Tag Archives: editing

Editor’s Perspective: The Right Way to Treat Titles

Book TitlesRecently, a client asked for my advice on how to treat book, journal, and article titles in her organization’s communications materials. The question came after some debate within her organization on whether certain titles should be in quotation marks or italicized, and how that formatting would reflect on the organization’s competence and brand.

So what is the right away to format book titles? Well, a post from Writer’s Digest (yes, I did just put that magazine title in italics), has the right answer: it’s up to you, but you (and others at your organization) need to stick with whatever format you choose.

For example, the AP Stylebook encourages using quotation marks for book titles. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends italicizing titles of books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, plays, movies, and TV programs. It also suggests using quotation marks around titles of articles, poems, songs, and TV episodes.

In my experience working with magazine and book publishing companies and university communication and marketing offices, most organizations use the Chicago Manual of Style way for titles, even if they normally adhere to AP style. In fact, all five universities featured in my recent post on editorial style guide examples follow this approach.

It’s okay to have exceptions like these in your editorial style guide. That’s why it’s important to have an editorial style guide specifically tailored for your university or company and the unique editorial situations you encounter.

Overall, what matters more than being right is consistently using the same style (and exceptions) in all of your external and internal communication pieces (website, magazine, brochures, e-mail blasts, etc.). And, if the exceptions are in a written style guide, it helps to have that guide to show anyone who questions your editorial style decisions.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.

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Editor’s Perspective: Why Hire an Editor?

Hire an EditorThe work that editors do is sometimes undervalued. Of course, as a professional editor, I may be a little biased, but if people could see the work that goes on behind-the-scenes—before a brochure, a book, or even a website is published—they would see the amazing contributions editors make. (Heck, before I post these posts, they go through several iterations to get them just right.)

If you’re on the fence about whether to hire an editor for your next brochure, book, website, blog post, or other writing project, consider these five reasons why hiring an editor is worth it.

1. To get a better product and save time. Whatever you’re writing, after you have an editor review it, the copy should be in an even better state than it was before. An editor may even save you time in the long run, since you don’t have to spend time reviewing your writing for the umpteenth time.

2. To catch errors you might miss. This may seem obvious, but good editors have a keen attention to detail. They see things the writer may not see. With a fresh pair of eyes, an editor will catch any typos you may have overlooked, word usage and spelling errors your word processor’s spelling and grammar check didn’t catch, and gaps in the information presented.

3. To ensure your readers will understand what you write. A good editor will approach your work from the vantage point of your target audience. For example, if you’re writing for teens, but reference the “Saved By The Bell” TV show or “CD-ROMs,” an editor can kindly suggest using more appropriate examples the audience can relate to. If you’re writing for genealogy beginners and you use the acronym FHL, the editor may suggest spelling out the full name of the Family History Library on the first reference so the reader knows what the acronym means.

Plus, if a sentence (or paragraph) just doesn’t make sense, an editor can suggest a way to rewrite it so readers can understand what you’re trying to say.

4. To focus your writing. Sometimes when I write, I do so much research and get so much great information that I just want to put it all in one article. It’s difficult to leave great stuff on the cutting room floor. But overloading a communication piece or article with too many words or too much information could dilute your message and its impact.

An editor can take an objective look at what you’ve written and then suggest places where you can make it more concise, where the focus needs to be shifted to have a greater impact, or where you can re-organize paragraphs to help the copy flow better.

5. To ensure consistency. You’ve seen me blog about consistency and editorial style before, but this is key in creating professional-quality communications materials or publications. For example, do you want to use email or e-mail? Should quotations be attributed with said or says? Do you capitalize job titles?

An editor can make sure the voice and style is consistent throughout your digital or print publication.

Interested in hiring an editor? Contact Dana’s Creative Services to discuss your project and your editing needs.


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.

Editor’s Perspective: 3 Common and Easily Correctable Writing Mistakes

Editing checklistA large portion of the work that Dana’s Creative Services does involves editing other people’s writing. Through editing work for various clients over the years, Dana has noticed many common mistakes that writers at all organizations make. Whether it’s a book project or a marketing brochure, the same mistakes occur.

A quick proofread of the initial draft is all most clients need to correct these common errors (and possibly reduce editing time and cost). So to help clients improve their first drafts, Dana is sharing the three most common writing mistakes and how to easily look for and correct those errors:

Spelling errors. This may sound like the most obvious mistake—even too obvious—but Dana sees spelling errors all the time. Run a spell check of your document before submitting it to an editor. Because spell check isn’t 100 percent accurate, Dana also recommends quickly scanning the document to catch any glaring spelling errors that spell check doesn’t catch.

Too many spaces. Most editorial styles usually require one or two spaces between sentences, but Dana often sees two or more spaces between sentences or even extra spaces at the beginning of paragraphs. These extra spaces can easily creep in, but it’s simple to remove them, too. Just do a Find and Replace in a Microsoft Word document. In the Edit menu, select Find, then Advanced Find and Replace. Insert spaces into the Find field, and then put the correct number of spaces in the Replace field.

Comma placement. AP style omits the comma before the word “and,” while Chicago Manual of Style retains the comma before “and” in a series. If you know your organization’s style, you can do a Find and Replace for , and if you want to remove it, or a space and the word and ( and) to find instances where it may need to be added.

Of course, any editor (including Dana’s Creative Services) is happy to correct these mistakes for you—and also help you perfect your copy to best speak to your target audience.

Image credit: digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


About Dana’s Creative Services

Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. Her clients include universities, nonprofit organizations, magazine publishers, and book publishers nationwide. Dana has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics.

Celebrating Dana’s Creative Services’ First Anniversary

Work Anniversary CupcakeOne year ago today I took a leap of faith, quit my day job, and started freelancing full-time. As a person who is an innate planner, I wondered how I would handle not always knowing which project was coming up next. My one-year experiment has turned out better than I ever imagined.

I am grateful for all the wonderful new clients I have met and all the clients I have worked with on projects ranging from magazine articles, newsletters, higher education blogs, higher education website content, higher education marketing materials, and a nonfiction book.

Thank you to my clients for making the past year great. I look forward to continuing to serve you in the coming year, as well as developing new relationships with new higher education communication and magazine and book publishing clients.

Image credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net