Want to add your portfolio? Not so fast.

Newbie editors, as I myself once was, often want to put their portfolio on their website. It seems logical to show everyone what they have worked on and how well they edited it.

Ah, but an editor must be careful. I have read from what some of my more experienced colleagues have written that many authors, simply put, do not appreciate this practice.

Think about it. Let’s say you are an author of a scientific manuscript and you give the paper to a copyeditor to edit for grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and to generally make the writing smoother and make sure the figures and tables prove what they are supposed to prove. The copyeditor does all of these things superbly and hands you a perfect manuscript. You are grateful and pleased.

But then, let’s say that the copyeditor lists your manuscript on their “works edited” portfolio. What does this say?

“This manuscript was written poorly enough that it needed an editor.”

“This manuscript needed help.”

“This author didn’t know how to write, so he/she needed an editor.”

Oh my. Are you angry yet?

This is why I personally asked my webmaster to remove the “Works Edited” page and link from my website this week. I’m not about to alienate my clients and former clients. That would be a very dumb move, to say the least.

I now prefer to rely on testimonials in order to say how talented I am as an editor. Those remain on my site and speak volumes to the excellence of my editing. Some of my colleagues insist on using a person’s full name and affiliation, for they say they it gives more credibility than simply using the name “Suzelle F.,” for example. I respectfully disagree. Having learned my lesson regarding the portfolio, I believe privacy is key. That’s why I prefer “George J.” to “George Jones, Professor of Biochemistry, Duke University.”

If you are an author who appeared on my now-defunct “Works Edited” page, my profound apologies go out to you. I had no ill intent, but I was wrong.

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