“The Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger” – David Attenborough


Larger than the Great Wall of China, and the only living thing on earth visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef almost escapes description. Its scintillating beauty, whether photographed, filmed, or for those lucky enough, glimpsed up-close and underwater, is a testament to the vast diversity of life with which we share our planet.

And now we face a future without it.

It probably won’t be news to you that the Reef’s destiny hangs in the balance. Whether it’s reports of the potential impacts of coal mine developments, 2016’s global coral bleaching event, or UNESCO’s admonishment of Australia’s efforts to protect perhaps our best known World Heritage area, there’s a lot to keep up on.

Here’s a rundown of three key recent developments:

Legal challenge to Adani coal mine relaunched

A well-publicised court case, led by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), has sought to challenge a huge coal mining development proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin. The basis being that burning coal and climate pollution is inconsistent with international obligations to protect the Reef.

Adani’s Carmichael mine, if built, would be one of the largest coal mines in the world and would release more CO2 emissions annually than Bangladesh with its population of 160 million.

The ACF has argued that then federal environment minister Greg Hunt failed to consider the impact of emissions and climate change on the Reef when making his decision to approve the mine.

The ACF has redoubled its efforts after their case in the Federal Court was dismissed in August 2016, lodging an appeal against the decision in September 2016.

Threatened ‘In danger’ listing by UNESCO World Heritage Committee

Coal developments proposed by the Queensland government led to a warning from UNESCO in 2012 that the Reef risked being listed as a World Heritage site ‘in danger’. The UN body urged Australia to reconsider a coal terminal and port developments proposed on the Reef’s doorstep.

UNESCO has been closely monitoring progress since their initial warning, including an official visit to Australia. In 2015, UNESCO decided against listing the Reef, but said it would closely monitor conservation progress over the next four years.

On 26 September, Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad met with UNESCO officials in Paris to discuss how the state government has progressed in protecting the Reef Amendments to tree-clearing laws that failed to pass parliament. The amendments were intended to reduce polluting land and agricultural runoff, one of the major ongoing threats to Reef health. Tree clearing has more than tripled in Queensland in recent years.

UNESCO said the status of this promise to strengthen land-clearing laws would be reflected as “significantly delayed” in future reports on the Reef. The commitment forms part of the Federal and Queensland government’s Reef 2050 plan.

Worst coral bleaching in history

Adding to pressure on the reef from development and pollution, a strong El Niño heralded what is widely regarded as the worst global bleaching event ever recorded in 2016. Ninety-three per cent of the Reef has been affected, with almost a quarter of its coral killed this year alone.

Some scientists believe it may now be too late for the Reef.

Others hold onto hope, but with the cool pragmatism of those who comprehend the scale of the task ahead. As Attenborough has said, “the resilience of the natural world gives you great hope really. Give nature half a chance and it really takes it and works with it. But we are throwing huge problems at it.”

Attenborough has seen first-hand the impact of these problems. The Reef he first visited 60 years ago was a very different place to today, having lost around 50 per cent of its coral cover in the 27 years between 1985 and 2012 alone.

Current efforts are not enough to save the Reef. More needs to be done, and quickly. Climate change is happening faster than predicted, and other human threats to the Reef like pollution and development continue to grow.


1. Teamwork

No team understands teamwork better than the All Blacks. They know success isn’t about personal glory – rather, it depends on people pulling together with the bigger picture in mind.

But, isn’t content writing a solitary craft? Well, it can be. However, whether you like it or not, as a content writer, you are still part of a team. At The Copy Collective, for example, writers work in partnership with account managers, proofreaders and graphic designers. The goal is to deliver high-quality work for clients, not satisfy our own ‘creative’ urges. So, resisting edits and suggestions for improvement is counterproductive — good content writers keep their egos firmly tethered.

2. Being organised

Focusing on what matters is something the All Blacks do very well. That’s because they are organised.

As a content writer, it’s easy to veer off-track — particularly when home-based. So, it’s important to keep a schedule of work to be done with your deadlines. Though far from high-tech, I use a colour-coded Excel spreadsheet.

