by Karin Beery

Freelance work is a beautiful idea—no commute, no dress code, make your own hours. You only have to work with the people you want to work with and you can ignore the rest. Except when you don’t have any work lined up, so you take gigs you’re not really interested in or aren’t qualified to do.

No on wants to do that kind of work, but we need to work to pay the bills. So, how do we find better freelance gigs? Here are some tricks that have worked for me.*

  1. Get out there. No one’s going to hire you if they don’t know you exist. Improve your odds by joining Facebook groups for authors, attending conferences, and networking in places where writers and publishers hang out.
  2. Don’t be an advertisement. After you’ve completed #1, don’t spend all of your time talking about yourself and your business. That’s a huge turn off. It won’t matter how well connected you are if no one wants to talk to you.
  3. Engage sincerely. When an author asks a question, give an honest helpful answer with no strings attached. (See #2.) Let your knowledge speak for itself.
  4. Refer others. If someone’s asking for a developmental editor and you’re not sure what that is, don’t offer your services and provide a lackluster edit. When you do that, you’re essentially telling the author you don’t care about their manuscript; you only care about your next paycheck. Instead, refer the author to someone you know who provides that service. When people see that you care about their books more than your bank account, they’ll notice.
  5. BE KIND. Yes, I yelled that because it needs to be heard. I cannot stress enough the importance of interacting kindly and professionally with others (especially strangers!). What you say is only half of the equation; how you say it is as important. If you can’t keep the snark and judgment out of your tone, step away and respond later or walk away completely. Everyone else at the conference or in the Facebook group is listening/watching, and they’ll remember.

It takes time and some commitment to get your name out there, but I’ve had several strangers contact me because I used these five tricks. They can work for you too.

What are some tips you have for editors looking for freelance work?

*Another option to consider is joining the Christian Editor Connection. You need at least two years of freelance experience and you have to pass the editing tests with at least 85% accuracy, but the benefits are worth it—you’ll receive leads tailored to your skills and the type of work you do. There’s a membership fee to join, but most members earn back their fee each year by work received through CEC leads. This is one place where you don’t have to look for jobs—they come to you.

Owner of Write Now Editing, Karin Beery is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Christian Editor Network, where she teaches several editing classes through the PEN Institute and serves as the coordinator for the Christian Editor Connection. She is the Managing Editor of Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Her sophomore novel, Practically Married, is a 2020 INSPY Award semi-finalist.