How to Become Freelance Editor and Proofreader

Editing and proofreading are two distinct services you could offer as a freelancer. Some people mistakenly use the terms interchangeably, but they are different fields. However, editing and proofreading are similar enough for you to easily sell both services online. Below we will explain the differences between editing and proofreading and how you can become a freelance editor and proofreader.

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the final look-over you give a piece of writing before publishing it. The goal is to catch any typos or errors that evaded the writer’s eyes. Some of the errors you’ll catch could be quite embarrassing for the author if it was published, making proofreading a highly valued service. Another responsibility that proofreaders sometimes take on is checking the format to ensure all is well. Freelance proofreading is a lucrative profession because many businesses and individuals alike are in need of this service. Hiring a freelance proofreader is often more cost-effective than hiring a full-time proofreader.

How to Become a Freelance Proofreader

To become a freelance proofreader, you must have good grammar and spelling. How can you detect errors if you don’t know what’s incorrect? Fortunately, you can find free grammar guides online to master grammar. You should also become familiar with common word confusions, such as using “than” when it’s actually “then” or mixing up “your” and “you’re”. It’s not enough to know the correct usage. You must be so comfortable with the correct usage that you can easily spot the errors while reading.

Once you know your grammar, it’s easy to get started as a freelance proofreader. You can find clients on sites like Proofreading Services, LinkedIn, and Scribendi. It’s also worth creating your own website for finding clients. You can usually charge more for your services that way.

Proofreading Tips

  • Read the text out loud. This can help you catch errors, especially those involving commas.
  • Proofread in a quiet location, so you can focus on the text and avoid missing typos or minor mistakes.
  • Print a copy of the content to proofread it.
  • Cover the lines you are not reading with two sheets of paper
  • Double check numbers. Sometimes a mistake with numbers is obvious, such as “there are 7.1 million people in the world”. You know that number is much larger. It should be “there are 7.1 billion people in the world.”

What is Editing?

Editing is the preparation of content for publishing. This process can involve correcting errors, improving organization, condensing content, and making other necessary modifications that improve the writing. Exactly what’s expected of you depends on the type of editing you do. In copy editing, for example, you’re responsible for finding punctuation and grammatical errors. Line editors, in contrast, are concerned with word flow and sentence structure. Content or developmental editing involves detecting flaws in logic, narration, or facts.

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How to Become Freelance Editor

It’ll be difficult to get hired without experience or training in editing. If you don’t have experience or prior training, then it’s a good idea to obtain an editing certification. Due to stiff competition, it’s also helpful to pick a specific niche to offer editing services for. An example of a specific service to offer is PhD thesis editing service. It’s one of the most lucrative niches to pick in editing as well. You can find jobs on sites like Elite Editing or Upwork.

Editing Tips

  • Split long sentences into two sentences.
  • Eliminate adverbs when possible.
  • Delete redundant words.
  • Remove “that” when possible as it’s usually not needed.
  • Look for usage of the words “very” and “really”. These words can usually be deleted.
  • Search for the word “thing”, and replace it with a more descriptive term.
  • Remember that “who” is used for people and “that” is used for objects. Using “that” for people is one of the most common mistakes online writers make.

To become a freelance editor and proofreader, you must master grammar and develop an eye for detail. Learning grammar is easy thanks to the free resources online. Most clients want reassurance in the form of credentials or previous work that you know how to edit. This means you’ll either have to obtain an editing certification or accept lesser paying jobs in the beginning to gain experience. Becoming a freelance editor and proofreader also requires a willingness to find clients through online job sites and your own website. You’ll find some of the best part time jobs on LinkedIn and Upwork, but consider other sites for finding clients too.

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