Content writers are not athletes (well, maybe at the weekends). However, we must still manage our energy levels. In my case, I find my brain functions better in the morning until early afternoon, so that’s when I write. Other tasks, like following-up customers and preparing quotations, I leave till later. Oh, and though coffee provides a great kick-start to the day, after two or three cups, it does more harm than good. Water is far better.

3. Ongoing learning

If the All Blacks stuck to the  ‘tried and true’ that delivered their first World Cup, I’m pretty sure that today their trophy cabinet would look rather sad. Thankfully (for us Kiwis) they understood that what worked in 1987 could only be effective for so long. The world changes. So, they continually keep up-to-date with new tactics and training regimens to maintain their winning edge.

The writing profession has changed dramatically over the years. And much of what content writers do now, like writing blogs and e-books, was unheard of not so long ago. What does the future hold? Who knows? So, like the All Blacks, we must keep learning.

Thank you customer. You have been charming, friendly, clear in your brief, demanding, unreasonable, confused and ignorant.  Sometimes you are the good fairy of those things; sometimes the other and sometimes all in turn. Sometimes you pay your bills on time; most often you need a friendly reminder.

But, together, with the help of some amazing writers, editors, interviewers, transcribers, designers and project managers, we’ve produced great things.

We’ve progressed international trade, we’ve made information available to millions of people about putting a roof over their heads, food on their tables, wine to gladden their hearts and religion to save their souls. We’ve helped save dying children, pursued better treatments for cancer, blindness, deafness and spinal injury. We’ve helped save the planet – including the whales, wallaroos and wombats. We’ve educated and entertained.  We’ve celebrated growth and development and grieved over destruction. Our words, through you, have become heralds of hope, iterations of innocence and cornerstones of creativity.

Together, we’ve created miracles, one of which is a million dollar business. Over the years, we’ve paid writers more than $3 million dollars, we’ve paid our share of taxes and kept the energy industry afloat (often burning the midnight oil on your behalf).

Thank you. Thank you for the brief, for the opportunity, for the growth, for the employment and for the sense of satisfaction. Thank you for choosing us.

To be a successful freelance writer, discipline is required. Lots of it. You must steer clear of everyday distractions and work as efficiently as possible. Thankfully, there are ‘squillions’ of apps available for freelancers. I highlight five of the best of them in this post.

1. Toggl

‘Time is money,’ as they say. So, manage it wisely. Toggl makes time management easy and it is suitable for most devices. Just type the name of your task into the ‘What are you working on’ box and press ‘Go’ to start timing. Once you’ve finished, you can assign it to a project. For time tracking only, Toggl is free. However, for more advanced features, like setting your hourly rate and creating reports, prices range from US$9 to US$49 per month.

2. Evernote

Evernote enables you to download files, take photos and record audio. It is cloud-based, so you can collaborate with colleagues from anywhere you like. For example, if inspiration strikes while you’re travelling on the bus, use your smartphone to write notes. Then, at the office, use your laptop to continue what you started. Evernote is free.

3. MP3 Skype Recorder

Thanks to apps like Skype, you can meet clients without actually meeting them. It is ideal for interviews and because you can see a person’s body language, better than a phone. I used to record interviews on my smartphone. However, MP3 Skype Recorder enables you to interview and record all on the same device.  It is free to use but only suitable for Windows operating systems.

4. Dropbox

Dropbox is perfect for collaboration. At The Copy Collective, we use it to share files between freelancers all over the world. Dropbox is cloud-based and will sync to all your devices, which means you can access files anywhere, anytime. And if your laptop is stolen or breaks down, you won’t lose important information — it’s all up in the cloud. The basic version of Dropbox provides 2 GB of space and is free. You can get more space and features by paying up to US$15 per month.

5. Hootsuite

For many, myself included, social media is useful for self-marketing. However, if you’re not careful, it can gobble up time like there’s no tomorrow. Hootsuite enables you to manage social media activity more efficiently. It offers a multitude of functions, however the number available depends on whether you are using a free or paid version. These include posting across several social media sites simultaneously, scheduling posts, creating reports and tracking topics of interest.

