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Thread: Editorial Courses / Grammarama / Grammatika.com

  1. #1
    "Sephiroth is my bishie!" CaitlinK18's Avatar
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    Editorial Courses / Grammarama / Grammatika.com

    Hi,

    Just wondering if anyone had any experience working for Grammatika.com. I am trying to get into freelance editing and checked them out...their subscription fee for a year seems hefty and I am wary of subscription-based jobsites, period...but maybe that's just my natural cynicism showing through.

    Thanks for any info!
    I write books. I like pie.

    www.caitlinkittredge.com


  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Well, they’re certainly striving to present a professional front. Personally, I’d want to know what percentage of jobs are writers looking for “professional editing” before submission (i.e., making silk purses out of sow’s ears), versus publishers out-sourcing their copyediting/proofreading (i.e., polishing rough-cut gems).

    Elitist that I am, I'd also want to investigate the integrity of their “certification” process. That is, does “passing” mean perfection, a minimal number of errors, or what?
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  3. #3
    "Sephiroth is my bishie!" CaitlinK18's Avatar
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    Thanks Cao...I was wondering along the same lines.

    Oh well. When I have $79.99 to blow, I'll look into it more thoroughly.
    I write books. I like pie.

    www.caitlinkittredge.com


  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Grammarama

    Recovered:
    06-24-2006, 08:53 AM
    Bartholomew
    Board fanatic

    Grammarama

    http://grammarama.com/

    I thinking about trying to join up as an editor, but I notice that they charge a fee for editors to sign up.

    Er... it seems like a very unorthadox thing, to me. I'd appreciate any input.
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    Rejections since Jan. 2006 - 7.
    06-24-2006, 09:47 AM
    victoriastrauss
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    Sounds like a slightly different version of those outfits that write papers for students too lazy to write their own. Apart from the questionable ethics, there's so little information on the company and who's running it that you really have no way to do due diligence, and to assure yourself that it will actually fulfill its promises. Plus, it looks as if your payment would come from the lazy students. I'd say that odds are not good you'd actually ever see a dime.

    - Victoria
    __________________
    Two of Eight
    06-24-2006, 09:50 AM
    Medievalist
    Dawnolite Bovine Admiration

    They're a thinly veiled term paper mill; I've had two students produce the same paper on Beowulf, after independently working with "editors" at Grammarama.
    __________________
    Lisa L. Spangenberg | Digital Medievalist
    06-25-2006, 12:51 AM
    Bartholomew
    Board fanatic

    Thanks for the tip!
    __________________
    Rejections since Jan. 2006 - 7.
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
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  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I did some checking for Grammarama and came up with some information:
    (1) http://grammarama.com/test.html

    The Grammarama editing test consists of two parts.

    Part I: Designed to measure your ability to correct the grammar and style errors that most commonly appear in student work, Part I of the test is comprised of fifteen multiple choice questions.


    Download Part I


    Part II: By reviewing an actual English 101 student essay, you are asked to show your skill in offering thoughtful and helpful suggestions for broad revisions to content. Your performance in Part II need not concern individual typos and grammar errors; rather, you should only write up a global overview of the student’s work. This evaluation should be no longer than 500 words and may be composed in any format you choose (paragraphs, bullet points, etc.). Your goal is to highlight the high order concerns in the essay. These may include thesis or focus, audience and purpose, organization, and content development.

    Download Part II


    How to submit your work: Download and print Part I (PDF file) and Part II (Microsoft Word document). Complete Part I following the instructions provided on the test page. For Part II, write or type up your evaluation of the student essay. You may make notes on the actual student essay to help the student understand your evaluation.
    Mail both parts of your completed test to:

    Joshua Moser
    GRAMMARAMA
    756 Cambridge Rd., Ste. 10A
    Rochester Hills, MI 48309



    How the test is graded: Part I of the test is worth 15 points. Each question is worth one point. Part II of the test is worth 15 points. It will be graded based on thoughtfulness, clarity, helpfulness to the student, and the overall value of your suggestions. You must receive an overall score of 25 to pass the Grammarama certification test.


    (2) A web search on Joshua Moser led to this:
    Grammatika's parent company, ISATonline (http://isatonline.com/), owned by Joshua Moser, jmoser@isatonline.com, has been in the web ...

    This domain appears to be parked.


    (3) http://editorialcourses.com/about.html

    Grammatika’s online editorial courses were created by an editor with more than ten years’ experience in the publishing world and a web developer with a passion for creativity in online training.

