How to be a freelance copy editor?

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Copy editors prepare manuscripts for production, newspapers, magazines, and web content. Freelance copy editors need excellent language skills, familiarity with style guides, and access to reference materials. Joining a professional organization can provide employment opportunities and raise clients’ estimates of professional competence.

A copy editor is part of the editorial team that prepares a book manuscript for production, copy for newspapers and magazines, and web content for the Internet. Some editors are employed by book publishers, some by newspapers and magazines, and some by web publishers. Other copy editors consistently work for one company, but as an outside consultant or for a variety of clients. If that’s the type of work organization you’re looking for, then you want to become a freelance copy editor.

Like full-time copy editors, freelance copy editors need to have an excellent understanding of the language or languages ​​in which they work. This includes grammar, mechanics, spelling and an awareness of different language registers. that they can readily recognize, for example, academic style versus colloquial style. To become a freelance copy editor, it is necessary to have a solid understanding of these aspects of the language and, in addition, it is necessary to become familiar with one or more specific style guides used as standards in the areas of publication in which you want to to work.

You should also own or have easy access to a variety of dictionaries to meet the needs of different projects or clients, or simply the in-house dictionary if you work for a company with a designated dictionary. A good recent atlas, a gazetteer, a thesaurus, and a biographical dictionary can also be good investments. Some of these resources can be efficiently accessed online. If you have or can obtain access to a college or university library website, you may find the wealth of reference materials very helpful.

Some copy editors become familiar with company standards by reading style manuals. You can also learn the field by interning with an editor or taking copyediting courses. In some cases it is not enough just to know where you can find information, but it is essential to know it, because often to become a freelance copy editor you will need to take a copy editing test and in some cases can be timed.

It can help you to become a freelance copy editor if you join a professional organization for editorial freelancers. This organization can provide companionship, advice, employment opportunities and insurance, and suggest appropriate salary scales. Your membership in this organization can also raise clients’ estimates of your professional competence.

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