It is hard to describe the giddy joy that I feel this morning. Last night I received confirmation of my acceptance to the highest membership level – Advanced Professional Member (APM) – of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP).
But, while those of you in publishing will already know what an achievement this is – honestly, can you tell how pleased I am? – a lot of my clients are independent authors or academics, who may not be as familiar with the CIEP. So I thought I would write a quick blog about what membership of this professional society means to me.
The need for shorthand
I’ve worked in publishing since 2003. I spent just over seventeen years in-house, worked with three highly respected publishers, yet it was only when I made the decision to go freelance that I realised that the inherent professional status that comes from being directly associated with a publishing house was no longer mine to claim. Yes, I had the skills and the experience, but unless someone was willing to read my CV (and, really, not everyone wants to do that), there was no shorthand way to convey my level of expertise to a potential client.
That’s where membership of a professional editorial and proofreading association like the CIEP comes in. Being professionally registered, and with a chartered institute in particular, signifies to the public a commitment and adherence to professional and ethical conduct. It should inspire trust and confidence and is a mark of excellence in the profession.
And believe me when I tell you that it was a rigorous application process. Applicants for membership must provide extensive evidence of experience and training so potential clients will know that anyone on the CIEP books (ha, ha) will work to a very high standard. Plus, there is nothing more daunting than submitting written material to be assessed by a team of seasoned editing professionals. Though it least it was a good insight into how my authors must feel!
Knowing that the editor being considered for a manuscript has already been vetted should hopefully ease any potential concerns that an author may have. As the CIEP letter of acceptance puts it, ‘you are held to demonstrate a high level of professional competence and substantial experience.’ Commissioning an edit can be an expensive business, and so it is only natural that authors may be cautious (you should be cautious!). But CIEP membership guarantees a high level of professionalism and capability, which should reassure any author that the person they are considering has the skill to do what is required.
Image by Patti Black, Unsplash