    Michelle Moser began her editorial career as soon as she could read, first circling spelling errors in the newspaper at the age of seven. She has deep first-hand knowledge of the entire process of book production, having worked as a proofreader for both international publishing houses and at printing presses. She also teaches writing at the college level, and her commitment to education and talent for proofreading are married in Grammatika’s online courses. She maintains the highest credentials in the publishing world and continues to circle errors in printed books.

    Joshua Moser provides the technical know-how behind Grammatika’s online offerings. A jack of all trades, he combines his love for the latest technology with his commitment to the arts by designing user-friendly and stylish interfaces. He is an accomplished painter as well as the geekiest of computer geeks, a rare combination that serves to enhance Grammatika’s mission.

    Supporting this team is a base of talented freelance editors gleaned from the roster of Grammatika certified editors. These individuals are called upon to evaluate, add to, and refine each course before it is deployed, ensuring that Grammatika online students receive the knowledge they need to develop their careers.


    (4) http://home.comcast.net/~mi-napo/Jun.htm

    JUNE 2005 EVENTS

    June Chapter Meeting
    Wednesday, June 29, 2005, 7:00 pm
    Program:
    Joshua Moser regarding web sites (awaiting confirmation)
    Location:
    Novi City Civic Center
    (248) 347-0460

    45175 W 10 Mile Rd
    Novi, MI Map

    Chapter meetings are open to regular and associate chapter members at no charge. Remote chapter members and all non-members are welcome to attend at $15 per meeting.


    (5) Appears to be Joshua M. Moser, 32 years old: http://www.zabasearch.com/query1_zab...=&name_style=1


    (6) Michelle Moser: http://editorialcourses.com/discussion/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=4&sid=110477c8bad12de7660ddd57c89a104a

    Avatar All about Michelle Moser
    Facilitator
    Joined: 08 Feb 2006 Total posts: 201
    [8.07% of total / 1.30 posts per day]
    Find all posts by Michelle Moser Location: Rochester Hills, Michigan Website: Occupation: Editor Interests: Contact Michelle Moser E-mail address: Private Message: MSN Messenger: Yahoo Messenger:
    AIM Address: ICQ Number:
    I could only find three posts from her, not 201...


    (7) Michelle is an editor for a publication from Oakland University in suburban Detroit and was listed as a grad student (English) in another issue:
    www2.oakland.edu/oakland/ouportal/file_repository/NSP/NSP815.pdf




    HTH, Joshua Moser lives in suburban Detroit. I was giving this outfit some (meaning, a little) consideration for copyediting revenue. However, it doesn't appear to be a going concern. However, I could be proven wrong.

    Perhaps, somebody has more data.

    BTW, does anybody know a reputable outlet for such freelance editing work? I'm primarily a technical editor/copyeditor but am also a TW.


    Gary Schnabl
    (SW Detroit)--two miles NORTH! of Canada--Windsor, that is...

  6. #6
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Grammarama is a paper mill. It's thinly disguised, but having had students submit papers they purchased I assure you, that's what it is.

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  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Playing devil's advocate here, specifically just who is doing what regarding ginning up plagiarized essays? Is it the Grammarama system with full knowledge, or are there "editors" using Grammarama for leads who do the essays? It's too easy to just paint an accusation with a broad brush.

    My knowledge of this organization is meager and only of a day's duration. If it weren't a local concern and if the OP didn't pose the question, I probably would have already lost interest. It really doesn't seem to be too far different from the rampant use of tutorial services lately, often paid for with funding by the public schools or libraries in many communities. Only that here, it's obviously an upstart private operation, and it probably isn't doing so hot financially.

    I might drop the principals an email or two and see how they respond. However, in the interim, if you have more details about any specific scamming, by all means present them.
    Gary Schnabl
    SW Detroit--two miles NORTH! of Canada--Windsor, that is...

  8. #8
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Oh, it's not just individual editors; the students coughed up the entire email thread. It's a paper mill. It was designed to be a paper mill.

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  9. #9
    grammarama
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    Grammarama is not a "Paper Mill"

    I would like to set the record straight -- Grammarama.com is not a paper mill. I own and operate the website.

    We administer a proofreading test for certification that includes a full essay on Beowulf -- prospective editors (who register and pay an annual fee) must download and proofread the essay and mail it to us for review. It sounds like a one or more people who registered for certification decided to steal our test essay and use if for their own -- or they submitted it to an actual term paper buying service where it is getting more play. We do not allow the general public to view the test containing the Beowulf essay, so whoever used it clearly violated our company's terms of use as well as the copyright on the essay itself.

    Grammarama is not a term paper mill at all -- rather, we're simply a service that allows students to connect with professional editors who can act as writing mentors. This has always been the intention of the site.

