You’ve got style

tourist season

Whose style?

Q. Recently a local seminary invited me to do some copy editing. A group of professors plans and writes articles, and the president’s executive assistant coordinates logistics, sending me “the ones that need editing.”

I’m doing my best to determine what they consider good copy editing, but there’s no managing editor, and I don’t communicate directly with the authors. And they are inconsistent. Should I make stylistic suggestions or just take my very generous pay and be happy?

A. I recommend that you ask your contact person if they would like you to create a style guide. After they say Yes, create a brief one and submitting it for review. If the profs care about style but have never had one, they will be thrilled.

If they are not sticklers for stylistic consistency, you will have chosen the style you prefer.

Your suggestion sends the signal that you are a professional editor who cares about their publication. If they accept and use your guide, it’s another way to promote your name – and work ethic.

If or when the relationship ends and they hire a new freelancer, the style guide will help your successor. Its’ a nice way to ensure good will, even after you move on.