to use your judgement, be mindful of who the audience is, find the true subject of the sentence, and never give the reader an excuse to stop reading.

Next up was a difficult choice—do I go to the one on creativity, or to James Harbeck’s session? That decision was made for me when I arrived at the room for the creativity session about 10 mins early to find the room packed and people spilling onto the floor and into the hallway. So off I went to James Harbeck’s ‘When to use bad English’ session. James was quick to point out that bad does not always equal inappropriate. The essence is to make sure that the text produces the right effect in the intended audience, which means you have to know your audience. Other advice included:

  • Look for the SQ (snicker quotient) of the words you use
  • The passive voice is not always a grammatical error
  • Beware of dog whistles—things that only the picky set will notice (again, know your audience). Use dog whistles to whistle up the right dogs, not the wrong ones
  • Know your genres and registers (e.g. instruction manual versus a novel)
  • Know whether the material is involved (spoken, spontaneous, personal) or if it is informational (e.g. more formal, such as government documents, reports).

Use ‘bad English’:

  • To set the tone (we choose our registers according to the situation—you speak differently to a close friend than a government official, for example)
  • To get attention, such as in marketing slogans (e.g. Kmart’s ‘Ship my pants’; ‘Got milk?’)
  • To preserve the sound (e.g. ‘to boldly go’ just doesn’t sound as emphatic as ‘to go boldly’). Grammar is not a moral code handed down on stone tablets—use language that the audience is comfortable with. Ideas about ‘correct English’ are often about class
  • To be like normal folks. Stilted language may bring back bad memories of English classes at school. Slight imperfections can be inviting. If there are no errors in, say, a restaurant’s menu, then the company has likely been able to afford an editor. Too-perfect English can be uninviting in some contexts
  • To be believable. Sometimes a redundancy stresses the importance (e.g. ‘free gift’)
  • To be clear, and for usability (e.g. spelled out numbers may get lost in the copy)
  • To give some people something to pick at (e.g. typos in a dissertation) and thus possibly overlook or skip more important errors
  • As a red herring (e.g. politicians—people may think you’re stupid even if you’re not). People will give more credit to honesty than to perfect English
  • For shits and giggles (e.g. ‘I can haz cheezburgr’). Vulgarity can be very effective
  • For a slap in the face; however, too much erodes the effect
  • For the well-placed vulgarity. Vulgarities connect with the limbic system, so play for contrast. Also, vulgarity is an ‘in group’ thing
  • To get friends and readers (e.g. the F bomb under certain circumstances)
  • If you’re sure you can get away with it.

The first session after lunch was Laura Poole’s ‘Be bold! Making your own opportunities’. My notes from her session included:

  • Your business is only open when your mouth is
  • Freelancing—the dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately
  • Bold does not equal rude
  • Think in terms of approaching potential clients with ‘How could I help your business? Could we be referral partners?’
  • If approaching a successful freelancer for tips, try ‘Can I buy you a meal / pay your consulting rate for an hour of your time?’
  • Rate setting stages:
    1. They’ll chose me if I’m cheaper
    2. What does everyone else charge?
    3. I’ve been doing this a while
    4. What’s it really worth
    5. If you want me, this is what it costs
  • Ask for referrals, recommendations, work. Consider a signature line or line on your invoice such as ‘A referral is the greatest compliment I can receive’. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations, testimonials for your website, etc.
  • Up-sell other services you offer—‘I can also help you with …’ (perhaps also add to sig line or invoice?)
  • Bold offer—‘I can also give this presentation to any group’, then negotiate the details of expenses, travel etc.
  • Say NO to projects that drain you, heavy deadline jobs
  • Look for speaking opportunities (e.g. with clients, potential clients, chapter meetings of professional organisations, etc.). Seriously consider joining http://www.toastmasters.org/. Remember, the audience WANTS you to succeed
  • Colleagues are potential referral partners (work colleagues, or editing conference colleagues)
  • Create your own training/workshops from speaking opportunities
  • Split a workshop into several webinar parts, promote and sell via website
  • Remember, ‘done’ is better than ‘perfect’
  • Be honest when you don’t know the answer
  • Write articles, blog posts, ebooks, workbooks for workshop, swap blog posts with others.

