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Opportunities for Freelance Technical Editors

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This is an advertisement on behalf of one of our advertisers, Cactus Communications, Inc.

Cactus Communications, Inc. is a global scientific communications company serving more than 60,000 clients across 116 countries offering editing, translation, medical writing and other services to researchers, academic journals, and companies worldwide. The mission at CACTUS is to facilitate better research, communication, and collaboration in academia and the sharing of scientific knowledge. We employ a global team of experienced editors, who are experts in various academic fields. We’re currently looking for specialist contractual copyeditors and substantive editors. Here’s what we’re looking for in applicants:

The essentials:

  • Exceptional command of the English language: grammar, punctuation, and idiomatic expressions
  • At least two years of experience with editing scientific manuscripts
  • At least PhD/Masters’ degree and expertise in one or more of the following subjects:

Engineering (all disciplines), Biomechanics, Controls and Systems, Electronics, Electrical Engineering, Water Science & Engineering, Nature & Landscape Conversation, Pollution, Environmental Engineering, Nuclear Energy, Nuclear/Polymer Chemistry, Physical/ Computational Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Applied Chemistry, Materials Science, Metallurgy, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Optics, Mineralogy, Remote Sensing, Climate Science, Earth Sciences One or more of the following are preferred:

  • Experience with academic writing/editing, publishing, and scientific communications
  • Experience working with ESL (English as a second language) authors and their written materials
  • Familiarity with the style and conventions of scholarly writing
  • Familiarity with TeX/LaTeX editing software

Job Responsibilities:

Our editors are assigned work in their area of expertise, and compensation is based on the manuscript length and the service level they have been signed up for, viz. copyediting or substantive editing. Editors can choose their preferred job hours, and can indicate availability on our system. The assignments are typically research manuscripts of varying levels of difficultly; many of our clients have an ESL background, so copyediting may not always be restricted to “cleaning copy.”

Note: Since these are freelance positions, and NOT employment, job hours are flexible. Also, since we receive a huge number of applications, we get back to only shortlisted applicants.

To apply: Please email your CV along with a cover letter to freelancepositions@cactusglobal.com.

13/05/2014 |

Freelancer of the Month April 2014 – Louise Lubke Cuss

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In this month's Freelancer of the Month feature we spoke with Hampshire-based proofreader and copy-editor Louise Lubke Cuss of Wordblink.

Hi Louise! First of all, can you tell us a bit about the nature of your business?

I provide proofreading and copy editing services to publishers, proofreading for students, and in many other cases, proofediting, a combination of proofreading and editing! I also do some work for charities, and edit articles for a Hampshire “women in business” magazine. I have done some proofreading and editing for self-publishers and am keen to learn as much as I can about this growing area.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelancer.

I have a very varied career history including sub-editing on a daily newspaper, a disastrous attempt at teaching, and many years working with government grants to businesses and the charitable sector. I started the Publishing Training Centre’s Basic Proofreading course when I was on maternity leave with my second child, awaiting redundancy from my public sector job. Apart from the looming redundancy, I knew I needed to make a change to something more flexible as my older child was starting school. Luckily I found proofreading, which I didn’t know existed (as a separate occupation from editing) up to that point. Since completing that course, I have done several others with the PTC and Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), and also completed the SfEP’s mentoring programme, which I would highly recommend. The mentoring programme really gave me the impetus and self-belief that I needed to carry on, as I hadn’t had much “real” work up to that point.

What do you enjoy most about running your own business?

The fact that I am doing what I really want to do – working with words – and really should have done this years ago! This is exciting but can also be daunting.

What are the downsides to working for yourself, if any, and how do you overcome them?

When you are starting out, there are so many things to consider, and it’s easy to put out feelers in too many different directions at once. While you don’t want to specialise too much in the early days, you do need to keep focused and try to gain experience in a few areas before diversifying too much. For example, I am promoting myself primarily as someone with experience in proofreading/editing horticultural and environmental books, as that is my predominant experience to date. I have been very lucky to find work in this area, as I really enjoy it and know a bit about it. I am also planning a blog on this subject.

