7 Things I Learned in 3 Months as a Freelance Editor

7 Things I Learned in 3 Months as a Freelance Editor

The beginning of your freelance career is the time you make the most mistakes, but that also means it’s also the time you learn the most. And let’s face it, who knows that to err is human better than an editor? Here’s what I learned as a freelance editor after three months (mostly the hard way).

The beginning of your freelance career is the time you make the most mistakes, but that also means it’s also the time you learn the most. And let’s face it, who knows that to err is human better than an editor? Here’s what I learned as a freelance editor after three months (mostly the hard way).

  1. Fiverr and Upwork aren’t goldmines

I know that some people have a lot of success with Fiverr, but for me, the time investment in Fiverr isn’t worth it. You need a lot of time to create and tweak a good gig to get more eyeballs. I had some interest in my gigs, but I got ghosted several times for no reason I can think of so it was a bunch of time wasted. After being on the platform a few months, I have one completed gig so far. One.

I think there are two main problems with platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. Firstly, there are a ton of so-called editors who copy-paste the same response for every gig no matter what the job is. They just drown out everyone else by their sheer volume. By the time you find and read an interesting gig and want to reply with your offer, you’re already 323rd in a never-ending string of editors that will “professionally edit for $5.” Which brings me to my next point — the ridiculous prices. After getting a tidal wave of offers to edit a 100K word masterpiece for $5, a lot of people will jump on that choo choo train and ride on by your offer of professional editing for normal money.

2. If you see a content mill, run.

Content mills are always looking for editors and promising you tons of work and good money. Do a little research and it turns out you’ll have a lot of low quality work and meh money when you factor in all their fees and commissions. Plus the work you get turns out not to really be editing, but more like rewriting since most of the work comes from non-native speakers of English. I know there are a lot of new editors who think this might be a good place to start and gain experience, but you won’t gain any experience or move forward with your career. Just stay away. Really far away.

3. Solitude is safer in numbers

There are a few Facebook groups that bring together editors and writers and you can sometimes find some interesting jobs there. Other than that, you can also use the groups to just connect with other editors and ask questions or engage in passionate discussions about where a comma should go. Copy editing can be a lonely road so it’s nice to be able to connect and share thoughts and stories. It is, however, a place where you can also get spammed by shady people claiming that they want to hire you and promise lots of work and good money. You already know what to do with them.

Goodreads is a huge reading community, but it also brings together writers and editors. There are a few Goodreads groups that are designed just for that and you can respond to calls for editors or post your own ad for free (make sure to abide by the group rules). Goodreads is also a great place for beta readers to offer their services. That said, a lot of the Goodreads community is focused on free services so you won’t be making millions there. On the flip side, it’s a better place to really gain some experience in editing and working with writers that’s better than any content mill.

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