Work smart

Freelancing is ideal if you can’t or don’t want to work standard hours or like variety in your work. The trade-off is you have only yourself to rely on. You must work smarter, not harder. Thankfully, the apps featured in this post and many others, will help you do just that.


There’s a certain irony to a small business wanting to create a more ‘officey’ environment. I mean, isn’t it most people’s dream to work from home? The idea of rolling out of bed straight onto the job (or perhaps not even leaving your bed) is just the best.

So why would having a physical office be so important to a growing business? Does it really make any difference? Can’t we all just work remotely?

Here are 10 solid reasons why a growing business needs an office:

1. It’s a place to call HQ

Employees find it reassuring to be able to relate the business they work for to somewhere that actually exists – the ‘home’ of their company. It’s also a central place where they know their boss either works or is invested in, and that builds confidence in your brand from the inside.

It also makes you as the boss feel more aware of your colleagues and employees.

2. It’s a recognisable ‘precinct’ for customers

Customers – and even more importantly potential customers – might find it hard to grasp the idea of a company with no permanent office or base. It reminds me of that scene in the 2005 movie 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell and Catherine Keener. Keener’s character runs an eBay store but still has a shop front.

Ok, it’s a lampooned scenario but the logic is, in fact, pretty good. People like to be able to see the bricks-and-mortar side to a company they’re about to spend money with.

3. Business-level infrastructure and connectivity

Think about how many times your internet drops out or slows down at home –even if you’re on a pretty good plan. Offices as a general rule have better connectivity. If all of your employees have access to this, it’s going to make them happy and work quality’s going to improve.

4. Professional image

This is an obvious one, but it’s true. Having premises that allow you to give interested parties a physical address sets the bar for your professionalism and how serious you are. It also suggests that there’s a level of success that requires you to have an office in the first place.

5. A place to interview and host

An office gives you facilities where you can stage interviews with customers or job applicants, and also a place to hold events. Meeting in a local café is great – especially for an informal chat – but it’s not ideal if you’re looking for somewhere that makes an impression.

Your office will also give you a place to meet with team members to thrash out ideas and keep the ball moving.

6. A place to meet, collaborate and build a community

Never underestimate the power of the water cooler. One of the biggest perks for employees is the sense of community they can find at work. People meet their life-long best friends at work. This is so much less likely to happen if you’re all working remotely.

7. Fewer distractions

Working from home has a reputation – and it’s only mostly true. Having worked from home myself, I know how household chores can interrupt the workflow, and people tend to think you’re just at home and not actually working.

An office environment keeps you focused – although you have to be careful not to make the office too austere at the same time.

8. Accountability

The office gives people boundaries. It’s a work environment above all else. Working from home or other places around town, the lines get blurry. I love this funny BuzzFeed article on the problems working from home  – and though meant as a joke, it’s only funny because there are elements of truth to it.

I’m allowed to say this because I work, predominantly, from my home office.

9. Productivity

Most people (and before you get over-excited, that really means ‘not everyone’) find working at their desk in an office environment more productive. You feel more professional.

It’s a bit like when you have casual Friday or when you dress up for work, your whole tone feels different. Above all, an office gives you a time to get up and start work and – just as importantly – a time to knock off.

10. Communication

There’s nothing quite like face-to-face communication. I wonder if any technology will really ever be able to beat it. Seeing and speaking to the person you’re working with or a client you’re working for makes everything real and makes more sense of what you’re doing. It’s the easiest and quickest way to build rapport.

So what’s the big news with The Copy Collective HQ?

cat overflowing a box and text about moving offies

As you’ve probably noticed, The Copy Collective is growing all the time. We’ve got to the stage now where we need a space in the heart of Sydney to make ourselves more available to our staff and our valued clients.

And we want to do all the stuff we’ve listed above, of course! So as of 1 June, we’ll be combining our Sydney offices into one single central location at 185 Elizabeth Street.

We’ll be perfectly located right opposite Hyde Park, near several train stations and a wealth of bus routes. Plus our new building has a stunning heritage façade, which you might just find us standing outside admiring during our lunch breaks!

We’re so excited about this move, and we can’t wait to watch our business develop and bloom in these amazing new premises.

