Saturday, February 23, 2013

Editing Your Way to Success

If you’re a highly energetic writer, freelance editing can provide a lucrative sideline, provided you have some experience. Many former full-time editors take on outside editing jobs once they go freelance. But just saying you’re an editor isn’t enough. This isn’t something you can dabble in. Publishers depend on editors to do some very crucial work.

So how do you get such editing jobs on a freelance basis if you don't have publishing-house experience? In most cases, you have to find them, not the other way around. And you’ll need to have done some editing, no matter how small the job and whether you paid or not, before you venture into this market.

Before you seek any editing job, you’ll need to become acquainted with the different kinds of editing publishing requires. Basically, there are three types—copyediting, content editing, and acquisitions editing. Basically, the copy editor is the one who checks every detail in the manuscript for grammatical and factual errors, seeing that the text conforms to whatever style the publishing house considers best and that it’s consistent throughout in the use of type and so forth.

The content editor clarifies ambiguous passages, suggests rearrangements of material so the manuscript reads better, and deals with other conceptual matters. But the content editor may also pencil edit for grammar and such. A content editor focuses on the whole piece of writing, whether it be an article, short story, or book.

The acquisitions editor works as an idea person for a book publisher. He or she scans literally hundreds of newspapers, magazines, competitors' catalogs, and the like for ideas for books and for possible new authors to add to the publisher's list. Large publishing houses separate content editing and acquisitions editing. Smaller firms have editors who handle both.

Although it’s more usual to get freelance jobs either copyediting or content editing, there are occasions when an acquisitions editor will take on a part-time assistant. Having a sense of mission may be the most important sales tool you have to convince a publisher of your worth. Persistence is the next most important. Editors may not be looking for anyone when you approach them. They may not have any editing jobs that need to be done, but as time goes on, they will, and you want them to call you when that happens.

The main point to remember besides persistence is to take any assignment offered you to get your foot in the door. If you do a great job on it, the editor will look to you for other editing assignments. If you want to try your hand at such jobs, show lots of enthusiasm, and let the client know what kind of editing and/or researching you do best. Keep after them until they hire you. Then give it your all.

In today’s world of self-publishing, lots of writers need their work edited, but they may not know it. Start by obtaining some of the shorter ebooks online and read them critically. If you notice lots of mistakes and unclear passages, contact the writer and see if you might be able to edit their work for a small sum, or, if you’re desperate, for free. The more of these small jobs you do, the better you’ll become. And you just might get some fairly well-paying ebooks editing jobs from professional writers who normally would have depended on their publishers to provide the edits.

1 comment:

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