Starting my publishing career in the area of lexicography, I was rather spoilt with incredibly detailed briefs. Because a dictionary project is so complex and involves so many contributors, it has to have a really detailed brief or style guide for everyone to work from that documents every little bit of formatting, policy and style, right down to the punctuation. Since I moved into working on other types of materials, over the years I've come across every manner of brief from long, rambling documents containing lots of irrelevant stuff cut and paste from proposals and marketing blurb through to piecemeal notes and queries in emails.
Having experienced several of the latter type on recent projects, I was really pleased to get a lovely, clear brief the other day setting out a very simple, concise background to the project and all the relevant key information I needed about level, dates, format, fees, even the names and contact details of all the relevant people working on the project with me. Heaven! Interestingly, the document came from a freelance editor, who's clearly used to being on the other end of dodgy briefs. I'll definitely be keeping it as a template should I find myself in the position of needing to brief others in the future - thanks Jane!
Labels: briefs, freelancing