A word on Wordy

This article was first published in the March/April, 2011, issue of SfEP‘s magazine Editing Matters.

This article was edited by Richard at Wordy at 1:05 pm CET. The edit took 35 minutes and cost €8.42. Richard found over 40 errors in the text – all of them preventing me from getting my message across. This speed, price and quality makes for an excellent online service, and after one year in business I have a few thoughts on editing, on Wordy, and on what it takes to turn the two into something viable.

The world needs better writing – so did I

The idea underlying Wordy is that everyone should be able to produce great text. In fact, it was my own inability to do so that got me started. As a native Danish speaker, and a copywriter, I found myself increasingly working on more and more English text for clients. I started looking around for a service that gave me fast, professional and attainable editing (preferably 24/7), but just couldn’t find anything like that. So, instead of building an editing service just for myself, I decided to build one for everyone – on the fair assumption that I was by no means alone in requiring help in the writing process.

You have something that people want

As an editor, you have something that people want: you have the ability to help them communicate. With a growing number of publishers working towards ever-decreasing deadlines, more and more communication outlets and fiercer competition for readers, textual quality is as important as ever – it makes the difference between readers gained and readers lost; misunderstanding and comprehension; trust and mistrust. Moreover, in a global marketplace, your talent is not only sought after by local and regional clients, but by clients everywhere. I think that making that talent – your talent – globally accessible is one of Wordy’s greatest feats and biggest challenges.

2010: A somewhat surreal year

With Wordy a year old in December, I can honestly say two things: it takes a staggering amount of hard work to start an online business, and, even if that business is the greatest thing ever, it takes a similar amount of work to get it going. In 2010 I’ve answered literally countless emails from editors and clients, tried to sell Wordy to everyone I know and have got to know, spent more time with lawyers and accountants than I’d like to recall, and generally ridden the rollercoaster of the internet start-up. In August 2010, Wordy won Seedcamp, a competition for internet entrepreneurs, and I think that win is going to help us a lot in 2011.

All is well; send more jobs!

So what’s the plan for Wordy in 2011? Well, the single biggest challenge right now is the number of jobs. Currently, there are only enough jobs to sustain one out of 150 editors on the platform, and in terms of revenue and profit we need to multiply both by 10. Another challenge is the distribution of Wordy: via an open API (Application Programming Interface), Wordy can be integrated into any publishing workflow imaginable – from Word and Google Docs to every content management system and pre-publishing platform out there. I would like Wordy to be present in 10 distributed services by the end of 2011. Finally, the most important challenge is maintaining quality, keeping clients and editors happy and really building a tightly-knit community around Wordy. Right now, the quality of each job really depends on the ability of the editor. This doesn’t necessarily have to change, but helping all editors along in the process, and building the best possible platform to support their work, is something I’m very much looking forward to.