by Sue A. Fairchild

I began my editing career by taking any bit of work that came my way. Initially, I worked a lot for online marketplaces like Guru and Fiverr. Although these places were a decent place to start, I wouldn’t recommend them now to emerging freelancers. Typically, the pay was abysmal and the customers’ attitudes even worse. Working in this type of dire environment—fighting for work for little pay with people who don’t really want your feedback—cut down my self-esteem.

Where, then, would I suggest finding work for aspiring freelance editors? Here’s a short list of ideas.

  • Friends and people you know on social media. Although working with friends can be a sensitive and sometimes precarious situation, doing so has never gone wrong for me. You’re looking for any bit of editing that can help you get your foot in the door and work out the kinks in your process. Start by editing small church bulletins or organization’s newsletters—you have friends in church and in other organizations, advise them of your services and ask how you can help. Completing smaller jobs acclimates you to the process, to what works, and what doesn’t. In addition, friends, hopefully, will understand any of your errors.
  • Writing conferences. Where can you find writers to work with? Writing conferences. Where can you find other editing professionals to share information? Writing conferences. Where can you find valuable tips and tools for the writing process? Writing conferences. Need I say more? My favorite is the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference. It’s small enough to make real connections yet big enough to learn and grow in your craft. Of course, PENCON is the MUST conference for editors. And there are plenty more all over the country. Check your area for other conferences and retreats in which to find your tribe.
  • Seek advice and don’t be afraid to ask. Finding work might seem like a daunting task. Maybe you don’t know where to look, or perhaps you aren’t sure how to approach a publishing house. Do what I did—I simply asked. First, I joined The Christian PEN which introduced me to a lot of other editors. Then, once I had established some professional relationships, I began asking questions. If you don’t ask, how will you ever know the answer? Investigate professional organizations full of like-minded individuals and then start learning from these seasoned professionals. Most of the time, they’ll be willing to help.
  • Continue learning. The PEN Institute is a great place to start taking some classes to assist in your editing career endeavors. Look for other places such as Udemy, Writers Digest University, and Christian Writers Institute for classes and workshops with which to hone your skills.
  • Ask God to point the way. The first year of my career, I sought work in the wrong places and made a lot of horrible decisions. I tried to succeed on my own, because I forgot to keep God in the mix. When I handed my hopes and dreams over to God the second year, doors began to open, and He directed me to people and organizations that have helped my career blossom. Asking God for help is the best decision I’ve ever made in my editing career.

Remember, it’s up to you to find work and establish yourself as a professional, but there is lots of help to be had when you search the right places.

Sue started out as a devotion writer, but now also claims the titles of editor, proofreader, webmistress, and writing coach. She is a freelance editor with Elk Lake Publishing, proofreader for Iron Stream Media, blog coordinator for the PEN Tips Blog, and webmistress for St. Davids Christian Writers’ Association. She has written and self-published four books as well as helped a variety of authors get their manuscripts into readers’ hands. Sue loves working with clients that are working toward the greater good of sharing God’s message in this world. Email or visit her website: Sue A. Fairchild