Here’s our new address for you to update our contact details now:

The Copy Collective
Suite 317, 185 Elizabeth Street
NSW 2000

It was an evening like any other. I certainly wasn’t expecting to become a Facebook sensation. It was Tuesday, 19 May 2015 and I needed to change my bed. As usual, my greyhound Bruce was sound asleep on the bed and showed no signs of moving. It was such a common occurrence that I had developed a way to change the bottom sheet without kicking Bruce off.

Given his levels of resistance, it’s actually easier to work around him than it is to get him off the bed. A friend found our ‘slip and slide routine’ to be very amusing, and so he convinced me to post a video of Bruce and my bed-making antics on Facebook. And so on the night of 19 May, I did.

Launch 19 May – night

Once I had captured the moment, I posted the video on my Facebook account and I shared the video with the Greyhound Adoptions WA Facebook page around 8pm that night. Their organisation had rescued Bruce in 2012 and I adopted him shortly after. I know they’re always keen to receive updates about their rescue dogs, and I knew they would appreciate the video. Greyhound Adoptions WA reshared the video the next morning. What I didn’t anticipate was how much everybody else would love it…

The next day:

Wednesday, 20 May 6pm

8 hours after Greyhound Adoptions WA reshared the video

Views: 4,500

Likes: 102

The day after that:

Thursday, 21 May 7am

Views: 40,910

Likes: 262

Bruce the video star was spreading like wildfire! Greyhound enthusiasts had shared it with other greyhound rescue groups and related pages. Then there were other dog lovers in the general public, who had shared it with their immediate networks. Facebook was sending me multiple notifications per minute as people liked, shared, and commented on the video.

Three days later:

Sunday, 24 May 10am

Views: 200,000

Likes: 998

In a week Bruce had travelled from his quiet home in Perth, Western Australia to all the continents except Africa and Antarctica. I couldn’t read half the comments made on the video because they were in languages other than English.

The wind-down

After a week or so, the frequency of notifications had slowed down. And after a fortnight it was a trickle. By this stage I had uploaded the video to YouTube and while it didn’t go viral like on Facebook, it had still received a healthy number of views (260 or so) for a non-celebrity like me. On Wednesday, 3 June the video was shared with another private greyhound rescue group and the notifications kicked up again.

The results… for now

A month after I had shared Bruce’s video, I still receive several notifications a day – sometimes per hour.

As at 21 July the video has had:

Views: 248, 700

Likes: 1,160

Shares: 4,448

Comments: 270

So, this is what I have learned from watching my video go viral:

  1. “You can’t bottle lightning”

Simon Low from Buzzfeed said “you can’t bottle lightning” when he was discussing #thedress. However,  while you can’t predict what will go viral,  you can make a ‘best estimate’ and tailor your videos and other content to be ‘viral friendly’. You need to have a plan for riding the wave of popularity. Read this great analysis from the team at McCann who created the award-winning Dumb Ways to Die campaign.

Have your team ready to respond to comments – learn from me and make sure some of them speak languages other than English!

  1. Make people laugh

If you can make somebody laugh, you will instantly build a positive and lasting emotional connection. One wouldn’t expect a campaign about safety around railway tracks would go viral – it’s a serious topic, it’s on behalf of a government body – these aren’t the elements that we associate with wildfire social media contagion. But the Dumb Ways to Die campaign demonstrates that with great content – and making people laugh – you can achieve anything.

What sets laughter apart from other emotional expressions is that it is uniquely human and contagious.

When a person finds a funny video they share it with their friends.

The greyhound and the bed-maker is a heartwarming double act. There’s this gangly dog, in a coat, who is just too chilled out to move. There’s me – the bed maker – just getting on with the job. Clearly, I’ve long ago given up trying to move that dog off the bed. It’s a classic animal video and it makes people laugh.

You may think that your content isn’t going to make people laugh. Seek inspiration from this great board on Pinterest.

