Freelance Niche: Editing

Editing is an important part of the freelance writing career, or at least it should be. If you know grammar extremely well, and you have a knack for making other people’s writing better, you may want to consider focusing on editing in your career. Writers with an eye for detail (ie. perfectionists) can most certainly earn a great deal of money as an editor.

What Editing Entails

Some editing jobs are simple proofreading, while others require rewriting. An editor may need to adjust the grammar, spelling, and awkward sentence structure of a piece that was translated from another language or clarify the thoughts written by someone who has trouble writing well.

Web copyediting is important, as many people need to make sure that their website content is appropriate, error free, and professional. I have seen some editing projects that require the daily editing of batches of web articles written by different people.

In the editing niche, you may find some academic editing work, such as dissertations, essays, text books, speeches and more. In some cases, editors are required to have some background knowledge in the subject matter so that they can verify accuracy in text as well.

Business documents such as proposals, white papers, letters and similar pieces may require and editor’s eye as well. Reports may require industry knowledge or experience, which can allow an editor to charge a higher rate for their expertise.

People searching for jobs may also look for an editor to assist with their resume and cover letters.

It is common that writers who want to get published will hire an editor to perfect their work before it goes to print. Writers can truly benefit from having an editor available to assist with proofreading and developing ideas, and that is a good selling point you can use.

How much are editors paid?

Editors sometimes charge by the hour, making $30-$100 per hour. Some editors charge a few dollars per page, depending on the amount of work that has to be done and their level of experience. Proofreading would naturally pay less than rewriting or restructuring a work entirely.

Editing Tips

It is best to try to change as little as possible when editing. Preserving the voice of the author is vital, as is making sure that the intent and meaning of the words remains.

Take your time and pay close attention to detail. As an editor, it is your job to pick up on things that the average reader would not.

Look beyond the internet for editing and proofreading jobs. While there are some available online, they may not pay very well, and there is fierce competition for those projects. Local businesses, magazines, newspapers, and other writers may have a need for editing, so try to network offline as much as possible.

Build a strong portfolio. Every writer is also an editor to some degree, so as someone who specializes in editing, you need to exemplify excellent grammar and polished, error-free work. As you gain experience, you may want to consider presenting some “before and after work” so that potential clients can get a sense of your ability. You must be able to prove that you can write well because a good editor is also a great writer.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m a freelance writer/editor who specializes in technical docs. However, a friend has asked me to edit his novel. This is not the first novel that I’ve edited but it is by far the best one I’ve worked on and a legit publisher has expressed interest in it. My agreement with my friend was that he would pay me a percentage of whatever he earned from the book, if anything, but we never discussed a specific percentage. Do you have any advice regarding an appropriate percentage-based fee for book editing?

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