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Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter: An Editor’s Top 3

Speech bubble with the text "Top 3: Rules, Tools, Channels" on a red background.
Speech bubble with the text "Top 3: Rules, Tools, Channels" on a red background.
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In this series, experienced editors reflect on their top 3 tools, rules and suggestions for clients and colleagues.

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter has been managing and speaking about websites for several years, for both her own ventures and those of her clients. Her in-person and virtual presentations about editors’ websites have been popular with several professional organizations.

Editors Canada is delighted to welcome Ruth back to present “Websites that Work for Editors” 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

Microsoft Word, style manuals and sixth-grade grammar training.

  1. We might find Word frustrating, but it is the leading tool for writing, editing, proofreading and sometimes even publishing documents.
  2. Style manuals help us maintain consistency and often even accuracy in what we edit, so they are invaluable.
  3. My sixth-grade English teacher’s tough-love approach to grammar has had a lifelong positive impact on my ability to do good work — I think of her with everything I work on and feel sorry for anyone who didn’t have that level of training at an early age!

Top 3 marketing channels you enjoy using

My website, association member discussion lists and Facebook groups.

  1. I get inquiries through my website, and I try to update it often to make it easier to find and better at supporting my marketing efforts. I also mention it wherever appropriate.
  2. Being active on discussion lists shows colleagues how I think and what I know, which has led to a gratifying amount of new work through referrals and recommendations.
  3. Facebook groups have been surprisingly rewarding along similar lines; they aren’t all food photos and animal memes!

Top 3 life-work balance rules

Family and friends come first, deadlines rule and cats.

  1. While I focus firmly on meeting deadlines to make both my life and my clients’ work lives easy, I can always find more clients, but I can’t replace the people I love.
  2. It helps to beat deadlines, so I can be available when someone needs me and don’t have to worry about work if a crisis arises.
  3. My lovely cat provides entertainment, affection (really!) and a sense of being important in another life that keeps things in balance.

Top 3 suggestions for authors/clients you work with

  1. Trust my skills and experience.
  2. Respect boundaries on time and access.
  3. Enjoy working together to make your projects their best.

Setting and communicating these guidelines makes life easier for both editor and client.

Top 3 suggestions for new editors/freelancers

Network by joining and being visible in professional associations! Commit to constant learning. Look beyond book publishing for projects/clients.

  1. It isn’t enough to be a “chequebook” member of an association; membership only works if you put something into it. You can learn a lot from lurking in discussion groups and attending events (virtual or in person) without saying anything, but networking is a two-way street and only yields benefits when you go beyond that level of involvement.
  2. Language, culture, geography and more are constantly changing, so we need to keep up to do our best work for our clients.
  3. Nowadays, there are editing opportunities in a wide range of projects, so if book publishing isn’t working out, start looking elsewhere.

Bonus — One recent industry trend that inspires you

Increasing recognition in self-publishing that professional editing is not just useful but essential to a successful book.

I enjoy working with self-publishing authors and expect to see more and more editing opportunities from that sector. The trick is finding the ones who respect our skills and are willing to pay what we think we’re worth.


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