I’m often asked how to get started as a freelance editor in the book publishing industry. While I’m not an editor myself, I’ve been a publisher for more than a decade and have lots of experience working with editors. The advice below is meant to help you find success quickly.Stephanie Chandler - Nonfiction Authors Association and Writers Conference

  • Join fellow freelancers through a professional organization such as The Editorial Freelancers Association or the National Association of Writers and Editors.
  • You may want to join local and national writers’ groups where you can network with potential clients. Word-of-mouth referrals can lead to great business opportunities.
  • Understand that most of the book publishing industry follows the Chicago Manual of Style, which means you should follow their guidelines as well. Following these guidelines is essential to working with book publishers. (Note that journalists and content creators favor the Associated Press Stylebook.)
  • It’s wise to create an online presence for your freelance business, either with your own website or a public profile through a professional association.
  • Decide what services you plan to offer. Some specialize in developmental editing, some prefer copy editing, while others prefer proofreading. You may choose to offer all services or claim a specialty. You may also decide you only want to work with nonfiction or mystery novels or some other genre you’re passionate about.
  • You can find industry standards for rates here: https://www.the-efa.org/rates/.
  • Most book publishers hire and work with freelance editors, including the largest publishing houses in the country. One of the best ways to get in front of publishers is to send emails to key contacts with a brief pitch and link to your online resume or website. Your message may get saved for future opportunities. Don’t be surprised if you hear from recipients months later.
  • You can often locate contact information directly on publishers’ websites. LinkedIn is another great place to track down publisher contacts.
  • Keep in mind that publishers want to hear from you! It is not a nuisance to receive email pitches. These are usually welcomed by publishers because they are often on the hunt for new freelance talent.
  • If you set a goal to send out ten email pitches per day, you will likely find work quickly!
  • You can list your services through freelance directories like com, though expect rates to be on the lower side due to the large amount of competition. However, this can be a good way to start building your experience and professional resume.

Good luck!

Stephanie Chandler is the author of several books including The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan: The Professional Guide to Profitable Self-Publishing and The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Online and Offline Promotion Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. Stephanie is also founder and CEO of the Nonfiction Authors Association, a vibrant community for writers, and the Nonfiction Writers Conference, an event conducted entirely online since 2010. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, and Wired magazine.

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