Last week, I joined the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. The SfEP is the UK’s professional organisation for editors and proofreaders, and though I’m Irish, my sources told me that this organisation has excellent resources and more opportunities. I took a long time to make the decision, for two reasons. To progress in the organisation, you need to do a lot of training, which is expensive, and I also know plenty of people who aren’t members of an organisation, but are still reputable and get plenty of work.
Still, the advice I received from respected editors burrowed in on me, so during a hiatus last week, I filled in the form. Ultimately, there are three reasons why I think joining the SfEP was the right decision.
Membership will give my editing services a professional stamp. It shows potential clients that I am willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to be a professional editor. Editing is just one of the writing related services I offer, but my ambition is to make it the central one. By displaying the SfEP logo, I can demonstrate to future clients that I will deliver work to the highest possible standards, and charge a fair and realistic price.
However much you may think you know about books and language, there is always more to learn. The SfEP gives discounted training courses to help you continuously improve, and you can also avail of a mentoring service, which gives you the chance to test your editorial skills on an editing professional. I’ll be able to learn more about grammar, applying a consistent style, how books are laid out and how to work well with clients.
To ask questions
I will be able to use the SfEP as a sounding board for any issues I have as an editor, and to ask slightly embarrassing grammar questions without fear of ridicule. There are private forums where you can find discussions about pretty much every aspect of editing. I’ll be able to freely avail of the expertise of senior and experienced editors, and I can use what I learn to edit more effectively.
Are you a member of an editing society? How do you find it? If you’re a writer, would you be more likely to trust an editor who is a member of an editing society, or do you just trust in your good relationship with your editor?