  1. Know your audience

Sharing a heart-warming video of a greyhound to a group of ‘houndies’ (what greyhound rescuers like to call themselves) is going to be a success every time. Houndies are known for their obsession and evangelical commitment to the breed. Houndies are a niche audience, but they’re a niche audience with connections that spread far and wide. From there you only need a few more dog lovers, animal lovers and people who just need a break — to share as well.

So what demographics or characteristics do your audience members share? The people at Sprout Social are experts in demographics. Learn from them!

  1. What’s your aim in #goingviral?

What do you want to achieve with #going viral? While making the video was the spur of the moment thing for me, by posting it I hoped to achieve a few things.

Firstly, I wanted to thank Greyhound Adoptions WA. By adopting Bruce, we gained a much-loved member of the family. That wouldn’t have been possible without the hard-working team at Greyhound Adoptions WA. By sharing the video with them, I was giving them some content that they could share and re-post on social media. Our good friends at CoSchedule write some great posts on reposting and repurposing content.

Greyhound Adoptions WA has approximately 130 new followers on Facebook and at least half of those liked the page during the week following Bruce’s video. Hopefully, those 130 people are actively engaging with the group by adopting, fostering or donating – I wouldn’t know. If Greyhound Adoptions WA has good social media analytics and can track their audience they will know what they actually gained. Analytics are crucial when it comes to #goingviral. If you’re the type to yawn at data, try reading this delightfully-short guide to social media ROI from Buffer.

Another thing I wanted to achieve was to make people laugh. While my video of Bruce may not have achieved anything tangible knowing that some 200,000 people were motivated to watch it and most likely ended up laughing is a great feeling. We know that laughing is beneficial, so try to make people laugh – even if only for a few minutes.

Finally, I also hope the video has helped to dispel the common myth that greyhounds are a high maintenance, energetic pet. While Bruce might need some maintenace – he needs a coat and clean sheets on his my bed – you can clearly see he’s not the type to be jumping up and down. Educating an audience is a great aim for social media content.

Plan in advance what you want to achieve – is it brand recognition, a change in people’s behaviour, audience education or some other call to action? Whatever your goal, make  your call to action (CTA) clear and compelling.

  1. Satisfying your audience’s needs is important

It’s not always about money. I was able to share a touching moment with my dog and show how Greyhound Adoptions WA’s rescue efforts and hard work really do pay off. It was a small thank you to the people who work to save greyhounds from pointless death.

Watchers of the Bruce the video star were all left with a warm fuzzy feeling and, in that respect, my video did exactly what it was supposed to.

I didn’t make any money from my video of Bruce. I have no merchandise to sell and I haven’t angled for any sponsorship deals with pet food companies. As far as I know, Greyhound Adoptions WA didn’t receive a sudden influx of donations or people wanting to adopt rescued greyhounds (although they may have).

However, the video brightened people’s lives, it gave Greyhound Adoptions WA some great content to repost and it made me realise that while making the bed with an unresponsive greyhound is just a typical part of my week it’s interesting to hundreds of thousands of other people.

What interests your audience? What would make them feel good about watching, reading or listening to content that you have created? What need do they have that you can satisfy?

So what is next for Bruce?

Bruce won’t be getting a Facebook page or YouTube channel any time soon… Mostly he will be sleeping and eating, sleeping some more, and walking… and sleeping, and looking awkward, then sleeping again… Honestly, he’s the laziest greyhound that’s every lived. But I wouldn’t replace him for the world.

One of The Copy Collective’s contributors Monica Seeber smoothly navigates the world of freelance
copywriting and shares her top four reasons for loving it with The Copy Collective.

Once upon a time there was a young, ambitious copywriter. She sat in her home office and stared at the computer.

She said, “Monitor, monitor on my desk, of all the copywriters who is best?”

“Not you, my dear,” the monitor replied, “you have far too much admin on your mind.”

The young copywriter frowned because she knew it was true. With her client meetings, invoices and deadlines – her hours were too few.

“I shall go and search across the land,” she cried, “for somebody who will give my business a hand!”

By chance one day she entered a competition to describe in 25 words her business ambition. Imagine her surprise when she won a trip to NYC… and so began the dream of what could be.

“Aha! I shall form a copy collective! Of all the best writers I shall be most selective.

