Present solutions: tips for editors mid-assignment

The best copy editors are thorough and punctual, and they build relationships before, during, and after the assignment. Here are some tips for building the relationship mid-assignment.

Imagine if your mechanic emailed you every time she found something wrong, and then said, “What should I do?”

If you’re copyediting a manuscript, gather all your queries into a single email rather than emailing the managing editor several times a day. Better yet, request a short meeting. You’ll be an expert on the text, so present solutions where possible.

Know where your responsibilities begin and the substantive editor’s responsibilities end—instead of “fixing” something substantive, query it.

If you’re new to the house, you can avoid asking a lot of questions by reviewing the style guide and completing a few pages of markup for review before starting the assignment.

No news is bad news. Let the managing editor know how the work is coming along, and when you’re planning on delivering the assignment (definitely on time, but ideally a day or two early).

If your work is about to go over budget, check in with the managing editor, instead of sending a “surprise!” huge invoice later.

Managing editors always want to hear from you, but they’re busy. Make mid-assignment comms count, be respectful, and they’ll remember you for the next assignment.

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