What is copyediting?

Copyeditors primarily review content for correct use of grammar, syntax, sentence structure, and ease of understanding for readers. For content that could cause readers to have to mentally back-track to understand (which happens in everyone's writing!), copyeditors ask for clarification or provide suggested revisions for the author.

Copyeditors are not proofreaders. Copyediting can involve rewriting or offering rewritten content suggestions, as well as fact-checking, contacting sources for additional information, and so forth.

A copyeditor's goal should be to preserve the voice and intended meaning of the author and include only necessary additions or suggestions. Copyeditors may pair-down text (delete or reword content to tighten meaning) when asked to help reach a specified word count. For book copyediting, copyeditors also review electronic documents for formatting and placement correctness.

Editors (as opposed to copyeditors) may complete the same review functions as a copyeditor, but also help with content creation (ghost-writing or adding in additional content or clarification when needed), editing for style or assisting writers with developing ideas, as well as provide additional direction for the author if the content isn't hitting the mark.

What's a content marketing consultant? What's included in those services?

You've probably heard the phrase, "Content is king," and if you're a business looking to add this kind of marketing to your toolbox, I can help you get started—confidently.

A content marketing consultant will help you formulate the right kind of plan, SEO keywords, voice, feel, and in-house style guide for your content based on your target audience.

I'll help your business establish its own style guide and content templates, an organized process for writing, editing, and publishing, as well as your "voice" before you start utilizing content marketing (or help refine and re-establish your existing voice/tone). I can help coach your business to use the right social media posts on the right platform at the right times to promote the content you worked so hard to create.

Content marketing consulting is intended to be contract-based work done from the ground up, helping you build your foundational content strategy. However, if you've already attempted content marketing and need to get organized or refine and re-establish your voice, style, and approach, I can help!

Why is editing important?

People are more educated than ever. Whether you are working on your first ebook, developing product descriptions for your online store, creating regular content for your blog with a large following, building a website for your business, or publishing a magazine, readers will notice mistakes in content (whether those are simple grammatical mistakes, or larger mistakes such as not obtaining permission for quoted material or checking a fact before publishing).

Unfortunately, mistakes can lessen credibility or professionalism. Readers (whether in print or on the web) appreciate and trust clean, correct, and well-developed content.

What do you base your rates on?

I base my rates on industry standards. For many clients who have not hired a freelance or contract worker before, it is important to understand that freelancers account for their own taxes, health insurance, office equipment and supply costs, as well as sick and vacation time. I also base my rates on past client feedback and my experience level. If you are looking for more information regarding industry standards, check with the Editorial Freelancers Association or read this helpful article.

Your services include "writer/blogger coaching." What is that exactly?

I am happy to provide my clients with personalized coaching on their work. Coaching includes creating a personalized guide or commentary for my client that can be used as personal reference material to improve future writing, supplied by me. The personalized guide or commentary is based off of material submitted to me for review. The guide highlights specific, routine errors and how to resolve them, guidance on writing improvement for your target audience, as well as recommendations for helpful resources and references tailored to the writer's needs. Although I cannot make a guarantee of a specific level of improved writing - and improvement is the responsibility of the writer - this service can assist those looking to build their own writing skills for their blogging business or long-term writing project.

Sometimes, it just isn't in the budget to have every blog post or manuscript page edited by an expert in the early stages of a writing project, and I get that. Coaching is a service that is paired with heavy copyediting and stylistic and substantive/structural editing, and can be based on a small portion of a manuscript or a small set of blog posts, therefore making it more affordable and giving the writer new tools and feedback to write future content with.

Did you grow up wanting to do this for your career?

Not exactly, but kind of. I learned to read by age four, and was writing regularly for sport by age five (I have the 5-year-old me diary entries to prove it -- haha!). I wanted to grow up and be a teacher and a writer, and after graduating college (studying business as the practical-minded woman I am), realized what I loved to do most in the workplace was writing, editing, research, and training. I soon discovered that this is what I was best at, and with enrolling in a Professional Certification of Copyediting at the University of California San Diego, I realized that I could turn these natural skills into a career that I love. In addition to being a freelance writer, I find that being a freelance editor or copyeditor allows me to use those teaching and training skills (helping others improve and learn more about writing), as well as research skills (I learn so much when working with different clients and/or fact-checking content) -- making it an excellent career for me!

Why Better Words Co? Why not just name your web address after yourself, like a normal professional?

You are in the market for better words, aren't you? So, I mean, why not? I do happen to like the site name, you know. And my real name is SUPER common. Have you ever googled "Amanda Johnson?" Just try it! There are just too many of us.

(Full disclaimer: this was never a question I was really frequently asked. Just a conversation I once had with the husband.)