Notes on DL brochures

How words sit on the page is so important in these haven’t-got-time-to-deal-with-hard-to-read-stuff days.
The Feisty Empire copywriter and editor, Paul Hassing, shares his thoughts.
Enjoy!

Practical Copywriting Tips

An easy way so see DL. An easy way so see DL.

A client asked me to edit a brochure and suggest a format.

Once I saw what the brochure was for (promoting a course to time-poor execs) I suggested ‘DL’ format.

So what the hell is DL? Swim Communications puts it very well.

In short, DL is a third the size of A4 (the size you stick in your printer).

My client, who had imagined an A4 format, asked why I preferred DL.

So I said:

‘DL is easier and cheaper to post to many prospects.

Also, I feel it looks more businesslike.

If you go flat A4, you’ll either have to post it folded anyway, or add cardboard to stop it getting mangled en route.

But if you hit a non-A4 letterbox, it’ll get mangled anyway.

Not a good look for your brand.

Folded DLs are also easier to hand out at events,

View original post 150 more words

Featured Image -- 576

What is the Value of an Editor?

Thanks to some fellow editors who introduced me to Molly McCowan’s blog, I want to share this with you, to encourage you to really consider just how much a good editor can add to your writing.

Enjoy – and remember to leave a comment.

Molly McCowan - Inkbot Editing

(Via Boston Public Library on Flickr) “Women in Quiet Study,” 1850–1920 (approximate). Courtesy of Boston Public Library on Flickr.

About a year ago, I was at a networking event when I was approached by a middle-aged man wearing a black sport coat over a lightweight periwinkle sweater. He was holding a glass of red wine in one hand, and the word “author” was written in blue Sharpie underneath the neatly printed name on his name tag. My name tag didn’t sport the word “editor,” so for the moment I was free to learn more about him before divulging my career.

We shook hands and exchanged small talk for a moment before I asked him what he was currently writing. He responded, “Oh, I’ve been working on my second novel. It’s part of a fantasy trilogy that I’ve been writing for the last few years.” I asked him about his first book and discovered that he had…

View original post 1,166 more words

Another quick tutorial on apostrophes…

So beautifully explained by Australian author, Amanda Curtin, this tutorial will help you on your quest for clear, sharp writing.

looking up/looking down

iStock_000018482964XSmallThis especially quick tutorial is to clarify a single apostrophe usage that often confuses writers.

In manuscripts—and even in print—I frequently see the following:

Let’s go to the Molloy’s house.

Grammatically, this means:

Let’s go to the house of the Molloy.

Now, perhaps there is a big burly guy out there who is referred to as ‘the Molloy’, as in ‘Give that burrito to the Molloy before he chews someone’s arm.’ In that case, the above would be correct. But what the writer usually means is:

Let’s go to the Molloys’ house.

meaning:

Let’s go to the house of the Molloys. [a couple, or a family, or the three banjo-playing Molloy sisters]

If, on the other hand, the writer is referring to a particular Molloy:

Let’s go to the house of Molloy. [e.g. Joe Molloy]

then it would be:

Let’s go to Molloy’s house. [singular Molloy; no definite article]

Again…

View original post 14 more words

Learning more than editing at an editors conference

Institute of Professional Editors (Australia) conference, April 2013

Living in Queensland all my life, I’d not been to Fremantle (Western Australia) before this conference. And what a beautiful place it is – definitely a place to revisit and explore.

This is the report I wrote for Offpress, the Queensland Society of Editors’ newsletter.

As I reflected on my conference experience, it wasn’t so much the content of the sessions that stood out. Rather it was a deepening of my respect for our profession, our editing elders, our language.

I had the privilege of listening to and speaking with some of those who have contributed so much to IPEd over so many years. Despite their long years of volunteering to create IPEd and the accreditation program, they remain committed to our profession, its growth, its future, its promotion. As a member of the Accreditation Board, I want to respect and honour them by making sure we give editors the best way to grow professionally – and by ensuring that we’re not undoing any of our predecessors’ wise decisions.

Keynote speakers, Roly Sussex, Nury Vittachi and Don Watson so brilliantly and entertainingly reminded us of how language is changing, and challenged us, as editors, to remain the ‘guardians of our language’. As Don Watson said, ‘Our brains are suffocated by today’s careless language’, so we need to help writers achieve clear writing.

Carmen Lawrence, in her keynote address, and Bev Port-Lewis, in her welcome to country speech, highlighted our connection to and respect for place. Whether that be a geographical place or an intellectual place, our sense of wholeness and our ability to move forward are damaged when we lose those contacts.

I felt almost discombobulated as I listened to those who spoke about the future of digital publishing, and who, implicitly, honoured the pioneers of the medium. And declared that there are still many opportunities for pioneers and innovators.

As for this ‘digital (r)evolution’, as Dr Agata Mrva-Montoya so elegantly describes these times of ever-changing computer technologies, just what did I learn? While I will always love reading the traditional way, and will always cherish my experiences with hold-in-my-hand books, I am excited about the possibilities offered by digital publishing.

