The business of being a freelance editor – 7 July 2017

I’m sharing my knowledge and experience of starting and running an editing business in a one day workshop for Editors NSW on Friday 7 July 2017 in Sydney.

I’m encouraging editors who want to be small business owners to be professional and value their time and expertise. Professional and business development is essential and benefits both editors and their clients. When you need an editor, look for a professional editor who takes their work seriously.

I’m an Accredited Editor and a professional member of the Institute of Professional Editors, through the Editors NSW branch.

For more details on the workshop and to book, go to Events at IPEd.

For editing and writing inquiries, contact me at



Use your table of contents to check consistency of headings

Editors make many choices about style to meet the needs of the audience and the message. While there is not always right and wrong in editing, it is important to be consistent within a document.

A good tool to check consistency of headings throughout a document is the table of contents, which is often generated automatically from the headings used within the document.

Scan through the table of contents and check capitalisation of headings, use of colons or long dashes, use of acronyms, and consistent style, format and level of detail. Check that numbering of headings, whether done manually or automatically, is also consistent.

Check table and figure titles and appendix titles too. Are units of measurement, acronyms, dates or sources used in some titles but not others?

If you spot an inconsistency, change the heading in the body of the document, then re-generate or update the table of contents and check again.

Developing a style sheet is another tool for consistency. Editors use style guides and sheets to ensure consistency in style issues such as spelling, hyphenation, capitalisation, dates and numbers in their editing decisions.

Consistency is part of making it easy for the reader by avoiding distractions.

See my related blogs on:

For editing and writing inquiries, please contact me at

Australian Manual of Scientific Style

A helpful new resource for writers and editors is the Australian Manual of Scientific Style, known as AMOSS. It is an online only resource for the science writing and editing community released by Biotext.

AMOSS brings together scientific conventions for a wide range of disciplines and aspects of communication. It has been researched, written and tested specifically for an Australian audience of anyone writing, editing or publishing scientific and technical information.

It has four main sections: Writing, Editing, Showing and Resources. Writing covers clear language, types of scientific publications and accessibility. Editing covers the basics, spelling and usage, punctuation, scientific terms, discipline-specific issues and references. Showing covers tables, figures, images, infographics and other visual information. Resources has international standards and resources, and Australian conventions and resources.

Throughout AMOSS, there are lots of examples, and tips such as ‘Did you know?’, ‘Caution’, ‘Reminder’ and ‘How to’. It also has a search function, bookmarks and downloadable, printable quick guides.

AMOSS is available at by annual subscription which is $60 for an individual. There is a discount price of $50 for IPEd members who need to login to the members’ section of the IPEd website for the code. Organisation subscriptions are also available. For more information, email

For editing and writing inquiries, contact me at

“Make it easy for the reader” mantra

Here’s a special post to follow up on my recent academic writing workshop.

Remember the mantra of “make it easy for the reader”. Whenever you have to make a decision or choice in your writing, think about what choice will make it easy for your reader, from the big picture of the structure to the detail of word choice.

For PhD students, think of the reader for your thesis as your examiners. While you are doing your research and writing your thesis, your supervisors represent your examiners. Your readers may have many other demands on their time and, while they are experts, they are less familiar with the whole thesis document than you. Make it easy for them to understand what you have done and your original contribution.

Check these other posts that cover issues we discussed in the workshop:

For editing and writing inquiries, contact me at

Editing and International Women’s Day – are they related?

Yes, editing and International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017 are related. Here’s how.

Editing can support the objectives of International Women’s Day to recognise women and their achievements and support equality. Subtle choices in writing and language can have powerful effects on readers. International Women’s Day is a chance to reflect on how language is used.

Editing can help ensure the use of inclusive and gender-neutral language in writing to respect both women and men, reach a wide audience and not offend part of the audience by ignoring them. As experts in language, editors can ensure language is bias-free and respectful. Look at my previous post on being inclusive with gender-neutral language.

A very high proportion of editors are women. There are several complex and interrelated reasons for this including the nature of freelance editing as flexible, home-based work and because women enjoy editing and are excellent at it.

There are many types of editing and many types of editors with diverse experience and skills. Look for one that is right for you and your job – it’s likely to be a woman!

On a similar theme on the behind-the-scenes-but-very-valuable work of women, this time in mathematics, see the movie Hidden Figures or read the book of the same title by Margot Lee Shetterly to celebrate International Women’s Day.

For editing and writing inquiries, contact me at

Is writing your new year’s resolution?

This is the time of year when many people think about what they want to achieve over the next 12 months. For some people, that goal involves writing. It might be a fiction or non-fiction book, thesis, family history, memoir or other piece of writing. A large piece of writing can be daunting which makes it hard to even get started.

Here are some tips.

  • Think about the overall structure.
  • Break the task into smaller pieces of writing.
  • Set deadlines for each piece of writing.
  • Learn how to use features of Word for long documents.
  • Remember the tip: What I really want to say is…
  • Make a start and fix it up later.
  • Join a local writing group for support.

If you want to write, but don’t know what to write about, think about your passions and what interests you. It is always easy to write with passion.

An editor can help you at several stages of your writing, from the initial planning to the finishing touches. An editor can help structure and organise your writing at the beginning, and also copy edit your writing to ensure consistency and clear communication, whatever your audience and message.

For editing and writing inquiries, contact Right with Rhonda at

Getting published in Nature journal

There is much competition to publish research in a leading journal. Congratulations to lead author Giles Hamm, doctoral student in archaeology at La Trobe University, for his recent success in publishing a paper in Nature.

The paper, titled Cultural innovation and megafauna interaction in the early settlement of arid Australia, was published on 2 November 2016 in Nature 539, 280-283. It reported archaeological research at Warratyi rock shelter in the Flinders Ranges.

I worked with Giles on several iterations of the paper including identifying the key findings, interpreting the journal guidelines, advising on the submission process, and editing the text, references and supplementary information.

Publishing in a top scientific journal can be a long process and many people have a say in the final paper including the co-authors (13 for this paper), the reviewers and Nature editorial staff. Don’t be surprised if the paper goes through many changes. Accept that not everyone involved (including the editor) will agree on every word as published.

Consider these tips

  • Read the journal guidelines and follow them.
  • Use feedback to improve the paper.
  • Be prepared for a long process.
  • Persevere.

Read the abstract for free and check full access options here.