You’ve developed top-notch editing skills. You’ve edited a few, if not several, projects. You’ve set up a website that rivals the best-looking site on the Internet. Now you’re ready to step up your game as a freelance editor.
Beyond the basics listed above, there are a few steps you can take to focus the attention of authors on your services.
Increase your competitiveness. Examine several websites of successful editors and see what you can offer that they don’t. (What would I consider a successful freelance editor? One with a viewable portfolio of projects similar to those you’d like to edit.) For example, can you offer sample edits of ten pages instead of five? Can you offer faster turnaround on editing projects? Can you offer a more competitive rate? Try to find at least one area where you can take a competitive lead. Editor websites are listed at the Christian PEN, the Editorial Freelancers Association, and Copyediting-L. (Googling freelance editor usually pulls up publishing services firms.)
Network locally. Find listings of local networking meetings on Facebook (in the search field, list your city and the word networking), com, and through chambers of commerce. If you’ve never attended a networking meeting, they can be a bit daunting. Pitches usually run one to three minutes, so prepare a couple elevator pitches of different lengths. Practice them! It’s okay to use notes, but stay within your designated time. The article “How to Create Your Memorable Elevator Pitch” offers some great pointers. Also, keep your business cards handy. Talk to attendees afterward. The key to networking is to show up regularly at the meetings.
Get your name out there. Set up a resume/cover letter on LinkedIn. Post a bio on me. Register your business on Goodreads editor and author groups. Look up author groups on Facebook, and if a group has an Editors file (check in the Files section, listed under the group’s home page photo), list your services. Include your tagline, and try to make your listing stand out by noting areas where you offer a competitive edge. In addition, join the groups and comment on authors’ posts. Providing helpful tips will get you noticed more than openly promoting your business will.
Ask satisfied clients for testimonials and referrals. Don’t limit requests for testimonials to major or paid projects only. Every editing job counts! Ask your authors to refer you to their writer friends, colleagues, and within their professional organizations. Be specific: ask that they recommend you when another author posts in a group page (typically on Facebook or Yahoo) that he or she is looking for an editor.
Join editor organizations such as the Christian PEN, the Editorial Freelancers Association, com, the Council of Science Editors, Copyediting-L, or one of the many others. You don’t have to join them all, but pick one or two that suit your business, and note these groups on your website, LinkedIn, and other listings. Also, join an editors’ group or two on Facebook, such as Christian Indie Editing Services or EAE Backroom. These organizations and groups offer valuable support to editors and provide a professional backdrop to your business.
Above all, deliver an incredible editing experience to your clients. Nothing will propel your freelance business to the next level faster than authors who can’t wait to say what an incredible editor they have.
Dori Harrell edits full time. As an editor, she releases more than twenty-five books annually. Her client list includes indie authors, best-selling writers, and publishers. An award-winning writer, she’s published more than 1,000 articles between her journalism career and freelance writing. She built and maintains her freelance editing business using the methods she noted in this blog post.