If you’re into writing and editing and are looking for a way to make some money from home, you may want to consider becoming a freelance editor. Freelance editors are in high demand, especially since the rise of self-publishing and online content. As a freelance editor, you can work from home and set your hours.
If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a quick guide to becoming a work-from-home freelance editor.
What Does a Freelance Editor Do?
A day in the life of a freelance editor can vary greatly, depending on the project and the client. However, there are some everyday tasks that most freelance editors perform, including:
- Editing and proofreading manuscripts
- Providing feedback to authors
- Formatting text
- Checking for plagiarism
- Researching reference materials
- Ensuring accuracy
- Working with a team of editors
A typical freelance editor may work on multiple projects, including books, articles, blog posts, and more. While some clients may request a specific style guide, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, others will want the editor to use their discretion.
Depending on what the client wants, a freelance editor may also be responsible for performing a developmental edit, which assesses the overall structure and flow of the manuscript. This type of editing is more involved than simple proofreading and usually requires more back-and-forth communication with the author.
What You Need to Be an Editor
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have the skills necessary to be an editor. While you don’t need a formal degree in English or journalism, you will need excellent grammar, spelling, and editing skills to thrive as a freelance editor. You should also be able to work quickly and efficiently.
If you’re unsure whether you have the skills necessary to be a freelance editor, consider taking a few editing courses or doing volunteer work for a local publication before leaping to freelancing.
Many editors started their careers as writers, so that’s a plus if you have experience writing.
Find Your Niche
Once you’re sure you have the skills necessary to be a freelance editor, it’s time to decide what type of editing you want to do as a freelancer. Defining your niche in the editing world will help you attract the right clients and projects, hone your skills, and market yourself as an expert in your field.
There are many different types of editing, including:
- Copyediting: This type of editing focuses on the technical aspects of writing, such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
- Manuscript critiquing: A manuscript critique is a detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of a piece of writing.
- Developmental editing: Developmental editing assesses the overall structure and flow of a manuscript.
- Content editing: A content editor ensures that the information in a piece of writing is accurate and well-researched.
- Line editing: Line editing focuses on the individual sentences in a piece of writing, making sure they’re clear and concise.
- Proofreading: Proofreading is the final step in the editing process and involves checking a manuscript for any remaining errors before it’s published.
When you’re just starting, you may want to take on any projects that come your way to gain experience and build up your portfolio. However, as you become more established, you may want to focus on a specific type of editing or target a specific market.
How to Get Started as a Freelance Editor
After you’ve decided what type of editing you want to do, it’s time to start building your portfolio. If you don’t have any experience as an editor, consider starting with volunteer work or internships. Once you have some experience under your belt, you can start bidding on projects or seeking out clients on your own.
As an editor, you will need to be able to work with clients and meet deadlines. Good communication and time management skills are essential.
You may want to set your rates lower than your more experienced counterparts when you’re just starting. However, as you gain experience and build up your portfolio, you can start charging higher rates. If you’re not sure how to set your rates, consider using a rate calculator like the Editorial Freelancers Association or asking for guidance from more experienced editors.
Market Your Editing Business
Marketing is an integral part of any business, and as a freelance editor, you’ll need to do some marketing to find clients and projects. There are many ways to market your editing business, including:
- Creating a website or blog: A website or blog is a great way to showcase your skills and attract clients. Be sure to include samples of your work and information about your rates and services.
- Joining an editing association: Joining an editing association like the Editorial Freelancers Association can help you network with other editors and find clients.
- Creating a social media presence: Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media sites are great platforms for marketing your business. Be sure to post regularly and share information about your services.
- Sending a newsletter: A newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with past and present clients. Use it to share information about your business, showcase your work, and offer special discounts.
- Attending editing conferences: Attending editing conferences is a great way to network with other editors and learn about the latest industry trends.
Editors play an important role in the publishing industry, and as a freelance editor, you can work from home and set your hours. If you’re interested in a career in editing, consider these tips to get started and thrive in this field.