What is the process for becoming a freelance editor?

This page is directed toward those who have already developed their editing skills through a degree in journalism, courses in grammar and editing, editing experience, or are are certified copyeditors. The first step in becoming an editor is developing your skills as an editor; this page will help guide you in the business side of becoming and editor, not the skills side.1 sharp red pen

How to become an editor

There are many paths to becoming a freelance editor but an easy way to begin is by building a website to offer your services and networking, developing a billing plan, and legally running your freelance work like the entrepreneurial business that it is.


Create your own website that displays samples of the work you’ve done, states the training and experience you’ve had, and provides a way for potential clients to contact you.

Join a freelance association such as Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) to gain access to freelance job postings.

Join online editorial communities such as The Subversive Copyeditor Blog in order to stay connected and up to date on news within the world of editing.


Find and use and invoice system

If you only have a few clients at a time you will likely be safe creating your own spreadsheets and invoices. However, as your client list grows you might need a more sophisticated system. Find an online invoicing service like FreshBooks or Zoho Invoice.

Decide how you are going to charge

There are three ways to charge a client:

1)      By project– a flat fee that varies depending on the project

2)      By word– this can range anywhere from 2-11 cents per word depending on the project. See “How Much Should I Charge” for a chart of average per word pricing based on project type

3)      By hour– this can also range from $20- $65 per hour depending on the project. See EFA’s “Editorial Rates” for a chart of average per hour pricing based on project type

Decide when you are going to charge

It is a good idea to send invoices to clients in thirds:

1)      First third due upfront as a deposit (can also be called a “reading fee”)

2)      Second third due upon delivery of initial draft

3)      Final third due upon delivery of final draft

Get it in writing

After you’ve made all of your decisions about the how and when of the billing, draft up a template for a contract or written agreement that you can tweak and send to each client.

For each project you should print two copies of the agreement and have them both signed, one for you to keep for your records, and the other for the client to keep for his or hers.

For more information

Freelance editing contract template http://www.the-efa.org/res/sample_agreement.php

Tips on earning money as a freelance editor http://writingcareercoach.com/earning-money-as-a-freelance-writer-or-editor/

Tips on starting out as a freelance editor http://ask.metafilter.com/241467/How-do-I-not-get-screwed-on-freelance-editing-work

Steps to becoming a freelance editor http://work.chron.com/become-paid-freelance-editor-proofreader-15247.html

Information about copyediting certification http://www.copyediting.com/tip-week-copyeditor-training-part-1

Image source http://editingapa.com/

Kelsey Summers is a graduate from Texas Christian University. She has edited several novels along with other online material and continues to freelance edit as often as possible while still developing her craft.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s