Platforms for Freelance Editors

There are many perks to being a freelance editor. You can set your own schedule, choose editorial tasks that suit you and play to your strengths, and you can often work from the comfort of your own home. But if you’re a new freelance editor on the scene, you might have some trouble breaking into the field and establishing yourself as an authority in your particular specialty. Whether you specialize in developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading, or some combination of the three, there are a few great online platforms you can use to kickstart or revamp your career.

The first platform is great for editors who are just getting started and want to establish themselves in the field. Upwork is a platform that allows freelancers of all types to find remote work opportunities posted by companies and individuals looking for experts. All you need to do to get started is create a profile on their site, upload some personal information, and provide your past relevant work experience. Once your profile has been approved, you’re all set to start applying for jobs.

Reedsy is another great site for freelance editors to find work, and it has the added bonus of focusing specifically on the development and production of books. If you’re a freelance book editor looking to expand your client base and get more projects, this is a great place to start. As with most sites, it may take a little time to get fully established, and Reedsy is especially useful for editors who already have a portfolio of work they can showcase.

Another popular platform for freelancers that editors can make use of is Fiverr. While this particular site doesn’t focus exclusively on book production like Reedsy does, it still offers numerous opportunities for editors to find work, especially those who specialize in copyediting and proofreading. It also gives you the opportunity to curate your own presence on the site with images and work samples so you can attract the kind of editorial clients you’d ultimately like to work with.

These three sites are all great starting points for editors looking to find their first clients or for those looking to revamp their careers. They allow editors to start out and get some basic editorial experience, and your success on these sites will compound the more experience you get. Be sure to collect work samples from each project you complete, as well as testimonials from clients you work with so you can add them to your profile to attract future clients. There’s a lot of competition for editors out there, so it’s important to make yourself stand out and highlight what makes you unique.

When setting your rates, be sure to refer to the Editorial Freelancer’s Association and their editorial rates page as well as considering the going rates for comparable editors on the site you choose. Remember that one of the biggest mistakes new editors make is not charging enough for their services, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve! You want your rates to be competitive, but above all, to reflect your talent, expertise, and the value of your work.

The Benefits of Working Directly with an Editor

After writing a book, the next step—editing—can seem daunting. The good news? You wrote a book! Yay!

Getting started on the next steps means finding an editor. In a world where almost everything is at our fingertips, finding an editor online can be easy. Not only can you find professional editors near you, but you can also visit websites like Scribendi and BookBaby that have already hired freelance editors.

Knowing how to choose an editor can be difficult, and it is important to find a good match. Online editing sites offer an accessible option for quickly getting a book edited, which can be an alluring prospect. Why shouldn’t you pick online editing?

Depending on your editing needs, an online editing service may not be the best option. Both BookBaby and Scribendi offer copyediting and line-level editing. Scribendi also offers manuscript editing, which it describes as “a line-by-line edit of your early draft, including revisions for language issues and advice on content.” But if you are looking for a true global or developmental edit—which offers an opportunity to work with an editor beyond line-level issues—these sites do not appear to offer these services. In these cases, an editor who you can speak to directly may be a better option.

Working directly with an editor gives writers the opportunity to benefit from all kinds of editing. Most professional editors specialize in a specific kind of editing, which means you’re often getting a higher-quality edit, since their skills have been honed in that particular area.

It is also helpful to have a relationship with your editor. An editor who you hire yourself will have your book’s best interests in mind, and they will want to collaborate with you to make your book as great as it can be. A connection with your editor can be a huge benefit during the process of publishing (although it might not be necessary).

Additionally, most professional editors are a part of the publishing industry and have a better sense of the business, which is invaluable. Some editors have the ability to work on book proposals, query letters, and other submission or marketing materials to make sure that everything is ready for submission. Their membership in the publishing community means they are more aware of publishing trends and can give you advice about your book.

Working with an editor is an important experience in making a book the best version of itself, so finding the right match in terms of your editing needs is important. But working directly with a professional editor goes beyond the editing itself: it creates an invaluable relationship that online editing services don’t provide.

Bonus: If you’re wondering where you can find a guide for how much a professional editor costs, check out the Editorial Freelancers Association website.

Editing Outside the Lines

Throughout its life before printing, a manuscript can and will undergo many different kinds of editing. Here at Ooligan Press, we break up our editing into developmental editing, line-editing, copyediting, and proofreading. In her article “Understanding Different Types of Editing: What Kind of Freelance Editor do I Need”, Jenna Rose Robins describes several different kinds of editing. These can then be divided even further into levels of editing, depending on the needs of the manuscript.

Ultimately, each kind of editing can mean different things to different editors. But even when you have the lines between the various types of editing more clearly defined, certain styles of editing can bleed over between types and others cannot. It all depends on timing and the needs of the manuscript or publishing house.

Developmental editing usually happens first while a manuscript is still in need of organization and narrative development. This is when a story changes the most, and there’s the most leeway for change. Editors will prioritize development in this stage, but comments pointing out global line edits or copyedits can help a writer fix large-scale mistakes before they become a problem later.

Line editing approaches the manuscript from a global language scale. A line editor will point out consistent language errors and concerns such as repeated phrases or unvarying sentence length and patterns. Line editing can often look like heavy copyediting when there is time to focus on specific scenes or bring up large issues with the plot.

Copyediting comes in various levels: heavy, in which sentences and scenes can be modified greatly, medium, in which suggestions for changes are given, and light, in which manuscripts are made to fit style guides. For an in-depth discussion of the levels of copyediting, check out Amy Einsohn’s The Copyeditor’s Handbook. Copyediting can often include the other kinds of editing, but by a light copyedit, there’s little to no time to make big changes to a manuscript.

A proofread is the strictest form of editing. By the time a book arrives at the proofreading stage, the manuscript has often been designed with tracking and kerning changes. The proofread finalizes punctuation and spelling, making only the small and most glaring changes. At this point, there is no room for plot changes and little room for larger sentence-level changes.

While there are different forms of editing and as an editor you will usually be hired to focus on one kind of editing at a time, you can use the tools from each type to assist you throughout the process. A proofreader’s ability to spot small errors can help a developmental editor find important plot holes. The ability to make large developmental changes with an author can help an editor handling tricky scenes amidst heavy and light copyedits. These kinds of tools and skills are helpful for all types of editing, and there are many ways to bring in the different forms of editing outside the lines of traditional editing itself.