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Handbook Editor
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   51 days ago

Position Pending!

Update 2024-01-09: I am completely overwhelmed by the number of responses I received for this position. Wow! I didn't know so many of you would be interested. I have a huge folder of emails to go through and I'll be doing that this week and I'll try to make a decision soon. I'm probably going to pick a couple of different people and assign you each a project and see who does the best work. But thank you to everyone who applied, and I'll be getting back to everyone soon.

Hello there. I'm looking for a handbook editor. In case you don't know, I produce handbooks that go with my video lessons so that people can print them out, follow along, and take notes. Handbooks are sometimes easier to refer back to later than trying to find a specific spot in a video, so many people like to purchase the handbooks in addition to the videos.

At first, I used to write the handbooks myself from scratch. But that's very time consuming, and I'd rather spend my time developing new lessons and recording videos, which is a better use of my talents.

So then I started hiring other people to write my handbooks for me. This is how I met my now good friend and right-hand man, Alex. He would follow the video, type out what I said (or paraphrase it) and manually capture screenshots from the videos and put them in the document. But again, this is very time consuming and since I don't really charge much for the PDF handbooks, it's not cost effective for me to pay someone for the time it takes to produce a full handbook manually.

Flash forward to 2024 and the invention of AI. Now, I can use software to transcribe the audio from my videos and create the text for the handbook. After that, I use software that I've developed, with a bit of AI, to determine where the screenshots from the video should be placed in the text. This process works quite well, and is about 95% accurate. However, it still requires the human touch of a real editor.

This is where I need help.

I'm searching for someone to edit the handbooks that my software produces. This generally involves double-checking too ensure that spelling and grammar are correct, removing any colloquialisms like "um" or "you know," and ensuring there are no duplicate or misplaced screenshots that don't match up with the corresponding text. Sometimes, my software inserts a screenshot in the middle of a sentence, which I try to avoid. You may need to just move those screenshots around.

Here is a copy of one of my lessons that has been generated by my software so you can see exactly what I'm referring to. It's just a small sample, but it should give you an idea for what to expect.

Occasionally, you may need to add a screenshot if one is missing, for example, if I say "click here" in the audio, my software is supposed to capture a screenshot at that point, but it doesn't always do so. Also, I like to prevent two screenshots from being back to back without any text between them. It's little things like this - and mostly just moving the screenshots around. The AI is getting better at it as I tweak it, but it's still got some learning to do.

And once in a while, the AI inserts what's called a hallucination. It basically just decides to go off on its own and inserts some random wild text. I've caught this once or twice. You just have to be on the lookout for it, and delete it. You'll know if something doesn't make sense. You don't have to be an expert in the topic of the handbook - just smart enough to know what doesn't belong. I don't want to have to proofread all of the text that my software spits out, so that will be your job.

Each of my lessons is at least an hour long, with most of them ranging from an hour and a half to two hours. From my experience, it takes me about as long as the video's duration to edit the handbook. For example, a 2-hour video would take me roughly 2 hours to edit. So, I am willing to pay $40 per hour of the video for someone to edit the handbook. I believe this is a fair price, considering that most of the work is already done. I used to have people right the handbooks from scratch, which was far too time-consuming and labor-intensive. With the new transcription and AI software, it's much faster, but it still requires some fine-tuning by a human.

My Microsoft Access Beginner Level 2 course, which is the first one you'll be working on, is 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Therefore, to edit that handbook would be $70, and I'm confident it will take you less than 2 hours once you get the hang of it. I am willing to pay more for quality work, and will consider raising the amount after successful completion of a few projects.

I use Microsoft Word for all of my handbooks, and I would like the edited document in Microsoft Word format, in the same format that I provide it to you. If you don't have Microsoft Word, you can use the free online version, which should work just fine.

Regarding turnaround time, I'm flexible. If it takes you a couple of days to edit a handbook, that's fine. However, I have had to let go of editors in the past because they couldn't meet deadlines. I've experienced situations where I'd assign a project on Monday and ask for it to be finished by Friday, but it still wouldn't be delivered the following Monday. I can't tolerate such delays. If you're busy with other projects, that's understandable, but please communicate honestly and provide reasonable estimates of when the work can be completed. You will be an independent subcontractor, not an employee, so you can set your own hours and work when you want, but as your client, I need a speedy turnaround time. I feel like a couple of days is more than enough to edit a 2-hour video handbook.

I have alot of handbooks that need to be completed. I have a few dozen Microsoft Access Developer courses that I didn't create handbooks for initially because it was too time-consuming. However, now that I have automated the process to a large extent, it's now cost-effective for me to generate them with AI and have someone edit them. So, I have a substantial number of handbooks in the pipeline that can be worked on once I find the right editor.

Lastly, I shouldn't have to emphasize how crucial English skills are for this job. If you don't know the difference between "to," "two," and "too," you may not be the right fit. In the past, I hired someone who returned handbooks with numerous grammar and spelling mistakes, and I cannot accept that. I rely on you to properly format the document, as I need to convert the final product to a PDF and put it on my website, ready for distribution.

I would prefer someone who has experience in copy editing. If you've never done this kind of work before, I don't really have the time to hold your hand. I need someone that I can just email the document to, you fix it, email it back, and we're on to the next one. So please, only apply if this is something you've done before.

If you are interested, send me an email at [email protected] with the subject "Interested in Handbook Editor Position." Introduce yourself. Let me know if you're one of my students or not*. Let me know how much experience you have with editing jobs like this. If you have a sample of something you've written, feel free to send me a link to it online (no attachments). Also tell me a little bit about yourself, what you do for a living, and what your favorite science fiction / fantasy show or movie is, and why. And yes, this is also to see who can follow instructions, so don't miss anything. Attention to detail is important for a book editor.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Thank you.

Live long, and prosper.

P.S. You don't have to be a student of mine to be considered for the position, but students and members will be considered first, mostly because at least then I know you know the material.

P.P.S. I've intentionally added a few grammar and spelling errors to the text on this page. If you can list them all for me, that will get you bonus points. No cheating with grammar checkers or AI. You're on the honor system!


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