Karin Fancett Work

(Freelance Editor and Proofreader)

Words that work well for you

Testimonials ...

Thanks for getting this done so quickly – and the executive summary is just right, thank you.

It has been a pleasure working with you too – you’ve done a great job on all the work I have sent you, especially on the high profile projects, so thank you.

(emails from Peter Drury, Evidence Adviser,
Evidence Directorate, Environment Agency)

... and some titles

FAQs on editing and proofreading

Please click on any of the questions below to see more information.

Why use an editor or proofreader?

Why use an editor or proofreader?

If you produce written material that is intended to inform, intrigue, interest or grab the attention of the public you may benefit from the skills of an editor or proofreader. Some people think that spelling and grammar checkers get rid of the need for these skills; however, the trouble with computers is that ‘there never shore watt your righting’.

Nothing is likely to be absolutely perfect when first written down and production processes and/or translation may well introduce further errors. Distracting flaws are likely to cause readers to slow down in order to work out what is being said, and they will perhaps lose patience with you or doubt your professionalism. Good authors and copy writers know this, informed readers know this. Skilful editing/proofreading ensures that your message gets across, quickly and accurately, in your own voice.

Surveys have shown that many visitors to websites move on elsewhere as soon as they detect spelling or grammar mistakes. It is unlikely that readers of 'printed' publications are any more tolerant.

What is the difference between copy-editing and proofreading?

What is the difference between copy-editing and proofreading?

A copy-editor will check for bad grammar, poorly written sentences, incorrect spelling and missing or contradictory information. Editors also look out for internal inconsistencies (e.g. names are spelt the same way throughout; units of measurement don't swap between metric and imperial) and try to spot very obvious factual errors. (However, ultimately, it is up to the author to make sure the text is factually correct.) When asked, editors can also advise on how the work should be structured; whether sections should be expanded, contracted or rewritten; and on the format and layout of illustrative material (graphs, diagrams, tables, pictures). Editors even, occasionally, do a bit of writing themselves (captions or summaries for example). Their main job, though, is to help you, the author or publisher, get information across to your readers in a form that accurately reflects what you want to say and is easy for the reader to understand.

A proofreader provides later checks on the material just before it is ‘published’ (either as a printed publication or online as web pages). Originally a proofreader’s job was to correct any errors that the typesetters and printers had made and that was all; nowadays they will probably also look out for any errors that have escaped the editor's attention. However, they are not expected to read and correct the text as thoroughly as editors.

Ideally, a publication will go through both a copy-editing and a proofreading stage, as the processes are different and will pick up different types of errors.

Is there any difference between working on paper and on electronic/online publications?

Is there any difference between working on paper and on electronic/online publications?

Yes and no. Most of the things mentioned on this site concerning editing and proofreading apply wherever the material is to be published. However, readers have a tendency to ‘scan’ when reading online, and this needs to be borne in mind when producing content, editing it, or repurposing previously published material for the internet. Things such as e-books may be read like paper books but have their own complications for successful formatting.

I am familiar with the different ways in which people read different types of publications, and the factors to be considered when producing material for different formats, so can help you to produce suitable content, wherever it is to be published.

What services can Karin Fancett provide?

What services can Karin Fancett provide?

I offer both editing and proofreading services to non-fiction publishers and authors. I specialise in the natural and environmental sciences (including the history of these sciences), but have worked on publications with subjects as diverse as Formula 1 motor-racing, the rum shops of Barbados, astronomy and wind turbines. Traditional publishers, organisations and individual authors have all used my services over the years to help them improve their books, journals, scientific and technical reports, pamphlets, information leaflets, web pages and publicity materials.

I have also undertaken, on request, some picture research, technical writing, basic layout/design of documents and project management.

See the Services offered page for more details of the types of work I do and my subject specialisms.

What services does Karin Fancett NOT provide?

What services does Karin Fancett NOT provide?

  • I do not read manuscripts with a view to advising on whether they are ‘publishable’ or who you should send them to.
  • I do not work on fiction manuscripts (see the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) Directory for editors who offer this service).
  • I do not feel competent to work on highly technical medical or mathematical titles or publications containing large sections of non-English text (again the SfEP Directory can point you in the direction of other editors who offer such services).
  • I do not work on student theses or dissertations at any level without the express written permission of a relevant academic supervisor.
  • I will not rewrite large sections of text unless I am hired as a technical writer.
  • I will not check that all facts are correct unless this aspect is specifically included in the agreement; however, I will try to look out for any very obvious factual errors.

