As long as there are people writing, there will be a need for editors and proofreaders. However, becoming an editor or proofreader requires patience, skill, and a thorough understanding of what these professions involve.
The following list of resources is designed to answer all your questions about training to become an editor or proofreader and to outline what you can expect as you embark upon an editing or proofreading career. Need more convincing? Check out some of our resources and see what we’re talking about!
Training to Become an Editor or Proofreader
- What Do Copy Editing Jobs Entail?
- Four Tricks You’ll Master in Editor Training
- 6 Things I Learned My First Year as a Professional Editor
- The Benefits of Taking an Editing Class
- Proofreader Courses: The Googd, the Back, and the Ugley
- What to Expect From a Proofreading Course
- What You’ll Learn in Proofreading Class
- What Will I Learn in a Proofreader Course?
- 5 Things to Consider if You Want to Be a Proofreader
Careers in Editing
- How Do I Become an Editor?
- What Is Freelance Copy Editing?
- How to Become a Freelance Editor
- What Different Book Editing Jobs Are Available?
- Should I Try Freelance Editing?
- Editing Courses Can Reboot Your Working Life
- How to Learn Editing and Improve Your Career Opportunities
- The Pros and Cons of Being a Freelance Editor
- Entry-Level Editing Jobs: What You Need to Know
- Editing Jobs
- How to Get an Editing Job
- Applying for Jobs in Editing
- Editing Jobs From Home: How to Score a Gig You Love
- Careers in Editing
- Having a Book Editing Career
- Freelance Editing
- How to Become a Better Editor
- What Freelance Editing Jobs Are Out There?
- Sources for Online Editing Jobs
- Remote Editing and Remote Editing Jobs
- Editing as a Career
- Finding Editing Jobs Online
- Find Freelance Copy Editing Jobs
Tips and Tricks
- Types of Editing and Proofreading
- 8 Signs You’re an Editor
- 6 Myths about Being an Editor
- Cooperation in Writing and Editing Jobs
- Top 10 Editing Tips
- The Top 10 Proofreading Tips
- 3 Proofreading Exercises to Hone Your Skills
- Tips for Managing Your Life as a Freelance Proofreader
Careers in Proofreading
- How to Learn to Proofread
- Spelling Tips You Can Learn Through Proofreading Training
- The Ultimate Proofreading Checklist
- What Is Freelance Proofreading and What Job Opportunities Exist?
- How to Get Proofreader Training
- The Ideal Candidates for Proofreader Jobs
- Careers in Proofreading
- How to Become a Proofreader
- Can I Get Proofreading Employment in My Town?
- How to Establish Proofreading Rates
The past two years have been crazy for me. One minute I was a student, drowning in papers and dealing with stress-induced insomnia by ingesting large amounts of coffee (not my wisest choice), and the next I was employed as a professional editor. There I was, a recent graduate. Not only did I have an answer to the “So, what will you do now?” question, but I even had an answer that was related to my English major—you know, the one that everyone had been informing me for four years would be entirely useless upon graduation.
It felt good to silence the naysayers, and it felt even better to be gainfully employed and finally take a break from learning. Because there’s never anything new to learn with a new job—right?
Wrong, of course, completely and utterly wrong. There were tons of things to learn! Even though I’ve been working as a professional editor for nearly two years, I’m still learning new things every day. I’d like to share some of my best editing tips with you, aspiring editor, so that you may accelerate your own learning process a bit.
Editing Tip #1: Being a writer does not make you an editor, and being an editor does not make you a writer.
This is less of an editing tip and more of a reminder that editing is a very specific skill. If you’re considering pursuing a career as a professional editor, you need to be honest with yourself about what your capabilities really are. Maybe you got great marks in all your English classes, or you read three books a week. Perhaps you’ve written and even published your own work. All that is great, but it doesn’t mean you’re destined to become a professional editor.
To be an editor, you need a firm grasp of English grammar, but you also need to know how to correct others’ mistakes without eliminating their own voice. You need to be able to do this nicely. It may sound simple, but it’s rather difficult when you actually try. Some people are just plain bad at editing. Conversely, not all editors are writers. Plenty of them hate writing their own documents and prefer to polish existing writing. Remember, editing and writing are two very different skills. Though they are related, they do not necessarily always go together.
Editing Tip #2: If there’s one thing you should strive for above all else, it’s consistency.