    We do not condone nor participate in the trafficking of term papers. It's incredibly unfortunate that this happened, and I would love to know how the Beowulf essay (which is part of a longer paper my wife wrote in grad school; we trashed it a little to create the test) became so popular. There are clearly dishonest students everywhere, which is as appalling to us as it is to you. I hope they are at least fixing the typos before turning it in to teachers like Medievalist, but I can imagine they don't bother.

    Joshua Moser
    jmoser [AT] isatonline.com

  10. #10
    grammarama
    Guest

    Please Explain

    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist
    Oh, it's not just individual editors; the students coughed up the entire email thread. It's a paper mill. It was designed to be a paper mill.
    Can you please explain what you meant by this post? We would love to see the actual email thread that you are referring to, as it obviously not from someone in our company.

  11. #11
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Medievalist appears to have logged off already, grammarama. I'm confident that when she returns she'll be happy to discuss her concerns with you.

  12. #12
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grammarama
    Grammarama is not a term paper mill at all -- rather, we're simply a service that allows students to connect with professional editors who can act as writing mentors. This has always been the intention of the site.
    I don't wish to sound confrontational, but the Dean of Students office considered Grammarama a paper mill, my colleagues refer to Grammarama as a paper mill, and the language on your site is very similar to that on known paper mills, since they pretend to be editing services.

    You may perceive yourself as a genuine editing service. There's a problem in that whatever your intentions are, you have no control of what students do, and very little over what your independent editors do. There's another problem in that in a great many schools, using a paid professional editor is a violation of school ethics policies, and not only because editing can quickly become re-writing. There is nothing to stop a student from clicking "Accept All Changes," and never even rereading the paper post edit.

    If you're serious about this business, I would, if I were you, begin by marketing yourself to school administrators and faculty, both in high school and in higher education; you could, for instance offer to work with them as a contractual partner, or submit papers to the school's anti-plagiarism service.

    Simply in contacting faculty and administrators you would be distinguishing yourself from competitors and from less well-intentioned businesses. They might then refer students to your service, where appropriate, and work with your editors.

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  13. #13
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grammarama
    Can you please explain what you meant by this post? We would love to see the actual email thread that you are referring to, as it obviously not from someone in our company.
    First, even if I had the email still, I couldn't show it you; not only would the Dean of Students object, it would be a violation of the student's privacy rights.

    It was not so much the contents of the emails, as the contents of the attached MSWord files; it was clear that the editor had written entire paragraphs and that the students merely accepted the emendations and additions.

    That's more than editing. If in fact this is merely two students exploiting a well-intentioned service I would be delighted, but the presentation of the service and the site itself is strikingly similar to professional paper writing sites--which always claim, perhaps falsely, that they merely edit.

    You might want to add content to set yourself apart from paper sites, since currently there's really not much to distinguish your service from less legitimate services.

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  14. #14
    (Graeme Cameron) three seven's Avatar
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    Possibly a naive question, but if it's a proofreading test that's the issue, why not distinguish yourselves by using a paper that's not on any curriculum? Something about the inside of a ping pong ball, perhaps...

  15. #15
    alsafi
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    I'm awfully suspicious of the fact that their editing test isn't available until you've paid them $80. And are they the same people as Grammarama? Because that's what it sounds like from the thread about Grammarama.

    (Dammitall. I'd love to get some beginning experience doing copy-editing or proofreading.)

  16. #16
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Beginning experience? Here ya go:


    1) Get a job in a bookstore. Save your money.

    2) After a year or so, move to New York.

    3) Get a job at a publisher. (Intern or temp is okay.)

    4) Make friends with the copyeditors and proofreaders.

    5) Start doing some copyediting and proofreading.

  17. #17
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    If you want to make some, perhaps not very impressive, money proofreading multiple epublishers are looking for people to fill these roles. Just go for the one that pay a flat rat not royalties.
    Emily Veinglory

  18. #18
    alsafi
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Beginning experience? Here ya go:


    1) Get a job in a bookstore. Save your money.

    2) After a year or so, move to New York.

    3) Get a job at a publisher. (Intern or temp is okay.)

    4) Make friends with the copyeditors and proofreaders.

    5) Start doing some copyediting and proofreading.
    Yeah, I'm despairingly familiar with that as a route--it's the only one I can think of either. (Well, minus the bookstore--I already have a soulkilling job that pays rather better.) But it involves walking out on a 11+ year relationship that is the best thing in my whole life. My partner can't up stakes to NYC (she has a job she loves in agritech). So I was hoping for something with a little less cross-country moving.

