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Amy J. Schneider

Amy J. Schneider: An Editor’s Top 3

Amy J. Schneider
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In this series, experienced editors reflect on their Top 3 tools, rules and suggestions for clients and colleagues.

Amy J. Schneider has been a full-time freelance copyeditor and proofreader of fiction and non-fiction and the owner of Featherschneider Editorial Services since 1995. Since 2012 Amy has written articles and presented in-person and online sessions on various editorial topics for regional and national editors’ associations. Her book, The Chicago Guide to Copyediting Fiction, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in spring 2023.

Editors Canada is delighted to welcome Amy back to present “Conscious Language and Copyediting Fiction,” “Talking Points: Copyediting Dialogue in Fiction” and “Mastering Editorial Style Sheets” at the Editors Canada virtual conference, Editors 22: Editing for a Changing World, May 28–29, 2022.

Top 3 professional tools you can’t work without

1. Macros: I use macros (Microsoft Word program add-ins) from The Editorium and dozens of macros that I’ve created myself. Macros save time and make my work more accurate. (Editor’s note: a recent post on the CIEP blog demystifies macros.)

2. Templates: I use templates to customize how I want documents to look while I’m working and to organize the macros that I use for each client.

3. Multiple monitors: I’m more efficient when I’m not flipping between windows all the time. Quad monitors rock!

Top 3 marketing channels you enjoy using

1. Word of mouth: I love it when a client recommends me to their colleague or a fellow editor refers me to a new client. Or better yet, when a current client gets a new job and takes me with them!

2. Speaking, presenting and writing: Sharing my knowledge is a great way to establish myself as an expert.

3. Social media: I use social media not so much as a direct promotion tool but as a way to participate in conversations and present myself as personable, experienced and helpful.

Top 3 life-work balance rules

1. “No” is a complete sentence.

2. Some work requires me to be at the desk, but it’s just as important to take the laptop out onto the deck on a nice day.

3. When a dog wants your attention, give it to her. Win-win!

Top 3 suggestions for authors/clients you work with

1. Authors: You’re the subject matter experts. Let me be the language and editorial style expert.

2. Project managers: I may be able to help with a tech issue if you’ve got a problem file. Let me know!

3. Project managers: Let me know when I take the project if a deadline is firm or has wiggle room. Similarly, let me know in advance if you’d appreciate having it a few days sooner. I may be able to move things around and make it happen.

Top 3 suggestions for new editors/freelancers

1. You have to spend money to make money. Invest in professional hardware and software and continuing education, and use them to learn how to be more efficient and accurate.

2. Act like a business. You are the boss, and you get to set your own policies and rates.

3. Stick to the brief. If your client wants (and is paying for) a light copyedit, don’t give them a rewrite just because you think the piece needs one.

Bonus — One recent industry trend that inspires you

Increasing awareness of the need to use conscious language: More than ever, we are learning that words matter, and choosing the right words can change the world for the better.

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