How to be a Freelance Editor

Freelance Editor

Editing has always been a prestigious job. Although, it has its share of risk; all the writing work must go through you. You need to be extremely thorough, and be able to spot errors that others overlook.

Editing from home isn’t a bad option to consider. When you think about it, it is quite what you picture it to be, although not as glamorous initially. Whatever your motive of opting for this career option, you rest assured that freelance editing is a reasonable job option, one that can fetch you money and credibility and ultimately lead to, what most of us desire, a financially secure life.

Freelance Editing Jobs

We often think editing and writing is interchangeable. For those of you, who know about this fine distinction, you will agree when people say, editors are writers it is usually not the other way round.

Editors have a different set of job duties to writers, and not all of them would revolve around content. Sure, content would be a big part, but there are certain aspects that also fall under your purview. Some prominent job duties that encompass an editor’s daily vocation:

  • Write, edit and rephrase content to improve readability and supervise others do so.
  • Read content or proof and be able to detect errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Allocate space for content, illustrations and other interactive panes according to layout principles and user experience
  • Plan the contents of publications based on style, editorial policy and publishing requirements
  • Verify statistics and data using reference sources.
  • Review and approve proofs before final publication


To become successful Freelance editor, there are certain skills that you need to master. Editing can be a very monotonous job and if you switch off, you can become a laughing stock in no time. Some skills that you should consider learning include:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Writing
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Time Management
  • Judgement and Decision Making
  • Active Learning
  • Coordination
  • Social Perceptiveness

E-learning platforms like Lynda, Copy Editing UK, MediaBistro and train4publishing offer free and paid instructional videos and classes on editing, where you can learn without having to move from your seat.

Goodreads, a book sharing and review site, has been awarded a generous 4.2/ 5.0 rating for The Yahoo Style Guide, first published in 2009. It is a benchmark for web writing, editing and styling practices today.

Being Successful As A Professional Editor

Freelance editing can seem like a good deal; a good job, a chance to turn a hobby into a profession, and a chance to enjoy a serene working environment like your house. While there will be the usual complaints that many like you have about not being able to interact with many people, there are more upsides than down sides as many find out.

More often than not, talent is not a determinant of success in any sphere. It is possibly truer for editors, with the freelance market insisting that talent combined with the relevant experience can attract the best employers.

To be successful as an editor, you must:

  • Understand business etiquette
  • Be organised
  • Have a solid grasp of the publication
  • Suggest sources
  • Be a prudent writer
  • Follow through on suggestions and be open for any changes due to the specifics of a publication
  • Appreciate your writers and the publication teams to get the best out of them
  • Build a solid network
  • Be visible and approachable among your network

Freelance Editor Salary

Your ability to network and the credibility of your work with previous employees can affect your revenue, as an editor.

Usually freelance portals offer two generic kinds of payment models to freelancers. Fixed-price, where the price is usually pre-determined and a budget is sanctioned which you can bid for, and the hourly payment model where the employer decides on an hourly pay.

Usually a fixed price model may range from $50-500 upwards, while you have to pitch for hourly projects, which usually range from $5-35 an hour, with average payments at $20 per hour.

Finding Work

Many forums and websites offer work for freelance editors. Odesk, Elance, Guru, MediaBistroand Freelancer offer many remote editing jobs.


You can learn editing online by browsing through the plethora of resources available. There are many kinds of resources, EBooks, instructional videos, study material available online. There are many resources available for you to begin freelance editing as a career. Some websites that offer study material online and host instructional videos include:

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