I've been doing some editing in a voluntary capacity and some paid work (scientific editing and proof reading) over the last few years and want to bring in a bit more work. My question is, do you find it helpful to belong to a society or organisation of editors? And have you done any of their courses? Are they worthwhile?
Sorry you haven't had a reply until now. I'm probably not going to be much help. I've been an editor (environmental field mainly) for a long time. You'll have found SfEP. Someone on here has mentioned another organization, but I can't remember the name. I had a dip in work flow and looked into whether joining SfEP might increase exposure. I wasn't clear whether my experience would allow me to skip some of the training. If it didn't, I'd have to cover a lot that I don't need - subject areas to some extent, but also hard-copy editing and proofing, which I haven't needed (thank goodness) for decades. But if I were allowed to skip the training, being one of their listed editors might give the impression that I have a wider competence than I actually have. I let the idea drop. I have no doubt that the training would have improved my competence in useful areas, but there was too much that I simply didn't want to be bothered with. I would have liked to do their organizational course, but was too disorganized to get around to it! For you, I'd say nothing beats experience (=I've made most mistakes there are to be made), so if you're confident that you know what professional editing and proofing entail, and that you are doing a good job, I would keep on as you are. I've generally got work by word of mouth. When I've applied formally I've often, to my surprise, been snapped up - but not always. If you do join an organization, I'd love to hear if it brings in more work!
The UK's professional organisation for editors is the Society for Editors and Proofreaders - www.sfep.org.uk
There are loads of benefits to joining - editors' forums, local groups, discounts on training, CPD, etc. Browse their website to find out more, and PM me. I'm a member, and find it invaluable.
You join as an entry-level member and are encouraged to upgrade - there are various routes. When you are a professional member, you qualify for an entry in their Directory of Editorial Services - where I get most of my clients.
If you have never done any formal editing/proofreading training then I'd recommend you do - you wouldn't start out as a plumber or engineer without training, would you? Editing is just the same.
I'm not aware of another organisation for editors in the UK - what is it called?
And SfEP's courses are constantly being upgraded to reflect the move from hard copy to online editing and proofing.
SfEP is the only one although I confess I have never got around to joining! It's been on the to do list for years. There are a couple of Facebook editors' groups that are really good - try editors association of earth.