While it can be difficult starting out, and working alone can feel isolating, I find meeting with my local SfEP group and, informally, with two proofreader/editor friends (you know who you are!) very helpful. While it’s brilliant to be able to get advice from more experienced SfEP people, comparing notes with those in a similar boat has been invaluable to me.

How do you go about promoting your business/finding clients?

I am on a lot of directories (including, of course, www.findaproofreader.com!) and also send emails and letters to prospective clients. I always ensure I have a name which usually entails making a phone call. I have dabbled with networking and have obtained some work and useful contacts through it. It can be off putting if most of those attending don’t appear to have any interest in your skills, but you never know who they might know who is writing a book or pulling together a massive report. The key thing is to find a networking environment that suits you and that you feel comfortable with. I am on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn too, and find Twitter the most useful by far in terms of the resources and useful articles it pinpoints for me, particularly in the self-publishing arena. The challenge with all these things is to keep your profile up to date. I have recently started advertising to students needing proofreading of dissertations.

Have any particular developments occurred within your business sector that have affected the way you work or the way in which you are taking your business forward?

I am acutely aware that there are a huge number of new entrants to proofreading/editing, as evidenced by the vast increase in associates of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, of which I’m now an ordinary member. I think this is very much a sign of the times, with the massive redundancies that have been made across the UK (and was certainly what prompted my career change). I was determined to upgrade to ordinary membership of the SfEP as soon as I could to give myself some professional confidence, particularly when approaching publishers for work, although I realise that experience is also vital. Without contacts or a work background in publishing, however, it was important to me. It also crystallised the view that I needed to have some specialised areas I worked in rather than being generalist, so I do try to make this my focus when marketing myself.

What is your most treasured work-related possession?

Can I have a few? First, my erasable pens. They make proofreading on paper so much easier because you can erase your pen marks if you have changed your mind, without the mess of correction fluid! I am also a new fan of Klok for keeping track of my time on jobs, and my indispensable spreadsheet that keeps a record of all the work I’ve done, how long it took, word and page count and fee earned, as this informs my quotes for future work.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working with words?

I’m a complete bookworm, and my current obsession is with travel memoirs, particularly those set in France. Unsurprisingly, I enjoy holidays there too. I am trying to get fit and am currently enjoying a walking to running app which is motivating me to exercise – amazing to recount. I occasionally knit (nothing fancy) and enjoy baking with my children.

What’s your favourite book?

Difficult question, as I have a few. Not long ago I read Le Grand Meaulnes by Henri Alain-Fournier, which I loved. It was very atmospheric.

Have you got any advice for aspiring freelancers?

Get as much training under your belt as you can afford, with the industry-recognised providers. Volunteer to gain experience, preferably in areas you are already interested in or knowledgeable about. Obtain as many testimonials as you can and then you can showcase your work and market yourself with more confidence. And don’t give up – it takes quite some time to get established and I am still on that road.

Louise Lubke Cuss - Freelancer of the MonthLouise Lubke Cuss is a freelance proofreader and copy-editor based in Hampshire, and she runs Wordblink. For more information on Louise's services, please visit her website or click here to view her Find a Proofreader listing.

30/04/2014 |

Freelancer of the Month March 2014 – Sarah Nisbet

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The Freelancer of the Month feature is back after a six-month hiatus! This time we caught up with proofreader and copy-editor Sarah Nisbet of Inkshed Editorial who very kindly shared her proofreading experiences and insights with us.

Hi Sarah! Please can you tell us a little bit about the nature of your business?

I specialise in proofreading and light copy-editing, but I am also able to offer content writing. My non-fiction subject areas are humanities, such as history, archaeology and education; when working with fiction I am happy with most genres, including children’s and young adults’ books. However, the subject areas that I work within are growing all the time, and I love learning about topics that are new to me: for example, some of my recent clients include companies and individuals involved in business, branding and digital media.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a freelancer.

