By Karin Beery


More business translates into more money, so it seems logical that freelance editors should take as much work as possible, right?

Maybe not.

Perhaps a better statement would be that more of the right business translates into more money, because not every job is going to be the right job for you. It’s tempting to take every job that comes your way, but it’s not always a good idea. Research has shown that people who enjoy their work but make less money actually save more money than those people who make more money but dislike their jobs. That makes selectivity a reasonable trait for any freelancer.

Here are a few times when it may be a good idea to pass on an editing gig.

  1. It’s not your genre. It can be tempting to say yes to a fiction editing job (especially if you need the money), but if you’ve never studied fiction, pass on the job. The same is true if you’re a fiction editor who has the chance to edit a nonfiction book or doctoral thesis. Each genre includes its own specific rules and guidelines—if you aren’t familiar with them all, you’re doing a disservice to your client.
  2. You don’t have time. Don’t accept a job you don’t have time to complete. It’s easy to think you can squeeze one more job into your schedule, but don’t look at your calendar through rose-colored glasses. Be honest about what you can do so you don’t end up rushing through a job just to meet a deadline. Each client deserves your best effort.
  3. You’re not interested. Working through a rough manuscript can be tedious. It can also be time consuming, even more so if you’re not interested in the topic or genre. That’s when your work becomes a burden, and if your work is a burden, it’s tempting to rush through the job just to be done with it.
  4. It’s all about the money. It’s never a good idea to let money be your only motivator, especially as a Christian editor. Don’t let a fear of finances push you into accepting a job that’s not a right fit for you. Not only will it end up being a struggle for you (see Numbers 1 and 3), but your emphasis ends up on getting the paycheck, not performing a quality edit.

Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to take every job that comes your way. Know your limits and set boundaries for which kinds of jobs you’ll accept and when. You—and your clients—will appreciate it.

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Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, Karin Beery specializes in fiction and professional business copy. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the American Christian Writers Association. A Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network member, she is the Substantive Editing for Fiction instructor for the PEN Institute. Karin is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at Word Wise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website,