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Society for Editors and Proofreaders

(31 Posts)
solidgoldbrass Mon 20-Aug-12 16:25:03

Has anyone joined this organisation and is it any use?

solidgoldbrass Tue 21-Aug-12 09:09:41

Bump, must be a few editorial types on here...

YouBloodyWolf Wed 22-Aug-12 04:20:04

It was mentioned here by a proofreader, which is encouraging!

CharlieMouseWillDoIt Tue 11-Sep-12 15:15:29


Yes I can recommend the SfEP. I joined when I first went freelance a couple of years ago. I let my associate membership lapse when DD was born, but will definitely re-join at some stage.

You start off as an Associate. To become a fully-fledged member you have to have a certain amount of editorial experience - this is based on a points system and you earn points from training/in-house experience/freelance work etc. Each week (or maybe fortnight) there is an "associates wanted" list where members sub-contract out work. I've not done this as an associate, but it seems to be an excellent way of getting experience and building up a contacts list.

Once you are a fully-fledged member you can advertise on their website. When I worked in-house at a publishing company, the SfEP website was my first port-of-call when I needed to find a freelancer.

Hope that helps!

TalkinPeace2 Tue 11-Sep-12 21:59:18

I have RW friends who are members - it has rather a good FB page if that's worth anything !

PiedWagtail Thu 13-Sep-12 14:24:04

Yes, I have just become an Advanced member smile <proud> It's really helpful. I also run a local group and we meet every 2 months.

It has an online Directory that members can advertise in, and that's how I get a lot of my work.

Are you an editor/proofreader/thinking about going freelance?

PM me if you'd like any more info!

Bundlejoycosysweet Wed 19-Sep-12 14:51:42


Just wondering if I could add a question to this thread! I am a freelance writer and editor mainly working in non fiction publishing. What kind of contacts or work have you got through the Society? Just wondering if it is worth me joining...


PiedWagtail Wed 19-Sep-12 18:11:47

Hi Bundle!
To give you an idea, I took out an entry in the SfEP Directory in February and since then have had about £6K of work from it - about 15 enquiries, most leading to jobs. Who do you mainly work for? I'd like to get into non-fiction too!
hth? PM me if you have any more questions smile

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Wed 19-Sep-12 18:20:53

I work sort of freelance in scientific and technical proofreading (get all my work through an agency). I'm wondering if this might be a good way for me to get some more work in?

Could anyone with experience offer their opinion?

Thanks smile

PiedWagtail Wed 19-Sep-12 19:36:14

Hi Occam,
Absolutely! The SfEP has a membership tier structure so you have to get points from various categories to become a member (as opposed to Associate, which anyone can become - but you can't advertise in the Directory) such as number of hours worked on editing/proofreading, client testimonies etc. For Advanced membership you need to get more points! I'd recommend them. Great organisation.

If you join you can also join SfEPline which is an online forum where you can ask questions about any aspect of being freelance/work and someone will have an answer for you...

Bundlejoycosysweet Wed 19-Sep-12 19:52:25

Thanks for the extra info pied, very useful.

Can I ask what kind of editing or proofing you do? Trying to work out if the society will expand my non fiction options or offer other avenues to try.

So hit and miss being a freelance, I have been on maternity leave for last eight months so just trying to get back in the game and find some new contacts.

PiedWagtail Wed 19-Sep-12 19:57:11

A bit of everything Bundle - adult and children's fiction, undergraduate textbooks, medical textbooks, computer manuals, self-publishing authors, etc. I think the Society should definitely expand your options - many publishers etc look there first for a freelancer.

I know - it's either a feast or a famine. Got offered a big copy-edit on Monday - new natural disasters textbook. Took it on and spent two days working on it. Had to turn down another job I was offered yesterday. Then today the disasters author decides he's not finished working on his manuscript and has taken it away so - poof! - my two jobs have vanished. Gah.