    Veinglory:

    Thanks for the tip!

  19. #19
    Cat hair collector PVish's Avatar
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    Several colleges and universities offer certificate programs in editing/publishing. Some are offered as summer programs. Pace College and George Mason University are two, but a bit of Googling would probably turn up a lot more.

  20. #20
    Where's my tea, please...? PeeDee's Avatar
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    I think every writer should work in a bookstore, evne if you have no interest in going up the publishing ladder. You learn a lot about books, about what people read, and why. I've learned more in two months than I would have previously without this bookstore experience.

    As for the site...They look awfully familiar, and on investigation, it seems that I have had experience with them. I'm going to check a little closer on this, and then I'll get back to you.

  21. #21
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaitlinK18
    Just wondering if anyone had any experience working for Grammatika.com. I am trying to get into freelance editing and checked them out...their subscription fee for a year seems hefty and I am wary of subscription-based jobsites, period...but maybe that's just my natural cynicism showing through.
    Grammatika.com is part of a company that also includes Grammarama.com (which claims not to be a term paper mill but seems to skirt awfully close). I poked around the Grammarama site, and got access to its editing tests, which are pretty unchallenging. If Grammatika's tests are similar, you wouldn't need a whole lot more than basic English skills and an ability to use the "track changes" feature in MS Word to pass--not really a strong endorsement of someone's editing ability, despite the big ballyhoo on the website about "Grammatika certified editors." ("Grammatika certification is quickly gaining acceptance in the publishing industry as a consistently reliable way to find qualified, talented editors." Somehow I doubt it.)

    All in all, I suspect that working for a subscription-based editing site will not be a great addition to your resume.

    - Victoria

  22. #22
    BillPotts
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    I've Looked at both the Grammatika.com and Grammarama.com tests

    Victoria Strauss wrote: 'I poked around the Grammarama site, and got access to its editing tests, which are pretty unchallenging. If Grammatika's tests are similar, you wouldn't need a whole lot more than basic English skills and an ability to use the "track changes" feature in MS Word to pass--not really a strong endorsement of someone's editing ability, despite the big ballyhoo on the website about "Grammatika certified editors."'

    I just found this forum as a result of doing a Google search on critique grammatika, so I'm replying somewhat belatedly to the latest posting.

    I did the same kind of rummaging, about a month ago, on the grammatika.com site, found their tests and downloaded them. After reading your post, I did the same with grammarama.com (easy, really, as it was just a matter of substituting test.html for the page name that was currently in the browser address field).

    Having now completed (subject to a final run-through) the Grammatika tests, I can say that there's an order of magnitude difference between the two. The Grammarama test appears to be a pushover for Part I and, for Part II, there would appear to be no objective standard for judging the submission, given that they're asking for a 500-word narrative.

    Mere basic English skills would absolutely not suffice to complete the Grammatika tests, which consist of a separate Part I for copy editors and proofreaders, plus a common Part II (25 questions, multiple choice, with the possibility, in some cases, of multiple correct answers) for those wanting to be listed as "experts" (which is dependent, too, on their score in the Part I tests).

    The Part I tests require conformance to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, including strict use of the editing symbols.

    The copy editing test is in Word format and must be completed using Word's mark-up capabilities. The number of planted errors vastly exceeds what one would encounter in a real-life project, making it a challenge to ensure that one has found them all. They require that comments (including questions of the author) be made (as in real life), where appropriate, and that a copy editor's style sheet be submitted. The subject matter is Ultimate vs. Momentary Liberation: The Ideal Poets of Emerson and Poe. The first required change is obvious, right there—spelling out "vs." as "versus." To complete the test properly, one needs to refer to the works of both poets. Fortunately, as their copyright has long since expired, they're easy to find on the web.

    The proofreading test must be done by physically marking the printer's proof (not required in real life for documents produced by publishing software, but representing a true test of the candidate's knowledge and skills). Forwarding Christianity: The Beowulf Poet's Critical Contrast is provided, as PDF files, in manuscript form and typeset form. I have to believe that a novice would be quite nervous when taking the test. My reason for saying that is that the manuscript exhibits very sloppy copy editing (deliberately, of course) and it takes a certain degree of confidence to say, "Yes, I really am supposed to flag every one of them." (That assumes that the novice will catch every one of them.) Every correction on the printer's version is to be identified as EA or PE (Editor's Alteration or Printer's Error). The former is, of course, an obtuse way of saying the copy editor screwed up, as he/she should have caught all errors. They ask for comments, questions and explanations, in addition to the actual corrections. Another challenge for the novice is the distinction between references to Beowulf as a character and to Beowulf as the name of the work. The test throws a couple of curves in that area (at least as perceived by my imaginary novice).