Why use Karin Fancett’s editorial services?

Why use Karin Fancett’s editorial services?

I have many years of experience of a wide range of types of publications and have worked for an impressive range of clients. This experience enables me to bring to my editing and proofreading a good overview as well as meticulous attention to the details of a publication.

Within the natural and environmental sciences I have sufficient knowledge to work confidently on popular or reasonably technical titles, but my broad background means I can also see the information from the point of view of non-specialist readers.

I pride myself on being reliable and always meeting agreed deadlines.

Does Karin Fancett work for clients worldwide?

Does Karin Fancett work for clients worldwide?

The quick answer is yes. Although to date most of my work has been for clients in the UK, I have also worked for several European clients and, now that the business is based in France, I am keen to expand my client base in the eurozone, or indeed anywhere else in the world. I am used to working on material from authors whose first language is not English and am aware of the difficulties of writing in another language.

As nowadays nearly all communication and transmission of materials is electronic, location is not an issue. I have broadband internet and am happy to send and receive materials as email attachments or using FTP (file transfer protocol) or other online services.

Does Karin Fancett only work with ‘proper’ publishers?

Does Karin Fancett only work with ‘proper’ publishers?

No! I am very happy to work with anyone who needs my editing or proofreading services, be they traditional publisher, government department or charity/NGO, or private company or individual.

Nowadays many people in all sorts of jobs and for all sorts of reasons need to produce written materials. Your expertise may well be in some area other than writing and editing, and producing good written material may be difficult and time-consuming for you. If so, why not stick to what you are good at and let me help you with ‘polishing’ your rough draft into ‘words that work well for you’.

Although qualified editors and proofreaders (rightly) regard themselves as professionals and expect rates to reflect this (see Prices), you may well find that getting something professionally edited only accounts for a smallish part of a project’s budget. Other people may make decisions based on your written publication, so surely it is worth getting it as good as possible so that it achieves the results you want.

What are the practicalities of working with Karin Fancett?

What are the practicalities of working with Karin Fancett?

Most communication tends to be by email. I check emails regularly and try to respond as quickly as possible.

Often jobs nowadays end up being a mixture of copy-editing and proofreading (see above for the differences between them). This is never as efficient as going through the two separate stages, but I do recognise that sometimes time or budgetary constraints limit what you can do. However, wherever possible I would recommend involving an editor as early as you can as it is much easier for everyone if basic editorial changes are made ‘globally’ before the document gets as far as being ‘typeset’ rather than being marked up and dealt with individually on the proof files.

For on-screen editing I work in Word. Over the years I have developed various Word macros and techniques to help me work quickly, efficiently and accurately, and I also make use of PerfectIt, Reference Checker and the Archive Publications macros. I usually return edited work with any significant changes ‘tracked’, so that you can see and approve what I have done, and with queries and explanations as Word ‘comments’. However, I am happy to work in other ways if requested.

For proofreading I prefer working on paper copies, as, like most people, I find it easier to ‘spot’ errors on paper rather than on screen. This is not a problem as I have both A4 and A3 printers and scanners, so I can print out the files you send, mark them up and scan in the marked-up copies to return them electronically to you. However, I also have software to mark up directly onto electronic pdf files and will work in this way if requested.

I work in line with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders' Code of Practice, Ensuring editorial excellence.

How can someone become an editor or proofreader?

How can someone become an editor or proofreader?

I hope that the information on this website makes it clear that there is a lot more to editing and proofreading than ‘just’ spotting spelling and grammar errors. Although it is possible, it is not easy to get started as a freelance editor or proofreader unless you already have experience. Qualifications can help (in the UK I would recommend the Publishing Training Centre’s (PTC’s) courses, including the Basic Proofreading or Copy-Editing by distance learning courses) and it would be well worth joining an association such as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. (SfEP is mainly a UK-based association, but there are similar groups in other parts of the world and links to some of these groups can be found on the SfEP website.)

If you need to do some editing or proofreading as part of your job, it is possible to attend courses to learn at least the basics (again in the UK the PTC’s courses are well regarded). However, if time and money allow I would still recommend involving other people as well (ideally a qualified freelance editor or proofreader, but, if not, at least another colleague in-house), as ‘a second pair of eyes’ can frequently spot things you have missed just because you are too familiar with the publication.

 

©copyright Karin Fancett 2017