This is a guest post by freelance writer Kimberly Crossland.
Are you the type of person who cringes at bad grammar? Do you constantly correct your friends text messages, and social media status updates? If so, you know that editorial work is in your cards. But how do you get the high-paying jobs you deserve?
Freelance editors have a lot to offer authors. Without their critical part in the book publishing process, authors may not be able to do their writing justice by conveying their message in a clear, grammatically correct format.
But how do you hone your craft and make yourself stand out in a crowded field of other freelance editors?
You have to position yourself as more than a proofreader. As you know, editors do far more work than small tweaks. You sift through (sometimes poorly written) content and make the voice of the author shine through. You fact check. And, you help the author put their best foot forward.
Quality freelance editors are in high demand. No matter what type of books you like to edit, there is a position for you. To snatch up these fun, and lucrative jobs, there are a few things you can do to make yourself better, and make yourself rise above the crowd.
Learn How to Eliminate the Fluff
Spotting fluff, or extraneous text, may be easy. The hard part comes when you need to edit it out and make it more substantial.
Experienced editors know how critical it is to keep unnecessary words out of sentences to make them easier to understand. As you practice eliminating fluff from the books you edit, focus on the natural flow of the paragraph. Does it help to have descriptive wording? Or is that wording distracting and hard to read? To become a better editor, you need to know how to remove unnecessary text and make each sentence simple enough for readers of all levels to grasp.
Double Up on the Fact Checking
Consider the fact that many authors use their book to create a name for themselves in the media. With this in mind, you know how critical it is that each fact, or claim they make is accurate and truthful. Perhaps nothing can ruin an author’s reputation more than incorrect citations, statements, and facts. In the editing process, it is vital that you fact check all of the author’s claims. Although they may have mistakenly misquoted or miswrote something, it is your job to find this error and fix it before the book goes to print. Doing so will strengthen the writing, and the credibility of both you and the author, which can help you land more high-quality clients in the future.
Work With a Variety of Writers
Many new and experienced editors are married to their style. They have a difficult time editing and working with a variety of voices, making it hard to edit in the style and voice of the author they’re working for. As an editor, it is good practice, and good experience to work with a variety of writers. This way, you can get familiar with what it takes to edit, and sometimes rewrite in a way that will maintain consistency with the voice of the author you’re working with. Doing this will save you a lot of frustration and make you an overall better editor.
As you continue making a name for yourself as a freelance editor, doing these three things will strengthen your reputation. It will allow you to stand out as someone who understands how to fine tune stories and books so that they convey a clear, compelling story, while maintaining the credibility and style of the author.
What else do you do to hone your craft as a freelance editor?