Selena Hanet-Hutchins described the journey of ‘the book’ from marks on the ground to tell stories, to boxing stories up in a book; and how a communal exercise became a solitary activity. And now the digital age, with its possibilities for community to once again participate in story-telling.

She contends that traditional publishing focuses on retail results, where the reader is largely overlooked. Digital publishing considers readers, and welcomes feedback and interactivity. Traditional publishing plans the workflow, from the author’s concept to publication, as a straight line, with little input from readers. However, the relationships and workflows in the digital arena are far more convoluted.

Readers will increasingly become part of the workflow – and more than just Kindle or Kobo comments. We can expect to see interactions between publisher, writer, reader, marketing and social media.  ‘Just like we “mash up” music, so we will “mash up” books’, Selena suggested, and described The People’s E-book software, where you can drag and drop pages to your art book.

As editors, our role in these emerging formats will include coaching writers, helping them keep their expectations realistic, and rebriefing them throughout the process. We will learn to value individuals above processes and tools. As serialisation and subscription models evolve, we will find ourselves having to edit ‘chunks’ of text, rather than the full manuscript.

Dr Angelo Loukakis, from Australian Society of Authors, asked ‘How will the rise of digital and self-publishing affect the quality of publications and reading ability?’ What a big question! Angelo assured us that ASA promotes editing as a vital part of their process, and described two of their services: manuscript development and editor-driven mentorships.

His statement that ‘editing is a craft and a human service’ is a great reminder of our editorial role.

Jasmine Leong, editor of CSIRO’s Double Helix publications, described some of the challenges she and her team meet as they bring science and maths to young people. How do you speak to children without patronising them, yet without presenting concepts that are too complex? How do they enthuse children about science topics other than animals and space? She reminded us that, although the publications are for children, the readership is much broader – parents enjoy the magazines, and teachers value the professional currency of the information.

For me, her question, ‘How can content be repurposed (making information available on many platforms)?’ raised further questions about how we, as editors, need to adapt to the requirements of these differing platforms, and how we need to help writers understand and modify their approach or style.

Staying within the digital flavour, (not surprisingly) I attended Dr Katy Mc Devitt’s session about editors who blog. Katy recommended The Proofreaders Parlour  and Chapter 3 of Yahoo! style guide: defining and developing your voice, and reminded us that we need to give our readers a reason to contact us. I was quite chuffed that Katy shared my comment that ‘not all editors are cardigan-wearing, tea-sipping, introverted pedants’, especially when it did the Twitter rounds.

As I’d been unable to attend the freelancers’ workshops, I enjoyed the Q&A session that replaced a session whose speaker was unable to speak. Some interesting questions were raised: what do I call myself? (‘editorial consultant’ as Sarah Fletcher prefers), and what does my email signature say about me? (Patrick Horneman encouraged us to use an international phone number – OK, I don’t have overseas clients just yet, but what’s wrong with suggesting that is a possibility?) Panel members reminded us of the necessity of dealing with the decision maker when setting up a project. Patrick spoke briefly about income protection and public liability insurance – yes, we should have them.

Pam Peters highlighted the importance of editors being able to ‘edit for readers anywhere and everywhere, without disengaging them’.  We need to consider geographical, stylistic, age and gender preferences, as well as variations in spelling, capitalisation, word and sentence punctuation, grammar, vocabulary and collocation. She recommended the Macquarie–Australian Broadcasting Commission project Australian Word Map as an essential reference.

Our profession is alive and well, an exciting one, full of potential (regardless of the publishing mechanisms), one that will always add that ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the written word.

Are we ready?

 editor at work


editor at work

Are those pesky little words confusing your readers?

Jumping to conclusions

Recently  I heard an ad on the radio. It started with ‘We only sell the best brands of vehicles’. Being the sceptical, persnickety editor that I am, I expected the ad to continue on to talk about their after-sales servicing and who knows what else.                    But, no, it seems that they sell. That’s it. It would seem that they didn’t mean ‘We sell only the best brands…’ as I had anticipated. I had to silently apologise to the copywriter – and cheer that the subtle difference that the placement of words like ‘only’ was recognised. Think about the differences in meaning in these sentences.

  • Only I ate the cakes. [Everyone else ate biscuits.]
  • I only ate the cakes. [I didn’t bake them.]
  • I ate only the cakes. [I could have eaten biscuits as well.]

Does it matter?

How clearly do you want your message to be broadcast? Do you want your readers to easily understand what you’re telling them?

I think it does: I always aim for clear, engaging and sharp writing, whether I’m writing or editing.

What do you think? Have you had to think twice about a message because of the placement of one of those pesky little words?

Perfect Pages sharpening your writing

Perfect Pages
sharpening your writing

Brief guide to starting your editing business

So, you’re wanting to start your editing business. Have you considered these points?

Make sure you seek out professional advice – financial, accountancy, legal, insurance. You can learn from other business people, but please, always check it out with a professional. Think about the business systems you’ll need – marketing, customer relationships, record keeping, IT.

Develop your brand – website, marketing materials, business cards. While you can do much of this yourself, input from a web developer and graphic designer will make all the difference. (We know how editing sharpens writing: professional input does the same to your business and brand.)