Of course, you want to be consistently correct, not consistently incorrect. One of your most important skills as a professional editor, the one that sets you apart from non-editors, will be your ability to spot inconsistencies. This specific type of attention to detail will help you catch errors others would miss, making it extremely important. When you’re working as an editor, if you find yourself stumped about how to solve a certain problem (like, say, a formatting or style issue), the odds are pretty good that choosing to correct the error consistently will be an adequate solution.
Editing Tip #3: Be nice.
You might think that this one is a given, but trust me, you would be wrong. Lots of aspiring professional editors have a great deal of knowledge, and they find themselves bursting at the seams wanting to share this knowledge with clients. That’s good, but your focus as an editor should really be on correcting errors and helping clients improve their work rather than on explaining to them exactly what they did wrong. For one thing, the explanation is likely to go over their heads, and for another, you just sound like a snob when you lord your knowledge over someone else. Provide useful feedback, and be nice when correcting mistakes. Don’t be the reason that we editors have a bad rap; if you want to be part of the editing club, you have to try not to perpetuate the myths.
Editing Tip #4: With that being said, know the rules, and know them well.
Even though you’re not going to break out your correlative conjunction knowledge every time you have to correct a related comma error, you should still know what a correlative conjunction is. Studying the many nuances of English grammar will make you a better editor. If you haven’t already, consider reading a book, taking a course, or otherwise brushing up on the more complex rules of grammar. This way, when you come across a tricky clause, you’ll know exactly why and how you need to fix it.
Editing Tip #5: Google should be your best friend.
Being smart isn’t about having knowledge—it’s about knowing how to find and use the knowledge you need. The same goes for being a professional editor. Sure, you should have a good grasp of grammar rules and conventions, but you are going to encounter much that you don’t know. When that happens, your good friend Google can help. Whether you’re looking up the proper spelling of a medical term or doing basic fact-checking for a history paper, the Internet can be an inexhaustible resource to help you finish each project to the highest standard.
Editing Tip #6: Don’t skip the second pass.
If you’re considering a career in editing, you’re likely a perfectionist. All the good ones are. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but listen—even the most anal people make mistakes. Editors are no exception, which is why one of the best things a professional editor can do is to make sure to leave enough time to complete a second pass. Ideally, you should take a break between completing your first pass and starting your second one. Depending on how much time you have and how long the project is, consider going for a walk, taking a nap, or working on something else for a while. If you don’t complete a second pass, you’ll be sure to miss very obvious errors.
There you have it: six editing tips from my first year as a professional editor. If you’re an amateur editor yourself, I hope you took something useful from this post. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in this challenging but rewarding field, I hope I’ve helped you make your decision.
Image source: Vladimir Kudinov/Stocksnap.io
A guide to the differences between American and British English
English can be a strange and confusing language. Its spelling and grammar rules aren’t always intuitive, and the fact that there are different varieties of English—British, American, Canadian, and Australian—makes things that much more perplexing . . . or so it seems. Today, we’re going to be looking at the main differences between the two most common varieties of English—British and American—and what to watch out for when editing in British English. Although the two aren’t that different, their variations in grammar—including spelling, usage, and punctuation—are still quite significant.
By comparing British English to American English, this article will list the most common things to watch out for when editing in British English. We will cover the topic of British English grammar as a whole, including spelling, usage, and punctuation, as well as the differences between American and British English. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll know exactly what to pay special attention to when editing in British English. Chocks away!
British English is the variety of English spoken and written throughout the United Kingdom. Although British English has regional varieties, we’re going to keep it simple here by taking a broad approach and examining the main features of British spelling, grammar, vocabulary, usage, and punctuation. Learning these basics will provide you with a great knowledge base that you’ll find especially helpful when writing or editing in British English.
Let’s start with the main differences between American and British English, which include spelling, usage, and punctuation.
The spelling of English words has not always been standardized. With the publication of influential dictionaries in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, spelling standards became increasingly common, although with differences between countries. These variances occurred for cultural, political, and linguistic reasons, and over the years, the differences have become more cemented (though never completely so).
The primary differences are between British and American spellings. American spelling conventions changed early on, and the variances have persisted throughout the years. Countries in the British Commonwealth (and Ireland) tend to follow British usage, although there are still some minor variations (Australian spellings, for instance, sometimes diverge from the British forms). The one major exception is Canada. Canadian English is more of a hybrid and follows typical British usage in many ways, while adopting certain common practices from its neighbor to the south.
