Starting Out as a Freelance Copy Editor

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How can I get started as a freelancer?

Starting Out as a Freelance Copy Editor

Many publications have lists of freelance editors they rely on for their regular needs. Others hire former co-workers or hire through their networks. So how can a newcomer get jobs?

  • Use your own network. If you don't know anyone in the publishing or media industries, maybe you know someone who does. It doesn't hurt to ask "Who hires freelance editors in your organization?"
  • Build your network. Join or start a group of media and publishing professionals in your area. See if there's a local chapter of the American Copy Editors Society (ACES).
  • There are several sites online (Craigslist, and, among others) that offer private copy editing jobs to the low bidder. While the quality of the clientele and projects varies widely, you may be able to find portfolio-building jobs this way. You probably won't be able to charge top dollar, but you will have some projects under your belt with which to prove yourself.
  • Use your past experiences to specialize. If you've worked in health care or a technical field, pitch your skills to publications and Web sites in those areas. If your expertise is in child care or teaching, pitch to parenting publications or educational publishing companies.
  • Let your friends and family know you're available as an editor. Even your cousin's resume or Dad's holiday letter to his clients can help fill out your portfolio.



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