Amnewtoallthis Thu 20-Sep-12 09:37:19

Hi all - I'm a journalist - finance and business with health and lifestyle experience, I've also been a news reporter and have written a few books. I've seen your posts and PiedWagtail's advice has inspired me to join - only becuase I've just been a health writing contract and I like the training course they offer.
Good luck to all of you! And thanks to the OP. I don't need to get my mojo back now (earlier post!)

PiedWagtail Thu 20-Sep-12 12:56:27

Excellent, Newtoallthis! Have a look on the SfEP website and see if there's a local group that meets in your area - that is great for possible job offers, networking and chatting to other editors/proofreaders/indexers smile

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Thu 20-Sep-12 14:52:46

Thanks very much PiedWagtail. I'll definitely have a look.

issimma Thu 20-Sep-12 15:09:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PiedWagtail Fri 21-Sep-12 16:18:37

But there are other ways to get points, though, aren't there Issimma?

MegBusset Fri 21-Sep-12 16:23:44

Sounds interesting - I have been editing/proofing magazines for 13 years, how would that translate into points?

PiedWagtail Sat 22-Sep-12 09:37:41

Well, anyone can join as an associate. You have to get 25 points to apply to be an ordinary member - it's 1 point per 100 hours worked. You can also get 5 points per testimonial from a referee (max 10 points). You also have to have some points from recent training (in the last 3 years) from a recognised accredited source - ie SfEP, PTC.

The SfEP website says: 'To become an ordinary member, you must be able to show evidence of competence in copy-editing or proofreading. Each application is awarded points for:

training (attendance at courses and conferences)
completion of the SfEP mentoring scheme
experience (hours spent proofreading or copy-editing)
references (up to two references from clients or employers).

Although an application may include all these elements, the only mandatory component is training.'

Have a look at the website! Are you freelance? How is it going?

issimma Sat 22-Sep-12 10:33:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MegBusset Sat 22-Sep-12 10:42:03

Their whole business model will be based on getting people to pay for their courses etc. Basically you are paying for advertising in their directory, in a really faffy and roundabout way. The more I look at it the less it appeals to me - I have been proofing for 13 years but only doing odd bits of freelancing in the last 4/5 years while the DC are at home and learned my trade on the job so wouldn't qualify for professional membership despite years of experience, without paying out loads for their training hmm

PiedWagtail Sat 22-Sep-12 23:01:45

Issimma - if you feel you have a case to become a member/advanced by another route than having all the points in the way the SfEP wants, then you can contact them and explain that, and they will look at individual cases to judge each on their merits.

PiedWagtail Sat 22-Sep-12 23:05:47

Meg - actually, as someone who has been a freelance editor/proforeader for years, it is a relatively easy career for someone to rock up in, say, 'yup, I'm a proofreader' because they can spot typos hmm, and they may want to become an instant member of SfEP.

The current membership structure is the best way of 'upholding editoial excellence' and imposing some sort of standard on an industry in which it is easy to claim competence where you have none. If you have been proofing for years you only have to get 6 points - iirc - of training, which is not that expensive - and is also tax-deductible.

As I said to issimma above, if you feel you have a case to become a member/advanced by another route than having all the points in the way the SfEP wants, then you can contact them and explain that, and they will look at individual cases to judge each on their merits.

NellyJob Sat 22-Sep-12 23:12:48

I set myself up recently as a proofreader/editor, mostly for overseas students and translators, and if I wasn't competent I wouldn't have any repeat business or recommendations, which I do. I must find out more about this organisation.
Are you representing them PiedWagtail?

PiedWagtail Sat 22-Sep-12 23:18:44

No, not at all!!! I just seem to be defending them here smile. Of course, many editors/proofreaders manage fine without the SfEP but, as well as being a source of potential new clients, it's also a source of new contacts and friends and answers to tricky editing questions (SfEPline and forums, local groups). I find it valuable. That's all!!

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