    For each test, a perfect score is 10.0, with 8.0 or better required to pass. Those scoring 9.5 or higher can be certified as experts, as long as they answer at leat 85% of the Part II questions correctly.

    Grammatika also asks for a résumé, although it's not entirely clear if that's mandatory.

    The comments in this thread, so far, remind me of the ads that used to say, "If you can draw this, you may have artistic talent." It didn't take too long for investigative journalists to find out, by submitting the worst attempt they could muster, that everyone who mailed in a submission would be told that he/she had obvious talent and great potential and should, therefore, sign up immediately for a correspondence course. Obviously, an investigator could sign up for Grammatika, do a really crappy job on the test, and see if he/she passed.

    For those concerned about shelling out the annual fee in advance, they have money back guarantees on two levels. If, within three days of registering and downloading the tests, you don't think it's for you, they'll refund your money. If you pass the tests and, after 90 days, you're not satisfied with the opportunities being presented via email or on the members-only pages, they'll also refund your money.

    If you don't trust them to cough up the money when you ask for a refund, I recommend paying by American Express (if you have a card and they accept it—obviously). If someone refuses to credit your account when you ask for a refund, or if they simply ignore you, Amex will handle it for you. Over the years, they have done so for me and I've prevailed every time—in some cases for amounts several times as great as Grammatika's fees. You can do the same with MasterCard and Visa, but doing so is not quite as effortless as with Amex.

    Finally, a little investigation reveals that Copyright Editorial, LLC, the owner of the grammatika.com and grammarama.com sites is a sponsor of SPAN (Small Publishers Association of North America), as is the printer I used for my book (Bushopedia). (Full disclosure: I'm a member of SPAN.) Obviously, one can say that there's a self-serving aspect to being a sponsor of such an organization, but it does put them in reasonably respectable company. I've looked into Copyright Editorial's only free course (using my wife's name and email address). I found it reasonably impressive. [Added 2007-02-02 13:36 PST: The website with the courses is editorialcourses.com.]

    Given all the above, and as I've been unable to unearth other critiques of grammatika.com (using other search words), I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

    Bill Potts, Roseville, CA
    Author, Bushopedia
    Owner, Potts Publishing and WFP Consulting (which includes WFP Writers' Services)
    Last edited by BillPotts; 02-03-2007 at 02:07 AM. Reason: Update

  23. #23
    Banned zizban's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alsafi View Post
    Yeah, I'm despairingly familiar with that as a route--it's the only one I can think of either. (Well, minus the bookstore--I already have a soulkilling job that pays rather better.) But it involves walking out on a 11+ year relationship that is the best thing in my whole life. My partner can't up stakes to NYC (she has a job she loves in agritech). So I was hoping for something with a little less cross-country moving.

    Veinglory:

    Thanks for the tip!
    My aunt used to do freelance copy editing for places like Hyperion/Disney and Avon and you really need connections to make a living do it. Places like SUNY Albany will hire freelance copy editors at $1 per page.

  24. #24
    ajax
    Guest

    Grammatika Isn't Worth the Fee

    I subscribed to Grammatika in September. I had high hopes because of the professional appearance of the website, and the tests seemed like the real thing. It's now late June, and I haven't recouped the cost. There are hardly any jobs available through this company! I keep checking, and there are never more than three posted at once; often there are none at all. It's tough to even figure out how much one should bid on a job when it's described as "an x-page book." For those of you wondering who these jobs come from, most are from a self-publishing company. Some are from a middle-school textbook publisher. I haven't seen any from private individuals. If you're looking for a good source of income, don't bother signing up for Grammatika.

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin christinex's Avatar
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    Thank you, everyone, for posting the information in this thread. I was recently laid off from my full-time copy-editing job and have been trying to decide whether it was worth it to sign up with grammatika.com or not. It does sound as if there certainly aren't enough jobs to choose from to make it worth the $79 fee, so it looks as if I'll have to keep relying on networking and plain dumb luck. (I actually did just do a major novel copy edit for someone on this site who needed it done quickly; I'd say both factors came into play on that one, as I didn't see the thread where the author was looking for a copy editor, but a friend of mine did and forwarded it to me.)

    Guru.com seems legitimate, but it's pricey, and the pure copy-editing jobs as opposed to writing are few and far between (I swear, if I see one more posting for someone who wants SEO [search-engine optimization] writing, my head is going to explode!)
    No Return: A Contemporary Phantom Tale



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