Editors’ and Proofreaders’ Alliance of Northern Ireland (EPANI): How We Got Started

The Editors’ and Proofreaders’ Alliance of Northern Ireland (EPANI |www.epani.org.uk) turns six in May of this year.




It was originally set up in 2011 as a local group for editors and proofreaders based in Northern Ireland because geographically we weren’t best placed to take full advantage of what the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP | www.sfep.org.uk) in the UK offered and what the Association of Freelance Editors, Proofreaders and Indexers (AFEPI | www.afepi.ie) offered in the Republic of Ireland.



Averill Buchanan tentatively approached freelance editors and proofreaders in Northern Ireland in the hope of establishing a regional branch of the SfEP, a professional group which would support the needs of editors and proofreaders, promote the work they do and offer an online directory for each editor and proofreader to advertise their services.



In the six years since its inaugural meeting, EPANI has increased its numbers significantly. We now have fifteen freelance editors and proofreaders in our online directory with new members coming on board regularly. There is a healthy interest from newbie proofreaders who are welcome to attend our meetings to learn more about who we are and what we do.



EPANI is run by Averill Buchanan and she is supported on a consultative basis by a core group of EPANI members. The main aims of the organisation are to establish and maintain high professional standards in editorial skills in Northern Ireland, and to make it easier for publishers, businesses and writers/authors to find the right freelancer for their projects. We have close links with the SfEP in the UK and AFEPI in the Republic of Ireland, but we stand alone as an independent group of editorial professionals.



All EPANI members are required to apply to join. Each application is assessed on evidence of high-quality training and/or editorial experience of some kind. Some members have come from an in-house background working for publishers, others are from academic backgrounds or have worked in an editorial capacity outside of the publishing industry.



We encourage our members to keep up to date with relevant training and to undertake continual professional development as they are able. We keep members informed of all training opportunities with the Publishing Training Centre (PTC), the SfEP, Publishing Ireland (PI) and the Irish Writers’ Centre (IWC) so that they have the opportunity to participate in high-quality, industry-recognised training.



For publishers, independent authors, businesses, organisations, state bodies, designers, students – anyone who uses our services – the online directory is a particularly useful tool for sourcing the right freelancer for each project. Aside from editing, proofreading and indexing, most of our members boast other related skills, such as advice and consultancy services, copywriting, design, ebook formatting, literary agenting, project management, translation and writing. They also cover a diverse range of specialisms and subject knowledge, and work on different kinds of text: for example, academic, autobiography and memoir, business, educational, ESL, fiction, Irish language, law, public administration and website copy.



EPANI members meet quarterly as an opportunity for the group to touch base with colleagues and discuss issues relevant to work. Meetings are also an opportunity for newbie members to draw on the collective wisdom of the group and have any of their questions answered. On occasion the group participates in training with an expert in their field: for example, marketing, and there are further training sessions in the pipeline for later in the year. We also hope to have an EPANI blog up and running by the end of the year. This will be a chance for each of our members to showcase their specialisms and provide more information for prospective clients.



We look forward to EPANI growing in numbers and stature and providing many more years of professional editorial services to clients in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the UK and further afield.



I began training as a proofreader in 2013, and one of the first things I did was to go to EPANI meetings. It was a great support to have other editors and proofreaders to talk to and learn from. I completed the PTC’s Basic Proofreading course in a year and set up my company, ProofreaderNI, shortly after. Since then I have added to my training by completing copy-editing courses run by the SfEP and the PTC as well as online editing and developmental editing courses with the PTC.



When I first began working clients contacted me sporadically – as with most new businesses – and there were periods when I had less work than I would have liked. At this stage I was lucky to have the support of other EPANI members who were able to put my name forward to clients as an alternative proofreader if they were fully booked. As time has went on my business has gone from strength to strength and I now have my own portfolio of clients – a mix of independent authors, businesses and students – who I offer proofreading, copy-editing and developmental editing services to. I’m happy to report that my schedule is full and at times booked a few months in advance.


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