what kind of editing do i need?

On an automobile assembly line, you wouldn’t wait until after you’ve installed all the interior paneling and trim to put in the side windows. When it comes to editing your reports, white papers, instruction manuals, and other important documents, are you doing the equivalent?

Freelance editors are used to talking with potential clients who think that proofreading a document means giving it a thorough syntactic overhaul, and that copyediting covers the writing and insertion of a whole new section of text. Most of us are not averse to taking on projects that cross definitional boundaries, but we do try to make sure the client understands the differences.

“Who cares?” some will interrupt. “Editing is editing, right?”

Honestly, no.

Editors define the types of editing differently not because we’re trying to be split hairs but because we understand that each one should be performed at its own particular stage of the document preparation process — putting the windows in while you’re still assembling the doors, so to speak. Performing the wrong kind of editing at the wrong stage in the production process can derail the whole process.

Use this editing sequence to keep your document assembly line moving.

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do your proposals listen to your clients?

Accept or DeclineSuccessful proposals demonstrate your skills and capabilities to prospective clients. But superior proposals convey more than just facts and figures — they also demonstrate that you are listening to them.

The people reading your proposal want to know not only whether you can complete their work on time and on budget, but also whether they think you’ll work well with their team. Whether you can ask and answer questions. Whether you really understand what they want to get out of this project.

Somehow, your proposal has to convey this message along with the staffing charts and budget tables.

Sure, you could just salt the text with trite phrases such as “we listen to our customers.” But with a little bit of good writing, you can turn your entire proposal into an example of your responsiveness. Here are some proven tips for putting that into practice:

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cheap as free

PeanutsThis morning I received an e-mail with the subject line “Job on Computer in July,” from an unfamiliar name. I’m used to receiving cold-call e-mails from prospective clients, so I opened it up and took a look:

Good Day,

We offer a part time job on your computer.

Job Description:

We will provide you with the texts and you will correct the texts as an english speaking person and send them back to us. Just correct grammar and spell mistakes, nothing else.

Ah, a work-at-home scam. Of course. I get plenty of those. Just out of curiosity, I kept reading to see how much they pay — assuming they do pay.

Oh, they pay, all right . . .

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