FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q | How do you pronounce Readford?
A | Red-ford (not Reed-ford).
Q | Why do I need someone to edit my written content?
A | It's up to you, and it depends what sort of impression you want to make on your existing and potential customers. In my experience, when there are errors in written material, it looks sloppy and unprofessional. That sends a message to customers that you don't care, or you are too rushed to bother doing a good job. If a picture paints a thousand words, then one hundred poorly presented words paint an accurate picture indeed.
Q | Do you edit to a particular style?
A | I edit using APA 6th. That's the 6th Edition of the American Psychological Association's style guide.
Q | Why do you use APA's style guide?
A | APA is the house style for many Australian and international universities. If it's not an academic piece it's not as critical to strictly adhere to APA style. However, you will find I do love an Oxford comma!
Q | What is the Oxford/serial comma?
A | It's the final comma inserted in a list of three or more items. It is used immediately before conjunctions like 'and' or 'or'. For example: I ate a red frog, a musk stick, and a pink jelly bean.
Q | Why do you use the Oxford/serial comma?
A | Inclusion of the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma) will avoid ambiguity and confusion in your writing. Whilst it's considered critical in academic and technical writing, it is not always considered important in conversational writing. I disagree. You will find that using the serial comma makes reading a piece so much clearer, and if you're not writing for the reader, then who are you writing for?
Example without Oxford comma: "I met my partner's parents, Sue and Elvis." A reader might think that the partner's parents were Sue and Elvis, or they might be confused.
Example with Oxford comma: "I met my partner's parents, Sue, and Elvis." A reader would know that you met your partner's parents, you also met Sue, and you also met Elvis.
Q | Do you edit academic work, such as reference lists, book chapters, or journal articles?
A | I have worked on all of the above. Journal articles and book chapters tend to be about 5-11 hours work, depending on quality and error rates. Five hours would be a fairly high-quality article; 11 hours would be one needing quite a lot of correction (and up to six shots of coffee).
Q | Will you edit my thesis or dissertation?
A | Editing a lengthy Masters or PhD thesis is very time consuming for an editor (e.g. up to 75 hours for a 50,000 word Masters), and correspondingly it is very costly for most students. Based on my experience, my red-hot tip would be to make sure someone edits your reference list. Even the most accurate reference lists are only about 80% correct in line with APA's style guide. Most are much worse. Errors seem to abound, regardless of whether the entries have come from EndNote or not.
Q | I need someone for small jobs. Do you take those on?
A | I'm happy to take on small jobs. For example, some short newsletters might take only 20 minutes to edit. A small job is a good way to put your toe in the water.
Q | How much notice do you need?
A | It will depend on how big your job is and what other commitments I have on. For example, if you want one or two pages edited, I can probably fit you in around other commitments for a fast turnaround. If you have a riveting risk-management strategy--that requires structural editing--you'll probably need to plan ahead.
Q | What is content?
A | It's written information. Plain and simple.
Q | Is content for websites only?
A | Not necessarily. A lot of content these days will become part of a website. However, in general terms it applies to any written content, whether that be a printed brochure, an online newsletter, or a website page.
Q | How do you write content for someone?
A | The key to writing content is in establishing what makes your business tick. A writer needs to look at things like:
(a) what a client wants to achieve; and
(b) who the material is targeted at.
Q | What makes content engaging?
A | Well that's the million-dollar question. Combined with knowing why you're writing and who you're writing for, it requires a dash of the intangible. Some people have a flair for putting words together that will draw the reader in.
Q | Does all content need to be engaging?
A | It all comes back to understanding why you're writing a piece and who you're writing it for. For example, a set of staff guidelines will need to be clear and easy to read, whereas a customer newsletter might be more conversational. Take the needs of the reading audience into account, and be clear on what it is that you want to achieve.
Q | I can write myself. Why would I need a content writer?
A | It's entirely a matter of choice. Some people are really pushed for time, and outsourcing some of your communication tasks can free you up to concentrate on the things you're good at.
Q | What is your favourite type of writing?
A | I love anything that allows me to tell a story. I'm a bit of a people watcher, and I love talking to people and getting to the bottom of what makes them unique. Everyone has a story to tell. Putting a person's story into words is intensely personal and incredibly rewarding. It relates to my love of learning and teaches me to be open to different perspectives and experiences.
PRICING & PAYMENT
Q | How much do you charge?
A | I charge an hourly rate. In my experience, this works out fairer for my clients. Any attempt to derive a flat rate per service, or rate-per-word formula, inevitably involves building in a margin of error, in the event that the editor/writer underestimates the amount of work involved.
Q | Payment options
A | I accept payment, by direct deposit, into my Australian bank account. I also accept PayPal.