Here are some of the main spelling differences between American and British English:
- Words that end in –our in British English tend to end in –or in American English, but only when the –our ending is not stressed, such as in flav-our.
- When the –our ending is stressed, however, the –our spelling is retained in American English, such as in vel-our.
- Words ending in –erior are spelled this way everywhere, regardless of location.
- Many words in British English end in –er, especially Germanic and Romance words. However, certain words with French, Latin, and Greek origins end in –re in British English. These –re endings are often not used in American English (e.g., theatre in British English is spelled theater in American English). Here are some other examples of -re endings in British English:
- Many English words derived from Greek words end in –ize or –ise. The ending choice varies between, and often within, countries. Great Britain uses both –ize and –ise, although the –ise ending is more common.
- For such Greek-derived words, the British usage is inconsistent. The –ise is more common, but the Oxford University Press and the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, use the –ize. The Cambridge University Press, on the other hand, adopts the –ise ending, and this is what is typically used in the British mass media for words such as criticise or organise.
- Some words ending in –ize/-ise are not derived from Greek, and their endings are thus not interchangeable in British English. Examples include:
- The use of the –yze or the –yse ending varies between countries. The –yse ending is used in British English, while the –yze ending is used in both American and Canadian English for words such as analyze.
- Some words can end in either –ogue or –og, although the –ogue ending tends to dominate in all countries. Examples:
- In British English (and that of most Commonwealth countries), some words use either the ae or the oe combination, while in American and Canadian English, these are almost always reduced to a simple e. However, there are certain exceptions. The word fetus, based on etymology, should always be spelled fetus, but Britons often adopt the oe spelling, and the word becomes foetus. Academic journals everywhere tend to prefer the etymologically correct spelling, fetus.
- A few words always (or usually) retain the ae or oe construction, even in American English:
- Latin –ae plural endings are not changed in any variety of English, as with the following:
Spelling Differences: Double Consonants in British English
When adding a suffix that begins with a vowel, the final consonant is often doubled. This helps avoid confusion. For example, if you have tap and do not double the consonant p when adding the suffix –ed, you will end up with taped, which is the past tense of the verb tape. Doubling the consonant creates the word tapped instead.
Generally, this only occurs when the word ends with a single consonant following a single vowel and when the final syllable is stressed. However, in British English, a final –l is often doubled to –ll, even when the ending is unstressed. In American English, only one –l is used. Canadian English follows British usage here, typically using the –ll.
This doubling in British English is generally true for any such words ending in –ed, –ing, –er, –est, and -or, for example:
However, for words ending with –ise/-ize, –ism, –ist, and –ish, the final –l is generally not doubled, as with the following:
In words with other endings, such as –ous, –ee, and –age, the usage varies, with some doubled (marvellous) and others not (scandalous). Jewellery has –ll in British English but is spelled jewelry in American English.
Single –l endings are used if there is a double vowel.
- foal (oa) becomes foaling
- fool (oo) becomes fooling
- pool (oo) becomes pooling
Single –l endings are used if there is a consonant preceding the final consonant.
- bowl (w before the l) becomes bowling
- whirl (r before the l) becomes whirling
The biggest differences between American English and British English are words with the following combinations: –our versus –or, –re versus –er, –ize versus –ise, –yze versus –yse, –ogue versus –og, and words with ae in American English that are spelled with oe in the British equivalent. If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between American and British English, Diffen.com is a great resource.
Usage refers to language etiquette and how words are commonly used (written and spoken). It also refers to using the right word in the right context. In terms of British versus American English, usage is where you’ll see the most obvious distinctions. Different words may be used for different reasons: convention, simplicity, socio-cultural reasons, and even aesthetics. There are too many examples to include here, but check out EnglishClub.com for a very thorough list.
Differences between American English and British English are probably the most noticeable in spoken language, but along with spelling and usage, there are also slight differences when it comes to British punctuation. The most important British punctuation rules to remember are:
- The serial comma is not used. Example: I bought flowers, a vase and a card.
- Single quotation marks (instead of double quotation marks) are used for initial quotations. For quotations within initial quotations, double quotation marks are used.
- Punctuation (commas, periods) goes outside the quotation marks.
- When writing titles such as “Dr.” or “Mr.,” the periods are omitted (“Dr” or “Mr”).