I have worked within different professions since leaving university (many years ago … nope, I’m not saying how many), my favourites being archaeology, teaching and library work. I decided that the time was right to do something that I had been thinking about for a while: learn how to proofread. I felt that my eye for detail and my love of reading would stand me in good stead – but as I soon found out, there is more to it than that! The course that I did taught me about the processes involved in proofreading, and by the end of it I felt confident that I could offer a professional, flexible service to a variety of clients. Although I believed I had achieved a lot in completing my course there were plenty more challenges to come, as going ‘live’ brought its own learning curve. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I haven’t looked back – not even once!

 What do you enjoy most about running your own business?

Where to start? I love the job, so to be earning a living from it is wonderful – as is having happy clients: it really is a fantastic feeling to know that clients are pleased with the work I have done for them. Also I feel very lucky that I get the chance to work with a variety of subject matter from day to day (for example, I might start the week with proofreading a history book and end it with writing or editing a press release). I’m pretty good at motivating myself and I’m really enjoying being my own boss and growing my own business; in fact I think that it’s my ideal scenario and something that I should have tried earlier! On the practical side of things, as I have a young family the fact that I can work flexible hours, from home, is yet another plus.

What are the downsides to working for yourself, if any, and how do you overcome them?

As I work from home, distractions can be a downside: phone calls, knocks on the door, noisy offspring, demanding pets … these can make it difficult to concentrate. Earplugs are a must!

How do you go about promoting your business/finding clients?

While I was still on my training course I looked into the best ways of marketing my business: I took inspiration from the way that others in the same profession went about this, and made contact with other proofreaders and copy-editors, through joining the Society for Proofreaders and Editors (SfEP) and forums, such as Gpuss.com. The freelance community is such a friendly, generous one and people are often more than happy to share useful information. I also read lots and lots of books about all aspects of becoming a freelance. My initial campaign involved building a website, inkshededitorial.com; creating a social media presence on several sites (including LinkedIn and Twitter); contacting publishers (speculative phone calls, followed by emails); and, of course, joining Find a Proofreader – a very wise move! I have been pretty busy, so my marketing tactics since then have mainly involved expanding on the above.

What is your most treasured work-related possession?

Until recently, I would have said my lovely, trusty and essential laptop (I’m saying that, in case it’s listening!) but … my new A2-sized whiteboard is a close second. Some of my colleagues recommended buying one – and they were not wrong. It charts my aims for each week and makes me feel very, very organised.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working with words?

Spending time with my family and friends; enjoying books, films, music, and walks. If I had more time, I would work on researching my family history, which is something I started some time ago, but haven’t made much progress with recently.

What’s your favourite book?

In terms of fiction, there are just too many wonderful books to choose from, although ‘Pure’ by Andrew Miller and ‘Any Human Heart’ by William Boyd are favourites from the last year or so, and if I had an all-time top ten, I’m sure they would be in it. My favourite non-fiction book is ‘Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable’.

Have you got any advice for aspiring freelancers?

I am still at a reasonably early stage in my freelance career, but this advice is based on my experience so far:

  • go for it!
  • believe in yourself and your abilities;
  • be ready to learn – and to keep learning;
  • be focussed, flexible and forward-thinking, when it comes to finding work;
  • get to know other freelance professionals in your field, as it’s always good to have colleagues to talk to whether socially, or for practical support;
  • there might be some setbacks along the way, but don’t be put off by them (in fact, try to learn from them);
  • … oh, and you might want to buy some earplugs. :)

Sarah Nisbet, Inkshed EditorialSarah Nisbet is a freelance proofreader and copy-editor based in Littlehampton, West Sussex, and her business is called Inkshed Editorial. For more information on Sarah's services, please visit her website or click here to view her Find a Proofreader listing.

17/03/2014 |
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