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bundie702
Community Member

Question for Editors: Do you also format?

I'm seeing a disturbing trend in job listings for editors where the clients say they want manuscripts formatted--often for e-book AND print, with a table of contents--as well as edited (clients often say they want editing and proofreading, and I explain to them that these are two different tasks and should be done by two different people). I recently had a client who, when I pointed out the wonky formatting of their document, told me they thought I would fix that. I explained that as an editor, I work with words. Formatting, to me, is not a task done by editors; that is why God created formatters.

 

My question is, are there people who will actually do both under the same contract? 

5 REPLIES 5
m_sharman
Community Member

I wil do simple formatting, leveraging the style function in Word to create headers, TOC, etc - nothing fancy.  

 

What I don't provide is graphic/layout etc. 

 

But formatting for ebook or printing is very different.

 

I do also get dragged into the proofreading piece and always warn I am not a strong proofreader.

 

 

 

I also usually stick to fairly straightforward formatting. I've done formatting for Kindle and print, but I will usually suggest the client get someone else for that piece as it's not my strong suit and too often it strays into graphic design, which I definitely don't do.

 

Most of the time, I won't try to force the distinction between editing vs. proofreading with Upwork jobs. Whether the client calls it editing or proofreading doesn't usually matter to me because they often don't know the difference. I'll do the work the doc needs, and use the right terms when I'm talking with them, but I usually won't try to explain the difference unless it comes up. I'm not entirely sure this is the best path, but it's worked so far for me.

 

If they're going to have doc typeset after my editing, I'll suggest a proofreading round after that's done, either with me or someone else. 

I do. I format for print and Kindle using In Design. (I love fiddling about with layouts.)  But anything more extensive than applying a Word stylesheet (which is often just a matter of a few clicks and impresses people) incurs a separate charge.

 

- Most of the time, I won't try to force the distinction between editing vs. proofreading with Upwork jobs. 

 

Snap. I often ask to see the text and then tell them how I'll 'tidy' or 'enhance' it or some other verb if they sound befuddled by editing terms.

 

- If they're going to have doc typeset after my editing, I'll suggest a proofreading round 

 

I often 'assume'  in discussions that a proofreader is coming later. Sometimes that saves people the embarrassment of admitting they didn't know what they were doing and they go off and get a proofreader even though they hadn't thought of it before. When I'm really on fire, I can make it sound like their idea.

mtngigi
Community Member


Bettye U wrote:

I'm seeing a disturbing trend in job listings for editors where the clients say they want manuscripts formatted--often for e-book AND print, with a table of contents--as well as edited (clients often say they want editing and proofreading, and I explain to them that these are two different tasks and should be done by two different people). I recently had a client who, when I pointed out the wonky formatting of their document, told me they thought I would fix that. I explained that as an editor, I work with words. Formatting, to me, is not a task done by editors; that is why God created formatters.

 

My question is, are there people who will actually do both under the same contract? 


Not only should you not do this for obvious reasons, but formatting text for books or any other print project is layout design, and should be done by a graphic designer. Creating a table of contents is not easy. As well, most printers will not accept Word files for printing, meaning you would have to use a design program like InDesign.

 

Also, the danger I see is that I'll bet some clients would expect a file ready to be sent to print. A recipe for disaster. This gives you a good "out" when a client asks. Simply tell them that files for print require layout experience and knowing how to prepare a press-ready file. That should shut them down.

johnjdavis
Community Member

I bid the proposal differently if the client would like some formatting, and I also make sure to emphasize that it will certainly cost more. I do find it interesting to tinker with some of the formats, but I fully understand how some people might have a different opinion. I recently worked on a technical manual that was advertised as "proofread and copyedit," but I suspected it would be much more tedious. And it certainly was.

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