There will be workshops and training and networking too,

With a social purpose, client focus and lots of fab wine and good food!

We will have clients who love us and so tell their friends,

And their friends will be clients so the fun never ends.”

And from that day forward The Copy Collective did grow, with a passion for great copy that is not just nouveau.

Okay. So maybe that’s not exactly how The Copy Collective was formed…

Except for the competition – that happened. But it is true that our “commander in chief” – Dominique Antarakis – wanted The Copy Collective to be everything that she didn’t have when starting out.

Dominique told me” “Not every writer wants to run a business, market themselves, or attend networking junkets. For new copywriters, knowing where to start can be especially difficult.”

4 Reasons I love to write for The Copy Collective

I’m a freelancer who’s just starting out, and I can tell you that The Copy Collective has been exactly what I have needed. And these are just four of my reasons why:

  1. No admin just writing… phew!

The Copy Collective takes the administration out of the business so that copywriters like me have the head-space to just write. I get to work on a mix of interesting projects and receive useful feedback and ongoing training so that I’m always learning and improving my craft.

So it works! Dominique and The Copy Collective team – Maureen, Naomi, Marina, and Susan – get to focus on great client service, and I get to focus on creating great copy.

  1. Connecting with The Collective is good for everyone

Freelancing can be a lonely job so The Copy Collective organises little get-togethers across Australia. Dominique is a big fan of social networking events and encourages people to “get out and about” when they can and to talk about the work that they’re doing.

I work from home because logistically it’s most practical, but it does mean you have fewer sounding boards. It is so important to spend time talking to other people who understand your work and in the end it helps us all to work even more effectively.

  1. Words with heart

One of the things I love about The Copy Collective is there’s a lot of heart: The Copy Collective doesn’t just look after contributors and clients, but also the wider community. When I first started, I was sent a lot of (e)-paperwork about different policies.

Dominique told me: “We have a lot of policies; things like our environmental policy, disability action plan, policy around the way we support and collaborate with Indigenous Australians.”

But these policies aren’t just filed in some folder on Dropbox and forgotten about; they truly influence how The Copy Collective operates. The Copy Collective actively supports people with disabilities – by employing them and by working on their behalf. Staff and contributors volunteer and provide pro bono assistance for community groups like Attitude Foundation and Culture is Life.

Notice our swanky new website? It’s fully accessible so people with disabilities or those who use assistive technologies can access our content as easily as anybody else.

  1. More than words

I love working with a group of people who throw their passion into creating exceptional work, but aren’t just focused on profit margins and billable hours.

And I know you will enjoy working with The Copy Collective too – whether you’re looking for a great copywriter, or you are a great copywriter.

The team at The Copy Collective work to have a positive impact in everything we do. We want to leave the world a better place.

And because climate change is a thing… we’ll stay off the roads and work at home. In our pyjamas. It’s just one more reason why I love working for The Copy Collective.

But don’t just take my word for it, check out the video here from CEO Dominique Antarakis and subscribe to The Copy Collective blog.

Maureen Shelley continues with Part 2 of “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author” series, putting the spotlight on masterful editing.

An editor will proof read and undertake more substantive edits to a work. Proof reading involves checking for semantics, typographical errors and grammar.

In searching for grammatical errors, an editor will consider a range of issues; and here are just some.

  1. Has the writer made the correct use of definitive articles?
  2. Has the writer avoided confusing modifiers?
  3. Are the subject and verb in agreement, in grammatical terms?
  4. Has the writer used appropriate punctuation within sentences?
  5. Does the sentence structure follow established principles? If not, is it appropriate for the work?
  6. Are there any spelling errors?
  7. What is the style for capitalisation and is it used consistently?
  8. Are thepro-noun (s) /noun (s) in agreement?
  9. Has the writer split their infinitives?
  10. Are there squinting or limiting modifiers used?
  11. Are there incomplete comparisons in the work?
  12. Has the writer solved the great gerund mystery?
  13. Are there redundant pairs?
  14. Has the writermisused or confused ‘like’ and ‘as’?
  15. Has the writer taken the long way round to say something? That is, are there circumlocutions?
  16. Has the correct punctuation been used, particularly in regard to question marks?
  17. Has the writer confused self and personal pronoun use?
  18. Is there pronoun and antecedent agreement?
  19. Has the writer used double negatives?
  20. Has the writer begun or ended sentences with a conjunctive?
  21. Is therecomparison of absolute adjectives?
  22. Has the writer used unbalanced quantifiers or dangling modifiers?
  23. In regard to semicolons; are they used correctly?
  24. Is the verb form use appropriate?
  25. Has the writer used prepositions at the beginning or end of sentences? If so, is that appropriate for the text?
  26. Has the writer indulged in noun strings?
  27. Do the verb tenses agree?
  28. Has there beenmisuse of subordinate or subjunctive clauses?
  29. Is there incorrect pronoun case agreement?