- When writing times, British English uses a period between the hours and minutes (e.g., 4.30 p.m.), whereas American English uses a colon (e.g., 4:30 p.m.).
How can these rules help me with editing in British English?
Now that you’ve learned about the differences between British and American spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage, it should be easier for you to spot these discrepancies and write or edit in British English. It’s really just a matter of keeping certain rules in mind. If you’re unsure about a certain rule or how to use a specific word, there are countless resources available online, including Inklyo’s GrammarCamp, EditingCamp, and ProofreadingCamp online courses. Of course, you can also always refer back to this article as a quick resource!
Image source: coombesy/Pixabay.com, Unsplash/Pixabay.com
It takes a very specific kind of person to be an editor. Many people who you may think would make great editors—like writers, teachers, or other people who work with language a lot—just don’t have the right combination of personality quirks required to succeed in this career.
Being an editor is a tricky balance between being really good at following rules and being a jerk. If you can identify with more than half the items on the list below, there’s a good chance you’re already an editor. If you identify with this list but are not currently an editor, I think I may see a career change in your near future.
Here are eight signs that you’re an editor:
1. You laugh when other people suggest that you “like” to read, because you “like” to read about as much as you “like” to sleep. These are not “likes” or “wants”—these are needs. Granted, they are needs that often butt heads, like when you stay up until three in the morning because you have to finish the book you’re reading. (Also, you just giggled at the use of the word “heads” after the word “butt” because nothing amuses you more than what appears to be accidental wordplay.)
2. Inconsistency is the bane of your existence. This applies to everything in your life: subject-verb agreement, plurals, shoe size, the enforcement of rules, etc. If it’s inconsistent, it bothers you. And if it bothers you, you will do whatever you can to change it.
3. You’ve texted friends before to alert them to typos in their most recent Facebook statuses, because what kind of friend would you be if you let them leave errors there for all the world to see? Online typos are the electronic equivalent of food on the face or boogers in the nose, and anyone who doesn’t see that is a fool in your well-written and grammatically correct book.
4. You either have self-restraint down to a science when it comes to correcting the grammar of new acquaintances or people in positions of authority, or else you generally don’t make friends very easily.
5. Your friends and family members often complain that you “always have to be right,” but you know that isn’t true. Unlike them, you understand the importance of spreading knowledge and reducing ignorance, which is why you can’t let them go around saying things that simply aren’t correct. You also encourage them to correct you if you’re ever wrong, though, admittedly, you aren’t sure if that’s ever actually happened before.
6. You actually keep track of which major publishers tend to have the most typos in their books, and this seriously affects your buying choices.
7. While other people may engage in heated debates about current events, movies, or music, you always manage to find someone at the party with whom you can battle about the use of the serial comma. Of course, you can never be persuaded to change your opinion on the matter, and neither can the other person, but that’s what makes the debate so simultaneously engaging, engrossing, and enraging.
8. When it comes to grammar, you believe that perfection is attainable. Being called a perfectionist isn’t an insult; on the contrary, it’s the ultimate compliment.
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Are you considering a glamorous career in editing? If you are thinking about becoming an editor, you’ve probably come across some pretty crazy misconceptions about what exactly editors do and what we’re like. You may have heard that editors are detailed-obsessed individuals who take great pleasure in knowing more than others do about grammar and punctuation. Well, that’s entirely true. It’s a well-known fact that one cannot be an editor without an inner drive that forces him or her to strive for an unattainable level of perfection. If you spent a good part of your childhood trying to convince your parents that any low marks you achieved in school were, in fact, the end of the world, you’ve probably always been destined to become an editor.
If you’re going to be an editor, you should probably also be aware of the popular myths that surround this magical and mysterious career. Many people believe things about editors that simply aren’t true, and there’s nothing we dislike more than incorrect information being passed off as fact. (Except, maybe, comma splices. We just can’t handle that crap.)
Myth #1: All Editors Do the Same Thing
One common misconception about editors is that we all perform the same job duties. In reality, there are several different kinds of editors, and they all do different things. Two of the most different types of editors are developmental editors and copy editors. Developmental editors help structure the entire project, while copy editors focus more on technical things, like the use of punctuation and adherence to grammar principles. Another type of editor is an acquisitions editor, sometimes known as a commissioning editor. This person is responsible for choosing which manuscripts a publishing house should publish. Depending on the project, all three of these very different types of editors may be involved at some point.
