Written by Jayna Baas

Welcome to our bimonthly blog series for “newbie” editors. You’ve finally taken the plunge into professional editing—congratulations! Or perhaps you’re still testing the waters. In either case, you may be wondering, Where do I start?

You might think that editing anything at every level makes you more marketable. But potential clients look for someone who offers what they need. They want to know that you have a greater interest in their type of manuscript than someone else’s.

Are you interested in editing fiction or nonfiction? If you can’t decide, choose the one you are more interested in now. You can always add the other later. Once you’ve decided on the type of content, you can drill down or remain flexible to see what types of fiction or nonfiction content inspire you most.

What level of editing are you most proficient at? You might start with proofreading, then add another level as you gain experience. Perhaps you already proofread and copyedit but want to move into content editing. You might add line editing to your services and then drop proofreading once you gain a line-editing job.

PENCON has audio and video recordings that address these niche markets. Some are listed below, but check the catalog for others:

  • Content Editing for Websites, Karin Beery, 2021
  • Editing Picture Books, Kim Childress, 2022
  • Editing Middle Grade and YA Nonfiction, Kim Childress and Kelly White, 2022
  • Academic Editing, Kelli Sallman, 2022
  • Proofreading for Publishers, Barb Barnes, 2022

If you haven’t already done so, you may find it helpful to join The Christian PEN as a Silver or Gold member so you can access the PEN Loop, our email group where you can ask your editing-related questions and find helpful guidance from more experienced editors. Bronze members can easily change their membership level at any time.

Thank you for subscribing to PEN Tips, and we hope you continue to enjoy the education, tips, and inspiration we offer.

Jayna Baas director photoJayna Baas is the current PEN Director and has been in love with words ever since she learned to use them. As a freelance editor, she specializes in copyediting and proofreading for a polished reading experience. As a Christian fiction author, she is passionate about helping fellow writers present Christ-honoring messages with confidence and excellence. Jayna lives in northern Michigan, where she enjoys gardening, good coffee, and time with family.