The advent of new technologies and talent marketplaces has made it easier than ever to find freelance proofreading and editing jobs online, and two professions, besides writers, that made the transition early were editors and proofreaders. These are professions you can, as long as you have some pretty decent English skills, start finding work in and gaining experience.
What’s The Difference Between Editing And Proofreading?
Many people do not understand the important fundamental differences between proofreading and editing and the terms are often used interchangeably. However, if you want to become a freelance editor or proofreader, you will have to have a very good grasp of these two terms as well as the other different types of editing. This is important so that your clients will have a clear idea of what to expect when hiring you and so you will be providing the services you say you will provide.
Editing and proofreading do share many similarities, but one is more involved than the other.
There are actually different types of editing: content or developmental editing looks at the big picture: whether there are logical, narrative or factual flaws in the piece. Line editing looks at word flow and sentence structure, and copyediting looks for grammatical and punctuation errors.
Proofreading is the final stage of editing – a final once-over to ensure there are no errors to be caught at the last minute. Sometimes proofreaders will not only look at the text, but the formatting, to ensure the document is ready for publication or printing.
Who Uses Proofreaders And Editors?
Just about anyone who has ever written anything they want published in an official or semi-official capacity has used an editor or proofreader. Nearly all businesses use proofreaders and editors to some degree, as it looks very sloppy and unprofessional if there are errors in correspondence or content put out by the company. Students use editors and proofreaders to ensure their papers are error-free before turning them in. Newspapers, magazines and journalists use editors so incorrect facts or other mistakes do not end up in articles. Authors, whether traditionally or independently published, need editors to ensure their ideas are presented clearly and in an easy-to-read manner.
Why Use A Proofreader Or Editor?
Using a proofreader or editor is necessary for anyone who wants to produce and release error-free documents for business, educational or artistic reasons. As more and more companies need to continuously produce content for social media, blogs and their own websites, the demand for freelance editors and proofreaders will increase.
If someone is looking to publish a book, whether fiction or non-fiction in any sort of professional capacity, they will need to use an editor and possibly a proofreader to ensure the end result is a polished product.
How Much Can You Make?
The salaries of online freelance proofreaders and editors vary widely. Much of what you make is determined by how much work you put in, and the sheer luck of finding and retaining good clients who are willing to pay what professional editing and proofreading is worth – which is often more expensive than people think. Some freelance editors and proofreaders make up to six figures, while others make minimum wage or supplemental income only.
Most of the major freelance job bidding sites, like Upwork and Freelancer.com, take anywhere from ten to twenty percent of the amount you bill to the client. Upwork recently altered their fee structure so that freelancers pay less fees the greater the amount billed to the client. Freelancer.com charges a small fee on the total, and you must also pay additional money in order to take certifying tests or for extra credits to bid on jobs. These fees are the cost of using the service to find work.
If you are lucky enough to land a remote job with a company, you will likely not need to worry about fee structures and either be paid by the project or a regular salary.
Where Can I Find Online Proofreading And Editing Jobs?
As the demand for online editing and proofreading jobs has grown, more and more boards that list freelance editing jobs have come into existence.
Upwork is a relatively new freelancing platform, born when giants Elance and oDesk merged in 2015. It is currently the largest online freelance marketplace and allows clients to post jobs and freelancers to bid on them. They list freelance jobs in many different fields, including online proofreading jobs and online editing jobs.
Freelancer.com is Upwork’s major competitor and is a global platform that does a lot of its business in Australia. The structure is similar – clients post jobs and freelancers bid on them.
Elite Editing is an Australian-based academic paper editing service. They also accept business and fiction editing projects. You must meet their qualifications and make it through their application process to begin working for them.
ProofreadingServices.com is one of the main sources for online proofreading jobs specifically. The drawback is that ProofreadingServices.com accepts very, very few of the applications it receives due to the high volume, even if you score very high on their test.
Freelance editing associations, of where there are plenty, are good organizations for aspiring freelance editors to join for a number of reasons. In addition to maintaining lists of jobs you can apply for, they allow you to connect with other freelancers and provide you access to benefits.
Even as a freelancer, it’s still important to have a presence on LinkedIn. Many companies that have no need for a full-time editor or proofreader post contract jobs on LinkedIn when they need one-off services. These jobs are often higher quality than the ones seen on job boards.
OzLance is an Australia-specific freelance site. Other freelance job sites are worldwide while OzLance only accepts workers from Australia and New Zealand. OzLance also has the added benefit of no fees for the freelancer, and only modest ones ($7 per job listing and three percent of the final amount) for the client.
Scribendi is a well-known editing and proofreading service for just about any kind of document you can imagine. You have to apply through their site to hopefully be selected as a freelance editor or proofreader.
Sometimes the best way to gain new freelance clients is to make pitches to publishers and businesses you believe could benefit from your services.
Rachel’s List is an Australian job posting and recruitment site for media staff, including editors. They only take established job-seekers at the moment, but do maintain an entry-level/graduate list as well that could potentially land you entry-level work.
Whatever methods you use, always be willing to try something different if you’re not getting acceptable results with your chosen approaches. Hopefully this guide will point you in the right direction to becoming a successful freelance editor or proofreader.