2013 – Week 6 and a tiny little rant

Welcome to Newsletter number 6.

Ok, let’s talk about editing first. I’ve been making progress in weird and wonderful ways, so I can happily report that there is a good chance to finish the current edit on Tuesday. That should give me two whole days off (whoop!) before I start again.

I’ve decided to be a little more specific about my TBR, too. So, here’s what I’m reading now: Seven Point Eight – The First Chronicle, by Marie Harbon. I’ve also got the Second Chronicle to read, and then I’ll review them both. After that I’ll be reading Evans Light, Tara Fox Hall and Carrie Rubin’s books.

A few new things I’ve looked into this week, one of which stayed with me, for all the wrong reasons. I happened over a linkedin article on the importance of proper editing – on the author’s part – and accreditation – for editors, cover artists, formatters, etc. Not surprisingly, up popped a … person … who stuck on a link to the sfep (yes, that is the way they spell it, all hip, you know, in lower case). For the less informed, sfep stands for the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. This is a UK organisation – and I’m absolutely sure there is at least one for each country with more than ten citizens to its name – which welcomes members, for a small fee.

You could use your cash for purchasing questionable memberships, or you could just ... you know ... do as above
You could use your cash for purchasing questionable memberships, or you could just … you know … do as above

Now, I understand the importance of belonging to a recognised body of experts, something to help you prove your expertise in a certain field, if you can’t show it through … er … work itself. Believe me, I do get it. In times gone by, I paid a whole week’s wages (after-tax) for an annual membership to another such ‘professional’ organisation, as this was required by my employer. It was that or go find another job.

What really gets on my pip, however, is the inflated usefulness of such titles and their secret society exclusivity status. That, and the knee-jerk reaction that I can see in this country to establish such a thing in pretty much any field one can dream up.

I looked around the sfep site in an attempt to ascertain its usefulness. Despite my alarm bells going off at the bold recommendation to join now so you can get 14 months’ membership for the price of 12 (if they’re so amazing, why do they need to offer deals?), I kept going until I exhausted all options.

In brief, what would be the benefit to me as an editor? Do I get some sort of certificate? Well, no. When you get down to it, after many years and a lot of money I would receive the equivalent of an A-level in English. Got that and more already. Will they help me find clients? Hell, no. But for my GBP 98 plus GBP 30 processing fee plus GBP 3 VISA fee I get a badge to stick on my site for a whole year. Yippee!

What would be the benefit to an author looking for an editor? Hmm. Unknown. Except you’d be conditioning yourself to the idea of paying exorbitant fees. There’s a table of suggested fees for copy editing and proofreading and editors are encouraged to use it; sfep doesn’t look kindly at members who undercut the others. The question of fairness doesn’t seem to even enter their minds! All I can say is if you have that kind of money, you can probably buy Penguin, and then you needn’t worry about anything else. Guys, don’t do it! Look around. Test the market. Ask yourselves this: how many highly-acclaimed books have you read and loved? How many movies that sweep all Oscars would you actually pay to go and see?

If you care to waste a little time following the sfep link, you’ll see what I mean.

Still… Before I go, let me extend you this amazing offer, exclusively to you, my followers. For a small fee of only GBP 1000 per year plus GBP 50 processing fee (I’ll waive the paypal charges because I love you), you can purchase membership to my Minecraft Chocolate Cake Club. For your efforts, you’ll be able to use the following badge and receive monthly recipe ideas for the most amazing cakes ever (and they are amazing because, in true sfep fashion, I say so!). In time, I will offer courses that allow you to acquire totally useless qualifications, and then you’ll be so much more important than your fellow human being.

THE CAKE IS A LIE (but it tastes good)
THE CAKE IS A LIE (but it tastes good)

9 Replies to “2013 – Week 6 and a tiny little rant”

  1. It seems that all professions are plagued with the same dilemma. One of the worst i encountered was during the 20 years i owned a photo studio. They have echelons of associations that you ‘have’ to belong to, and none of them amount to a hill of beans. I May, however, be interested in your chocolate cake club. But alas I have learned, I would need a sample first. How well will it holg up on a postal voyage, across the Atlantic pond?

    1. Oh, good. Two members, plus moi! This is getting fun! I see what the attraction is now – in setting up exclusive clubs. Thinking… thinking… I might have to start up a couple more. 😀

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