INSIDE: Looking for a career that allows you to work from home and enjoy your love of reading? Discover the benefits of this exciting opportunity and how to become a book editor from home, plus where to find work.
Do you love reading and learning new things? Are you good at organizing complex ideas? Do you like to dig into the details? If so, you might find a career in book editing to be a good fit.
The goal of a book editor is to create the best reading experience for the end-user. Your specific job involves improving the flow of the writing, as well as fix errors and ensure that the writing is as clear as can be.
Within the umbrella term of ‘editor,’ there are also several types of editors that focus on different aspects of the book. Some of the types of editors include:
- Developmental editors: this person is focused on the book as a whole. Is it well structured, do the plot and characters make sense, does it flow?
- Copy editors: this person is responsible for conducting line-by-line edits. They might do fact-checking, and check the text for grammatical and spelling errors.
- Proofreaders: the proofreader is the last line of editorial defence. It is their job to ensure that every word is spelled correctly and the punctuation is perfect.
Benefits of becoming a book editor at home
The obvious benefit of being a book editor at home is that you get to work from home! No long morning commute, no busy office, and no need to spend a ton of time getting ready in the morning.
The additional benefits you can reap as a book editor will depend on whether or not you work for a company or do freelance editing.
When you work for a company, you’re guaranteed a steady paycheck, a defined schedule, and you get to work within a larger team. This means there are other people to reach out to if you want to bounce ideas off of them or ask questions.
The benefits of working as a freelance editor include the ability to manage your own schedule as well as control over which clients you take on.
As a freelance editor, you also have more say over how much you want to make per year. If you’re someone who is ready to hustle, network, and really make things happen, then the sky's the limit.
Other factors that will contribute to how much money you make as an editor include:
- Type of editing (development editing vs. proofreading)
- Years of experience
- The niche or field you work in
When it comes to how much a book editor makes on average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the median annual wage for editors was $61,370 in 2019. The lowest 10% of editors made $32,620 per year while the top 10% made more than $122,280.
Skills needed to become a book editor from home
To become a successful work from home book editor, you will obviously need to be excellent in spelling and grammar. You will also need to have the ability to:
- Reorganize documents to create clarity and flow
- Communicate well with others
- Manage deadlines
- Self-motivate and work well independently
- Be patient. Not everything you read is going to be good
The specific skills that you need will also depend on the type of book editing that you want to do. If you want to be a copy editor then you might also need to be skilled at things like fact-checking. If you want a career in general proofreading then you must have an eye for details.
If you are more interested in freelancing as opposed to working for a publishing company, you will also need to be skilled in networking. Finding clients will likely be one of the most challenging tasks. You will also need to learn how to charge for your editing services.
When you get a new client and you are trying to work out your book editing costs, make sure you consider the following:
- Book editing needs – developmental, copyediting, or proofreading. Developmental editing typically costs more than proofreading.
- Deadline – how fast is the turnaround? Super short deadlines typically mean you can charge more money.
- Niche – the niche you choose will also depend on how much you charge for your services. Academic writing that requires adherence to particular style guides will typically cost more than editing a simple blog post.
Training or experience required to become a book editor at home
If you’re interested in a career as a book editor most companies or freelance clients will want to see the following:
Most editors have a degree in English, Journalism, or Communications. These degrees help to provide the essential skills that are needed to excel as an editor. Some editors will go on to obtain different certificates or even graduate degrees related to editing.
Before you are hired on by a publishing house or before being hired as a freelance editor, employers and clients are going to want to see that you have experience. If you want a career as a professional book editor then pursue every opportunity you can so you can begin building a portfolio.
Edit your college newspaper, look for assistant editor internships at a publishing company, start blogging and editing your own stuff so you can add it to your portfolio.
While you never want to work for free, if you are just getting started, it can be worth it to offer your editing services at a reduced rate to a couple of people in your network. This will help you to get a few additional clients in your portfolio.
And, who knows, if you do a really stellar job they might want to hire you for additional jobs or even recommend you to others.
A career as an editor can be intense, especially if you are juggling multiple clients and deadlines. If you want to have longevity in your career then you must have a true interest and passion for the written word.
Where to find a job as a book editor working from home
Where you look for jobs will depend on whether or not you want to pursue freelance editing clients or work for an established company.
Online job boards
If you want to look for an established company then you can start your search using online job boards. Indeed, Monster, Simply Hired, Flexjobs, and ZipRecruiter can be a good place to get started. These boards can help you to find full-time and part-time editing jobs.
If you’re interested in pursuing freelance editing then a social media presence can help you to expand your network and let people know the services you offer. LinkedIn is a great place to set up a professional profile and start increasing your connections.
You can also join Facebook groups for editors as well as groups that are related to your specific niche or area of interest.
Whether you are interested in developmental editing or line editing, you can check out some of the large freelancing platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, and Fiverr. When it comes to these freelancing platforms there are some pros and cons.
The pro is that you might be able to land a few clients in order to build your portfolio. The cons are that there is a ton of competition and the prices offered are often quite low.
Content marketing platforms
Content marketing platforms like Contently are another great resource for editors who want to work from home. Contently offers tons of great opportunities and, on average, they pay much, much better than sites like Upwork.
The pros of freelancing with Contently, great wages, access to amazing clients, and you can create a free portfolio on their site. The cons of working for Contently, there’s a ton of top-notch competition which makes it difficult to get noticed on the platform.
Final thoughts on how to become a book editor from home
After everything you've learned about how to get an editing job from home, are you ready to move forward?
Do you like the sounds of working as a book editor from home? No long commutes, no crowded office, and you can do your job in your comfiest jammies. Plus, you get paid to read and learn.
Whether you want to pursue a job as an editor for an established company or set up your own freelancing company, there are tons of great editing opportunities out there if you’re willing to look for them.
–By Jessica Martel