Build a client reference manual

Meet my client reference manual.

Despite the photo, the majority of my client reference information now lives on my computer in Evernote; I keep the binder only for stylesheets and memos that originally came in hardcopy only. One of these days, in all my spare time, I may opt to scan it all. Or not.

What’s in my client reference manual?

  • Copies of client style sheets
  • Client preferences, institutional and personal (e.g., publisher A wants manuscript page numbers noted on proof pages; PM1 requires PDF correx be done with stamps; it’s fine to use PDF commenting tools on proofs from PM2)
  • Client rates
  • Records of any discussions we’ve had about potential projects, including rates quoted and the formulas I used to figure it
  • Client policies (publisher B requires all proper names be checked in both copyediting and proofreading)
  • Invoicing procedures and payment time frames (publisher C requires use of their invoice form; publisher D always pays in 8–10 weeks, regardless of due date on invoice; publisher E shuts down invoice processing for the entire month of July, so invoices submitted from May 20 through the end of July won’t be processed until August [yes, I actually have a client that does that!])
  • Personal notes about individuals (not creepy, but something like “PM3 doesn’t like chocolate” so that I don’t send that person a chocolate bar as a holiday gift)
  • Records of any trouble with a particular client (late payment, tendency to ignore instructions and/or boundaries, etc.)

Having this reference allows me to keep all of my information about clients in one place. I also track information on potential clients; you never know when someone will circle back and want to work with you later, after a first project didn’t come together. (It’s happened to me three times this year.) Having the information on the original quote lets me quickly generate a quote for a new project without having to start at square one again.

I’d love to know: Do you track this kind of information for your clients? If you do, how do you organize it?

Leave a note in the comments. (ALL comments are moderated, because OMG the link spam, and the spammers are getting more clever with their legitimate-sounding first posts, so please be patient if your comment doesn’t show up right away.)

One thought on “Build a client reference manual

  1. Bobbi Hoffman says:

    Thank you! This is very helpful.

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