So, depending on your interests and skills, you may be better suited for one type of editing than another. But don’t worry—although we do different jobs, we’re all equally awesome.
Myth #2: Editors Are Evil Destroyers of Dreams
It’s not uncommon for writers to fear editors. Many writers think that editors are out to tear their work to shreds or to change it until it is unrecognizable, but the truth is only bad editors do that. Good editors value good work, and if we feel that something could use improvement, we provide constructive feedback and solid examples of how that improvement could be made. That being said, if something is grammatically incorrect, we will change it—after all, that’s what we’re being paid to do! Sensitive authors and people whose grasp of grammar isn’t nearly as good as they think it is give editors a bad name, but you know what Taylor Swift always says—those haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Shake it off. Just shake it off.
Myth #3: Editors Never Make Mistakes
Even the best professionals make mistakes. Just look at Ben Affleck. He broke into the film industry with Good Will Hunting, a brilliant film jam-packed with stellar performances. He went on to make some other good movies, and then there was . . . Gigli. This film has a 2.3/10 rating on imbd.com and a measly 6% on rottentomatoes.com. It’s widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. After the abomination that was Gigli, Affleck managed to establish himself as a serious director and a decent actor. So you see, everyone makes mistakes!
Now, I will admit that most editors don’t make mistakes of Gigli proportions. We’re more likely to miss the occasional misused comma or incorrect word choice than to make epic mistakes of the feature film variety. Still, the lesson here remains the same: editors are people, and people make mistakes.
Myth #4: Editors Are Proofreaders
Editing and proofreading, while similar in nature, are not actually the same thing. Yes, both editing and proofreading involve removing errors from a document. However, editors tend to focus more on the big picture, while proofreaders are responsible for making a document error-free. This doesn’t mean that one is more important than the other; instead, it means that one should come before the other.
A document should first be edited, then proofread. These are two different services, and they should be provided by two different people. There’s a reason why editors aren’t called Editoofreaders and proofreaders aren’t called Proofeditors. They aren’t the same thing.
Myth #5: All Editors Are Geeks or Nerds
Okay, so I can see where people might get this one from. Yes, editors are smart and good with language. Yes, we typically do enjoy reading. Yes, we know lots of things that other people don’t know about grammar. But that doesn’t make us all geeks. If anything, we’re definitely geek-chic. Who cares, anyway? Everyone knows that brainy is the new sexy. (All right, fine. Maybe this one isn’t a myth after all. But don’t you act like you didn’t thoroughly enjoy that Sherlock reference.)
Myth #6: Editors Are Becoming Obsolete
Some people think they don’t need editors anymore. Why pay for an editor when word processors like Microsoft Word have built-in spelling and grammar checkers? Here’s why:
“I went too go to the storage.”
According to Microsoft Word, which I’m currently using to write this blog post, that is a perfectly acceptable sentence. Despite the fact that it makes no sense and has three incorrect word choices, it’s A-Okay in Word’s book. People will always need real editors because I didn’t “went too go to the storage”; I wanted to go to the store.
Now that you know a little bit more about what an editor isn’t, wouldn’t you like to know a bit more about what being an editor is all about? Check out some of Inklyo’s resources to see if you have what it takes to become a professional word warrior.
Image source: Daria Nepriakhina/Stocksnap.io
Working away from an office can be ideal for some editors
Of course you can!
Working on editing jobs from home can give you the freedom to advance in your career without the pressure of a traditional office environment.
To land the perfect position, all you’ll need to do is follow a few simple steps. Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to do.
1) Know what you’re looking for
So you’ve decided to do editing jobs from home. Before you start applying, ask yourself what type of position you’re really looking for. Are you comfortable doing freelance editing, or are you looking for a permanent, full-time gig?
If it’s the latter, start by logging in to a job bank and searching for open positions with a telecommuting option. For freelance positions, the best places to start are sites like FlexJobs or Elance. The work on these sites is often piecemeal, but it can help you build a strong portfolio for more consistent work.
2) Do your research
You wouldn’t rent an apartment without researching it first.
To land editing jobs from home, you’ll have to exercise the same amount of caution. Job boards for stay-at-home positions are notoriously deceptive, but with a little preparation, you can make them work for you.
Once you find a job posting you like, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I contact the company easily?