The final session of the day was just a single offering—the ‘Style guide superjam, or is it super jam?’ with hosts and panellists from Merriam-Webster, AP Stylebook, Buzzfeed, Chicago Manual of Style, Random House, and the New York Times. Each spoke about how they approach their roles and their style rules. As expected, the very large room was packed, and they had to open another room and provide a video feed to that room. Because I don’t use any of those style guides and thus don’t get all ‘fangirl’ over the names of those who were on the panel, I didn’t get a lot out of this session.

The Friday Night Banquet was held this evening, and the guest speaker was from well outside the editing world—Rupal Patel, founder and CEO of VocaliD (https://vocalid.ai/), a company that creates human voices for those who can’t speak, and who uses the voices of real people to create composite AI voices that sound human, not like they were generated from a computer. What she had to say and demonstrated was fascinating, and I can see applications for her work in all sorts of areas, not just in assistive technologies for those who can’t speak.

Day 3

The final day. First up for me was Daniel Heuman’s session on PerfectIt: ‘How to check consistency and enforce your house style: Using Perfectit for faster and better results’. I’ve been using PerfectIt since 2010, and just love it. It’s the only Word add-in I’d never be without. Daniel covered some of the basics for those who are new to PerfectIt or just considering purchasing it, and some more advanced stuff for seasoned practitioners. He demonstrated the features using PerfectIt 4 (currently being beta tested, with an expected release date at the end of June 2019). With regards to versions, PerfectIt 3 and 4 are for installation on a PC, while PerfectIt Cloud is for Mac. PerfectIt Cloud doesn’t yet have the customisation functions, but no doubt they will eventually make it into that version. Licensing has changed, and all new purchases will be on the $70/year subscription model ($49 for ACES members via the ACES website), whether they are for the installed or cloud versions. Updates will be automatically included in the subscription price, though you can choose when to install them (at least for PerfectIt 4—I’m not sure about the cloud version). In discussions with Daniel, he also said that a single-user license can be installed on a PC and a laptop, and still be classed as a single user. Some other notes from this session:

  • Preview window can be widened
  • Fix option is available right in line with each item found
  • Can purchase from https://intelligentediting.com/, via the Microsoft Store option in Word (not sure if this applies to Macs too), or for a discounted price via the members’ section of the ACES website
  • F6 will put PerfectIt into keyboard mode
  • From Office 2013 onwards, you can import a PDF into Word and then check it with PerfectIt
  • Daniel highly recommends Jack Lyon’s Wildcard Cookbook (https://www.amazon.com/Wildcard-Cookbook-Microsoft-Word-Jack/dp/1434103986/)

My next session was Aleksandra Sandstrom’s ‘Working with survey data: Best practices for editors and fact checkers’. Even though this session was aimed more at those working in newspapers etc., and focused on human surveys, much still applied to any sort of survey data. My notes:

  • Is the survey trustworthy? (often subjective)
  • Is it representative?
  • Who paid for it to be done?
  • Why was it conducted?
  • Is there a method statement? (critical)

Regarding the methodology:

  • Who conducted the survey?
  • Who paid for it?
  • When was it conducted? (dates are very important in surveys of current event issues)
  • What data collection method was used? Common types of sampling include probability (everyone has a known chance of inclusion) versus non probability (quota samples [e.g. we’ve already asked xx women and now we don’t want any more], convenience samples [e.g. people who are willing and available in a particular place]). Modes of collection include phone, online, mobile (text), post, face-to-face, and a mix of these.
  • Who was NOT surveyed? (e.g. can’t reach [such as homeless]; can’t consent [such as institutionalised, or under 18])
  • What is the margin of error? (e.g. +/- 5) As the sample size increases, the margin of error decreases. Confidence interval is related to the margin of error. Watch for differences over years when you take into account the margin of error. ‘Majority’ only applies if both ends of the confidence interval is >50%. Watch for different subgroups of the sample having different margins of error (e.g. 18 to 24 year olds versus over 65s).
  • What is the weighting? Weighting typically accounts for demographic characteristics, type of person most likely to complete the survey, special considerations (e.g. language used). Can a small sample really represent the entire population? (she used the analogy of making soup, where a small taste can represent the flavour of the entire pot—you don’t have to eat all the soup to know that the sample was correct; recommends watching Methods 101: Random Sampling on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sonXfzE1hvo)
  • How are the questions worded? Types of ‘bad’ questions include double-barrelled questions, leading questions, and questions that don’t make sense.

