We’ve just wrapped up a 15-month run of wall-to-wall editing here at Verb Nerd Industries. I’ve finally gotten a chance to catch my breath and start adding more content to our site, so this seems like a good time to talk about the new clients we’ve taken on since October 2011.

HotChalk.com

A former boss called me last fall to say she’d started working for an education-related website called HotChalk.com and was putting together a team of editors to process school-related content for clients in the post-secondary world.

Brian Gatens, from the Principal's OfficeBefore long I was in charge of a new blog on educational leadership, written by Brian Gatens, principal/superintendent at a New Jersey grade school. Brian’s a super-sharp guy and great to work with.

We got on so well that HotChalk asked me to work with a couple more writers, so now I’m managing an editorial calendar, consulting on story ideas, editing copy and helping my writers stick to their deadlines.

The folks at HotChalk have been great to work with and they have a ton of bright ideas about using content to promote school websites. Awhile back one of my writers wanted to pen a blog post about whether teachers should be armed for self-defense. HotChalk easily could’ve dodged such a controversial issue, but they found a place for the post.

Priceline.com

Priceline has a vast content-marketing project, adding hotel descriptions for thousands of hotels across the country and around the world.

My editor there ran a tight ship, managing a large pool of writers, a smaller pool of editors, a substantial custom style sheet and a complex format that had to be able to work with thousands of hotel descriptions.

I soon became conversant in the subtle differences between a Holiday Inn and a Holiday Inn Express, and immersed in discussions over how to handle a hotel’s smoking and pets policies, which are deal killers for some tourists. They tend to blame Priceline if the website books them into a stinky room, so we went to substantial lengths to make sure that didn’t happen.

After a few months, the editor-in-chief asked me to start training new writers — a complex task because writers needed to master a format, account for small but important differences from one hotel chain to the next and figure out how to stay sane all the while.

It was fun work but when HotChalk.com came calling I had to ask myself: Do I want to work for a $20 billion company that’s already made its mark, or do I want to get in on the ground floor with a company with the chance to get huge someday? I voted on growth and went with HotChalk.com.

Caviar Affair

One of my former co-workers at the Mercury News connected me with the publisher of Caviar Affair, a glossy quarterly magazine serving ultra-high-end consumers. I edited the copy, wrote the captions, acted as ghost-writer on more than a dozen articles and basically worked my fanny off for about a month getting the 2011 Holiday Issue ready.

This was a great place to put my headline-writing skills to the test. “Port Authority” was one of my favorites, as was “Sip of the Iceberg,” for a story on bottled water melted directly from arctic ice. And I penned a memorable intro to a report on a super-swank island resort in the South Seas:

I’d like to say I got the royal treatment at Laucala Island Resort. But I doubt many kings and queens ever had it this good.

Here’s the digital version of the edition I edited. While this was a fascinating assignment, ultimately I decided I’m not a very good match for a publication devoted to the glories of $4,000 watches and $8,000-a-night resorts. And besides, an old client came calling and promised to keep keep me plenty busy.

TrimTabs Investment Research

I worked with TrimTabs for about a year in 2008-09. When I started freelancing, I made sure they knew I was on the market. In November 2011, TrimTabs’ editor in chief called to let me know he had an opening, doing roughly the same work I’d been doing before.

I started out doing substantive edits on a series of weekly reports on the macroeconomic climate in the U.S. and money flow into mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and hedge funds. Within a couple months, however, I was writing several of these reports. Today I’m the principal author of:

  • Weekly updates on fund flows and the betting trends of speculative traders.
  • Monthly updates on the cash flows of hedge funds.
  • Monthly surveys on the sentiments of hedge fund managers.

Along the way I’ve also learned the ins and outs of creating graphics in Excel and advanced formatting of Word documents.

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So that’s the latest on Verb Nerd Industries. I still have lots of work but I’m always on the prowl for interesting new opportunities. Drop me a line if you need a great substantive editor.