- Do I know anyone else who has worked for this company?
- Is the job posting clear and easy to understand?
- Does the job look too good to be true?
What if a company asks for your credit card number? Our advice: stay away!
When you do editing jobs from home, your boss should be paying you, not the other way around. If it doesn’t work that way, it’s likely the job is a scam and you shouldn’t waste any more time pursuing it.
3) Have a résumé and online clips ready
Do you have a portfolio with up-to-date clips?
If the answer is no, then it’s a good idea to start working on one right away.
Most companies will ask to see samples of your work before they hire you. This is standard throughout the industry, whether you do editing jobs from home or are employed by a major publishing house.
Since the average job posting is often available for just a matter of days, you’ll be much more likely to score a position if your résumé and clips are already prepared.
Once you’ve decided on editing as a career, you should create a professional website to showcase your work. Many writers have scored editing jobs from home by posting their latest clips, even if they’re just beginners.
4) Network on social media
What’s the secret to finding great editing jobs from home?
The answer might surprise you. These days, more and more writers are turning to sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise their skills.
And it’s no surprise why. Recruiters often use these sites to find candidates for open positions.
Even if you’re planning on doing editing jobs from home, social media can help you form connections with hiring managers. By staying active on LinkedIn, you’ll be the first to know about new job postings, and you’ll be ready to apply at a moment’s notice.
Flexible, accessible, dynamic—editing jobs from home have it all
If you have a computer and great initiative, doing editing jobs from home may be for you.
Of course, the other thing you’ll need is an expert understanding of the English language. Inklyo’s online training course, EditingCamp, can help you hone your editing skills and stand out from the crowd. Don’t hesitate to sign up today.
Image source: Swellphotography/Shutterstock.com
Find out about the day-to-day tasks involved in copy editing jobs
Not all copy editing jobs are the same. Different companies have different requirements of their staff. You may find yourself working as part of a team in which each person fulfills a section of the tasks that copy editors do. Copy editing jobs at small companies may encompass a much wider range of tasks, taking in the full spectrum of the various responsibilities a copy editor has. Some are even given responsibilities that might not always be assigned to workers carrying out normal copy editing jobs. Look through this list of tasks usually expected in copy editing jobs; you may end up doing all of these at once, or you may have just some of these responsibilities.
Correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors is often the responsibility of a proofreader, so you might think it is not part of all copy editing jobs. However, while proofreaders get hold of a text immediately before publishing, copy editors engage in proofreading as soon as the writer has finished the piece. As part of this task, you will need to make sure that the length of the text fits the specification the writer was given and that the piece consistently follows the required house style guide and the dictionary.
A key responsibility of all copy editing jobs is making sure the text being edited actually makes sense. This includes straightening out any confusion in wording or phrases that could be misinterpreted. In this task, you often have to return the work to the writer for clarification. This task, in particular, requires skill and discernment—if you decide to seek a role that includes content editing as well as basic proofreading, consider enrolling in an online editing course to sharpen your editing ability.
Copy editing jobs involve a range of fact checking. You have to check that what is written is accurate. Your company may have procedures in place that require the writer to provide sources for any assertions. You will also have to make sure that none of the text has been plagiarized and that all quotes have been properly attributed.
Many publishers have a specialist picture editor, and those carrying out copy editing jobs may not see any illustrations on a piece until it is published. However, other companies have copy editors do the work of checking the copyright on an associated photo, checking for appropriateness, and writing a caption.
Copy editing jobs vary widely in their requirements for contact between the copy editor and the writer. When working on newspaper or web articles, the copy editor is usually expected to have contact with the writer. However, in book publishing the copy editor almost never has direct contact with the author.
Image source: StockLite/Shutterstock.com
There are many different types of freelance editing jobs—how do you decide which is right for you?
If you have a permanent editing job, you may be curious about the world of freelance editing. Maybe you have worked with a freelance editor and decided that you could do the same thing. There is not one type of freelance contract, as experienced freelancers know. Once you start looking into the different options available to you, you will see that whether to go freelance is only the first in many decisions you will need to make before arriving at your ideal freelancing position.
