Re: Independent Editors - What do they do?

Subject: Re: Independent Editors - What do they do?
From: Christine Pellar-Kosbar <chrispk -at- merit -dot- edu>
To: Anthony Markatos <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 14:14:36 -0400


> Dick Margulis said:
> There are all kinds of editors. Look at the masthead of, say, Time or
> Newsweek, for example, or a scholarly journal. <snip>
> Tony Markatos responded:
> Dick,
> I can envision the above for a scenario for an 'in-house' senior editor.
> But, do many independent contractor/consultant editors perform such tasks?

A very good question, in my opinion. I've been on both sides: hiring freelance
tech editors and freelancing as a tech editor. It is very difficult for a tech
editor to perform the types of functions that we needed (input manuscript,
output essentially a published book). We had to maintain very close and
long-term relationships with our freelancers because it is so difficult to
learn all the little ins-and-outs of the style guide, the layout, the computer
files, the printing company's needs, and the authors' repeated bad habits
(forgetting to include the figures, in our case). It can be done. (Well, I
don't know about magazines like Time, but for ANSI standards, it can be done.)
You need a lot of coordination, or freelancers who have been with you a long
time, or preferably both. (Now, why hire freelancers instead of just hiring
them full-time? Erratic spurts in your production line. We had volunteers
writing the text; we could not predict when, or for how long, we'd get a feast
or famine of work.) We had one in-house tech editor (me) who coordinated all
the work of the freelancers and provided a second set of eyes on each document.

So, do many contractors provide extensive editing assistance? I would think
most freelance editors do far more than proofreading, but probably few do as
much of the production as we asked them to do.

Christine Pellar-Kosbar

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