Editing & Proofreading
A variety of businesses use the services of a professional editor or proofreader in the preparation of books, magazines, newspapers, research papers, reports, contracts and other documents for clients. These include hardware and software companies, trade associations, law firms, and even private citizens. A proofreading service checks written materials for accuracy in grammar, spelling, punctuation and style. An editing business helps others apply the rules of good communication to documents they write, focusing on content. You might also offer indexing services. Indexers typically work for reference and professional book publishers constructing key word indices for the back of the book.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
You must have thorough knowledge of good written communication skills including punctuation, grammar and style. It helps to have a degree in English or other related field because you will likely attract more business if you have a degree. You will also need to be familiar with “proofreader’s marks.” (The format that professional editors use to make corrections.) It will also help if you are familiar with desktop publishing and word publishing software so that you can offer design and layout services.
Your customers are most likely to be magazine and newsletter publishers or private writers. Other potential customers may include businesses that need assistance with the preparation of reports, corporate documents or advertising materials. Individuals may hire you for manuscripts, articles for publication or resumes. Personal contacts within the industry are the best marketing tool. Get to know publishers and writers by joining a trade association and using your networking skills! Refer to Writers Market for names and addresses of publishers to whom you can send your resume and marketing package.
START UP COSTS:
You will need a computer, modem, laser printer, fax machine, word processing software and other related office equipment. You should also have plenty of reference books like dictionaries and a thesaurus. You will also need to pay trade association fees to any organization that you decide to join to help with networking.
Once established, you should earn $25,000 to $60,000 per year depending on how much you charge and how you price your services. A manuscript editor may charge $2,000 to $3,000 to review and comment on a 400 page manuscript. Editors usually charge around $15 to $40 per hour for basic editing services. Proofreaders earn $10 an hour and Indexers usually charge around $3 to $6 per printed page they read to produce the index. Remember, many spell checking and grammar checking software programs have now taken the place of the need for Proofreaders, so you will not want to focus your business on these types of services, and if you do, you will need to make your prices reasonable.
This type of job typically requires some credentials, so don’t expect to be hired without some solid work experience behind you. Try to gain experience as a editor, perhaps with a local newspaper. If you have not already, consider attending college to work towards a degree in English or Journalism.
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