Dream a Dream: Life of a Freelance Editor

life of a freelance editorIn a previous post, I shared some of the reasons that went into my decision to become a full-time freelance editor a little over a year ago. I had a dream that I could make a living by editing for authors I truly cared about, and I’ve turned that dream into a reality. When I posted that blog, I received numerous comments, including this one that inspired the post you’re now reading:

“Have you ever turned down an editing assignment? What parameters do you set for yourself in considering assignments? For a brief time when I considered going full time freelance, the fear of having to take any and all assignments always brought me up short. Currently I have a day job that I’m happy with, but I’ve always wondered how freelancers manage their workload. Personally, I know that if I were totally reliant on freelance work, I would find it impossible to say “no” to anything.”

Do freelance editors turn down assignments? Yes, and here's why. #writetip Click To Tweet

So here goes:

“Have you ever turned down an editing assignment?”

Yes, I have. I always offer a sample edit to authors who are looking for line editing or proofreading; occasionally, a writer who swears his manuscript needs nothing more than a spell check sends a sample that is clearly in need of more substantial editing.

If a manuscript is so full of major flaws that it reads more like a first draft, I won’t take the job. Correcting grammar or misspelled words won’t help a manuscript that is in need of major revision, and I would rather lose the work than take someone’s money when I know I am not really helping him or her. Continue reading “Dream a Dream: Life of a Freelance Editor”

What a Difference a Year Makes

becoming a freelance editorIn May of 2012, I made a decision I’d been contemplating for some time: I hung out my shingle as a full-time freelance editor and writer.

I had been working as a senior editor at a small traditional publisher. I was very excited about how different my working life would be as a freelancer. But giving up that steady paycheck—well, that was a horse of a different color, as they say.

Why I quit my job as senior editor at a publishing house #editing #publishing Click To Tweet

My passion was working with writers and their words, and sadly, the economics of traditional publishing had caused my job to morph into something that left me little time to do that. My days were spent on so many things other than editing, and I grew more and more frustrated.

I finally realized that if things were going to change, I would have to be the one to change them.

So I did, and I’ve never looked back. Was it scary? Yes, it was—and it still is. But in hindsight, I only have one regret: I wish I’d done it sooner. Becoming a freelance editor and writer is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Today, I have the freedom to work on projects that I’m excited about. I have the variety of working with writers on their novels, their memoirs, their self-help books, their blog posts, their articles for magazines and websites. I even had the opportunity to write a comedic speech, which was a great challenge but SO much fun! Every day I have the opportunity to work with authors who are among the most dedicated and creative people I’ve ever met. And the best part is that I can now call those people my friends.

It’s been a year since I decided to start Change It Up Editing and Writing Services, and it’s been a fantastic twelve months. Thank you to all the writers who trusted me with their amazing words, and thanks to all of YOU who read this blog. I never dreamed I’d have so much FUN!


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Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help, and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be.

Testing, Testing: How to Choose a Freelance Editor

How to Choose a Freelance EditorAs a savvy author, you know you need professional editing whether you hope to interest a traditional publisher or you’re publishing independently.

But how do you know if an editor is a good fit for you?

In an article titled Freelance Editing: How to Hire an Editor for Your Book or Query Letter, Chuck Sambuchino offered advice for hiring a freelance editor. His first piece of advice was “Get a Test Edit.”

A test edit basically means you pass along a few pages and get them reviewed to see what kind of notes and ideas the editor is making in terms of proofreading and content work. Test edits usually work one of two ways: 1) You pass on 1-2 pages and the editor reviews them for free; or 2) you pass on a more substantial number of pages (10-50) and simply pay the editor as normal for those pages. If you like what you see from the test edit, then you can move forward on a bigger deal.”

I think he makes his point well with his example (which hurts my brain every time I read it!)

You wouldn’t let just any mechanic fix your car, so don’t let just any editor fix your words. #editingtip Click To Tweet

This week I’ve been contacted by several writers who are shopping for editors as they near completion of their WIPs, and I’ve made this same offer to each one:

Send me the first few chapters of your manuscript. I’ll select several pages and provide a free, no-obligation sample edit for you. A sample edit is beneficial to both of us; it helps me determine the amount of work your manuscript needs to make it as professional as possible, and it also gives you the opportunity to see how I can improve your book.”

As I wrote here and here, you wouldn’t let just any mechanic fix your car, so don’t let just any editor fix your words. Ask for references from other authors who have hired that editor for the type of work you need, and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns before you hire someone. Editing is like marriage: communication and trust are vital to success.

*A big note about this: I am talking about editing for publication for any medium—printed book, ebook, blog post, advertising blurb, query letter. How your work is published isn’t the determining factor; that you publish a professional piece is. In a blog post titled SELF PUBLISHING ON KINDLE – Have Any Books On Kindle Ever Sold No Copies?, author Steve Truelove gives his answer to that question, which includes:

I guess is if the book is totally hopeless….badly written, full of mistakes, ridlled wiht typo’s, and unedited. Believe me, if you upload a book like that to Kindle you will soon get found out, so to speak.”

Blindly hiring an editor because he’s inexpensive or she knows your mother isn’t a wise business decision. But reviewing a sample edit will give you a huge insight into a particular editor’s knowledge and ability, so don’t hesitate to ask for one before making this important financial and professional decision.

Your expertise is writing; let me show you how my editorial expertise can help you take your writing to the next level. Contact me at cyjohnson5580@gmail.com for a no-obligation quote and sample edit today.

Happy Writing!


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