Join a professional editors’ group. (In Australia, it’s the state societies of editors and the Institute of Professional Editors). Attend meetings and workshops; ask questions; don’t be intimidated by your inexperience – we all had to be the newcomer. Finding someone who’s willing to mentor you is an awesome experience; some societies have specific mentoring programs.

Some writers’ groups welcome editors. It’s a great opportunity for you to hone your editing skills and your ability to talk to writers – tact, tolerance, clear communication. Be aware that some groups don’t particularly appreciate input from a ‘non-writer’.

What sort of editing do you want to do? Fiction (what genre?), non-fiction, technical, academic, business (small, private, public, corporate?)

Who is your ‘ideal’ client? What are their needs, and how can you supply the solution?

Where are you going to find your clients? Unless you already have contacts from your previous employment, finding good leads can be challenging. Always have your business cards with you, ready to share. Attend networking groups, perhaps a local chamber of commerce, but make sure you go more than once – it’s about building relationships, not getting work. List your business on the many on-line business directories – most offer free basic listing.

Explore social media – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and numerous other on-line groups let you build relationships outside your face-to-face networks. Consider asking a copywriter if you can edit or proofread for them. Reading articles or blogs in your areas of interest may give you the opportunity to offer the author editing services.

Do you have the personality to be a solo-preneur editor? Often it’s just you and your computer, which can be very isolating.

Do you have the support of the significant people in your life? Running a business is a challenge, but made easier when you know others are encouraging you.

While this may all seem a bit overwhelming, it really is a rewarding experience. Consider the implications, be brave and enjoy!

What else can you add to these suggestions?

Editing is more than fixing grammar and punctuation

Editors do more than fix your grammar and punctuation.

Before submitting her promo for a local paper, a client asked me to review what she’d written.
(Business name has been changed.)

Are you feeling stressed and need some time out to relax?
Do you find it hard to get a proper night sleep?
Are you struggling to get out of bed to start your day?
Do you lack the energy you once had when you were younger?
Do you suffer from chronic pain?
Do you find your body is unable to keep up with your current lifestyle?

Stop Suffering – call us today and book in for your Complimentary Health Assessment (valued @ $80) and walk away with some great tips to get yourself back on track and living life to the full (no obligation to book further appointments). So what have you got to lose? Better health?

 Our teams of experts offer you guidance, support, advice and most importantly – motivation – to help you achieve the results you want!

 Have you tried our Fitness Classes – Pilates, Boxing Fitness, Functional Fitness. We cater for all ages and fitness levels.

 If you prefer to exercise in the comfort of your home – why not purchase one of our “Home Fitness Packs” starting from $80. There is no need for expensive home gym equipment!!!

 Do you have Type II Diabetes?

 Why not join us at our next Type II Diabetes Education program commencing 13th July. It is a 4 week program that shows you how to make positive changes in your current lifestyle to better manage Diabetes and we will also give you the tools and knowledge you need to take control of your Diabetes – and take control of your life.

 Want more information about our Fitness Classes and upcoming workshops? Join our mailing list, phone or email us.

 

 

Here’s how it read when I sent it back.

Are you feeling stressed and need some time out to relax?
Do you find it hard to get a proper night’s sleep?
Are you struggling to get out of bed to start your day?
Do you lack the energy you once had when you were younger?
Do you suffer from chronic pain?
Do you find your body is unable to keep up with your current lifestyle?

 Stop suffering – call the team at Northside Health Fitness and Rehabilitation today and book in for your complimentary Health Assessment (valued at $80). You’ll walk away with some great tips to get yourself back on track and living life to the full (no obligation to book further appointments). So what have you got to lose? Only better health.

 All of us at Northside are experienced and qualified experts. We offer you guidance, support, advice and most importantly – motivation – to help you achieve the results you want!

 Come and try our fitness classes – Pilates, Boxing Fitness, Functional Fitness. We cater for all ages and fitness levels, and you’ll benefit from the fun and motivation that come with exercising in a group.

 If you prefer to exercise at home, purchase one of our Home Fitness Packs starting from $80. There is no need for expensive home gym equipment!!! And we’ll make sure you know how to use the pack so that you will get fabulous results. 

 Do you have Type II Diabetes?

 Join us at our next Type II Diabetes Education program commencing 13 July. It’s a 4-week program that shows you how to make positive changes in your current lifestyle to better manage diabetes. We will also give you the tools and knowledge you need to take control of your diabetes – and take control of your life.

Want more information about our fitness classes and upcoming workshops? Join our mailing list, phone or email us.

 Editors are far more objective about your writing than you are:

we can see both the ‘big picture’ and the details,

and look at your work from the readers’ point of view.

Some tips:

Always have an ‘outsider’ review your writing before you publish.
A trusted colleague can do that for you, but you’ll be even more confident that your writing is clear, engaging and sharp after a review by an editor.

Did you know that an editor can make such a difference to your writing?

More editing tips available at Perfect Pages.

Desolie Page, Accredited Editor

Perfect Pages
sharpening your writing