Editorial companies and publishing houses take on the number of editorial staffers that are needed for the average amount of work in that business. However, sometimes, they may need to handle more work than their current staff can handle. In these instances, the employer does not want to worry about the long-term commitment that comes with hiring new staffers and might not require this staff for more than a few months. It might decide to create just one or two freelance editing jobs to get through the short-term expansion in demand. In some ways, these freelance editing jobs are the same as permanent positions in that you are expected to work in an office during regular business hours. As a freelancer, however, your employment contract will last for a limited time, such as two weeks, three months, or six months. The other difference between you and the permanent staff you work with is that they will receive sick pay and other non-wage benefits that you do not get. So what are the benefits of freelance editing jobs? They can pay better and may give you more varied work.
One growth area in freelance editing jobs is remote work. Remote freelance editing jobs are sometimes offered by companies that don’t want to provide large areas of office space in expensive cities. In general, home-based work allows more flexibility in hours than an office-based job. An editing job will have a deadline, but the employer does not specify the exact hours when the work should be performed. Freelance editing jobs can be carried out independently at hours that suit the worker. If the company requires the freelance editor to work with other staff or attend meetings through teleconferencing, specific hours of availability may be written into the contract. Another advantage is that the company can seek the best freelance staff from all over the world and is not limited to editors who live nearby. The great benefit to freelancers of this type of contract is that they can live anywhere in the world and meet their home-based commitments, such as caring for children or an elderly relative.
A major difference between freelance editing jobs and permanent positions is the pricing structure in many freelance contracts. In some places, companies that create freelance editing jobs are still obliged to extend the benefits and rights awarded to permanent employees to their freelancers. Paying on a task-by-task basis gets around this legal requirement. Remote workers are difficult to monitor, so employers are not always willing to give an hourly rate to people who work at home. Being paid by the task also ties in well with flexible working hours. It also opens up the possibility of infrequent work, and thus limited pay, for the remote freelance worker. At the same time, task-based editing jobs can let the freelancer take on several contracts concurrently.
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You don’t have to join the rat race—get into freelance editing
Editing is a precise vocation that requires a particular mindset. Some people have a natural ability to edit the work of others but can’t fit into the regular nine-to-five structure of a typical desk job. If you have started a career in editing but can’t stand the idea of being permanently tied to one company, you might find that freelance editing suits you.
Being a corporate player has its advantages. Getting experience in a well-respected publishing house will associate you with the reputation the company has within the publishing industry. If you have ambitions to be in charge of a publication as a managing editor, full-time employment is the best way to arrive at that goal. Freelance editing is not for everyone, and those driven by career goals should not necessarily opt out of permanent employment.
A permanent job can get a little boring for some. By tying yourself to a specific company or publication, you will find yourself pigeonholed in a particular subject area. Repetitive work can get some people down, but sticking with a fixed job may seem like the only way to gain a promotion. Freelance editing brings a wider range of opportunities. Companies generally supplement their regular editorial staff when they have a new project and need people to work on it so their regular employees can continue with other projects. This may result in freelance editing contractors getting the cutting-edge work, while the permanent staffers find they are trailing behind.
The Peter Principle states that employees get promoted until they find their own level of incompetence. If you enjoy your job and do it well, you are likely to be promoted out of it. This continues until you get promoted into a job that you don’t enjoy and so perform badly in it. Many people pursuing promotion for a greater income and more influence find they get promoted into a job they hate, but can’t return to the job they loved because that would entail a wage cut. Freelance editing enables you to stick to the job you love while gaining diversity in your daily challenges by frequently switching projects.
One of the main reasons people seek promotion out of the job they love is simply because they want to earn more money. Permanent employment earns you more than just a wage: you also get holiday pay, sick pay, retirement plan contributions, and health insurance benefits. If you are young and healthy, however, you may decide to forgo the non-wage benefits of a permanent job. The absence of benefits can mean that take-home pay, on a daily wage basis, is higher for freelance editors than for employed editors. This means you can increase your pay without having to climb the corporate ladder.
Freelance editing could be a good career move if you don’t want a management position, don’t need health benefits, and want varied work experience. There is a reason, however, that many in the industry are not drawn to freelance work. Permanent employment gives long-term security that freelance editing rarely brings. You may have worked full time in an office that has used the same freelancers for years and are drawn to the advantage you would have with such a long-term contract. However, such situations are rare, and most freelance editors see gaps in their employment. If you worry about making your next mortgage payment and have kids in school, maybe freelance editing is not for you. But if you have few commitments, don’t need loans, and don’t prioritize job security, consider the leap to freelance editing.
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