Common mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • Defining the universe— clearly define the group you’re talking about
  • Is it a median (middle value of a set) or a mean (average value)? The median can mitigate the effects of a wild outlier value
  • Prevalence versus intensity—you may need to ask follow-up questions to help define and narrow the responses
  • Confusing numbers with % share.

The final session of the conference I attended (not including the closing session) was on ‘Understanding your freelance pricing feedback loop’ presented by Jake Poiner and Erin Brenner. Their blurb for this session started with ‘Do I charge enough? How many more clients to I need to make the money I want?’ Their basic premise is that you can’t determine either of these things without data. My notes from this session:

  • Potential new client:
    • Collect data
    • Analyse data
    • Implement changes based on that analysis
    • Assess the project parameters
    • Present the estimate—Yes? Complete the project; No? No deal
  • When formulating rates, can use:
    • Expense/profit calculations
    • Equivalent salary calculations
    • Rate sheets
    • Other resources
  • Know how an hourly rate translates to a per page/per word rate (standard is 250 words per page, no matter how many words are actually on each page)
  • Talk to graphic designers—they are often users of editing services and can give an idea of what they expect to pay
  • Pricing for persuasion:
    • Understand the client’s needs/motivations
    • How are you conveying value? What will the client make from the work you do for them?
    • What’s the best kind of deal? The one that makes you and the client happy!
    • Do you have different pricing models for different clients? (e.g. large corporate versus a non-profit you care about) This is NOT the same as having different prices for different activities for the same client
    • Be perceived as a fair business person
    • Understand what the client expects
    • What’s the worst that can happen? (typically a job at a price that doesn’t make you happy; you still have to do the job, but you’re not getting what you should for it)
    • Get feedback—if you don’t know, ask
  • Prices, estimates, your business in general shouldn’t be static
  • How to use business data:
    • Collect data (e.g. editing speed; even if you’re not charging by the hour, you are selling hours)
    • Analyse data
    • Implement changes based on the data
  • How do I make more money and work fewer hours? You need DATA
  • Client types: Categorise clients based on value to you (bread-and-butter: you can count on them for regular work; blue-chip: you’ll do anything for them; cattle call: you’re competing with other editors on price alone; one-offs; Halley’s Comet: they like you but they don’t come around very often; passion projects: may not pay off right away but will eventually)
  • Analyse where your income is coming from—which clients? look for patterns in your business of receipts and expenditure
  • How to increase your rate: ‘On <date>, my rate will be $xx.’ Don’t apologise. Grandfathering: ‘I’ll charge you at the old rate for xx time, but the rate will increase to $xx on <date>.’ Alternative: ‘My new rate from <date> will be $xx, so get in now for me to do your work at the old rate’
  • Focus on the benefits to them (the client)
  • You need pitch data. What’s your pitch? What’s your proposal process? You need pitch data to track the source of the request (Where did they come from? How did they find you? Who referred them to you?)
  • Spend time in the places where you’ll get more projects
  • Wins and losses—ask why you didn’t get the job/contract, or why you did. Repeat the things that work
  • Record project details
  • Record response time
  • Calculate estimated editing speed (based on previous data), time, and cost
  • Record actual editing speed, time, and cost
  • Data needs a purpose—focus on your goals and collect the data, analyse the data, and implement changes
  • Be curious about your business—ask yourself what worked and why and what didn’t and why not
  • Remember, corporations expect to pay you at a consultant’s rate, not at editorial rates
  • Make sure you have a clause in your contract to cover scope creep: ‘Work outside the scope will be charged at $XX/hour’
  • Send your contract with your estimate

At the closing session, the dates and locations for future ACES conferences were announced:

  • 2020 Salt Lake City, 30 April to 2 May: https://aceseditors.org/conference/2020 (registration and speaker submissions are now open)
  • 2021 Atlanta, 22 to 24 April
  • 2022 San Antonio, 31 March to 2 April
  • 2023 Columbus, 23 to 25 March

And then it was all over. People packed up their gear, said their (occasionally teary) goodbyes, and headed home to their normal lives, hoping to do it all again in 2020 with those who ‘get’ them.