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I’ve been thinking about a business idea

I’ve been thinking about creating a service offering for people writing about programming on the web: editorial services.

I’m not sure how it’d work yet, but here’s what I’m thinking as of right now:

What most authors need is someone to give their writing a once-over, a sanity check… someone who can say “I don’t know what you’re trying to say here,” or even “this isn’t clear enough to be effective.” Maybe the person reviewing it could even offer advice, like “you need to make your point earlier in the text, because most readers won’t get far enough along to benefit from what you’re saying.”

Sometimes writers need copy editing – fixes for grammar and spelling – and sometimes they need technical review – someone to actually validate that what they’re saying is even valid.

I was thinking of offering my services mostly for that first type of editorial service: someone who reads the content, and actually considers what kind of response the text creates.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t offer copy corrections (“You are, using too, many, commas, in, your, text”) or that I wouldn’t point out programmatic errors where I have knowledge and experience…. but the primary point would be to offer advice on flow and effective prose.

I’d have to be able to refuse some content: if someone says something factually incorrect or misleading and insists on it, well… I’m not willing to associate my name with something that lies to its audience. I’ve never been willing to do that before, and I’m not willing to do that now.

I don’t know yet how I’d negotiate with content authors, nor am I sure what pay scale would be involved.

What do you think? Would this be something you’d be interested in exploiting as a service, and if so, what kind of price point would you like to see?

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • V C February 23, 2019, 1:41 pm

    I think this is great – not a tech writer, but a tech editor?

    I wrote most of this, http://docs.mbake.org and I’m writing an advanced docs. Is this something you’d help with? It is not a small investment in time.
    I think some kind of hourly rate + large escrow upon completion.

    • jottinge February 24, 2019, 4:56 pm

      That’s EXACTLY one of the kinds of things I had in mind, actually.

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