Apart from resolving these issues, an editor will also (if paid and directed to do so) check facts, gain permissions where appropriate, insert appropriate references (biblical, geographical and literary are just a few), index, mark citations, insert footnotes and endnotes and create a glossary.
In addition to all of this, a good editor will ensure that a work is readable and makes sense. That it has a consistent structure and sensible flow or a cohesive narrative.
A good editor is worth their weight in gold. (And they will check for clichés too!) Oh, and they will eliminate exclamation marks or ‘screamers’ as they are known. 

 June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

The Copy Collective’s resident wordsmith Maureen Shelley begins her new blog series: “10 Simple Steps to becoming a successful published author.

Today she unpacks the curious concept of proof reading.

What is proof reading anyway?
Proof reading is when a manuscript or other written work is submitted for checking of semantics, grammar and typographical errors.

This can be done by a proofreader or editor or, if you can’t afford a human, you can use online programs such as Grammarly. We use Grammarly to check for originality to ensure that work submitted for proofing or editing by us isn’t plagiarised by the writer.

So what are you trying to say? 
What programs such as Grammarly can’t do for you is actually understand what you are trying to say when your subject and object aren’t clear and then to suggest appropriate edits.

If as a writer you can’t even afford Grammarly, then you should at least use the spell checker in your word processing program.

Tips for top-class grammar when using Word:

  • Set the language to your choice first – Australian English, UK English or US English – they will all give slightly different suggestions for spelling of words. Then do a “select all (Control A in Word on a PC) and then F7 for a spell check. Do this repeatedly – you will be amazed at how many errors you find.
  • Turn on recommendations for grammar as well as spelling. It will come up with a few suggestions that you will need to ignore but should find most glaring errors.

June is Author’s Month to celebrate the launch of Red Raven Books. Red Raven Books is the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective. Find out how we can help you today.

Guest Blogger Graeme Innes gives a bird’s eye view from yesterday’s book launch of “Hope in 60 Seconds”, Red Raven Book’s first title in print.

Crows Nest is a great place from which to launch a new bird.  So Northside Community Church in Crows Nest, NSW provided an excellent launch-pad for Pastor Graham Agnew’s first book, Hope In 60 Seconds.
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It was fitting that the driving force behind the launch, boosting the book into the stratosphere of sales, was new publishing house Red Raven Books, the imprint arm of The Copy Collective.

When I endorsed Graham Agnew’s (or GA to his friends) book I said:“A super-charged buzz is on every page of Graham Agnew’s Hope is 60 Seconds. The messages throughout this book will renew your hope. I’ve been riveted by his sermons, loved his radio messages, and his book will make a permanent appearance in my daily reading.”

In launching the book, world-renowned author and speaker Michael McQueencommented the book contains 100 stories each with that vital ingredient of hope. He smilingly encouraged those at the launch to buy and read the book, as one of the stories could be about them.

I met a man walking away from the launch with five copies of the book in his hands.  In response to my question about his bulk purchase, he said “I’ve bought five of these books to give to five kids.  If one kid reads one story in the book, and it changes their life, it will be $100 well spent.”

Hope in 60 Seconds can be obtained in print through Graham Agnew’s website: It will also be available as an E-book in July 2014.

June is authors month at The Copy Collective. We will profile new titles published by Red Raven Books; the publishing and imprint arm of The Copy Collective.


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