How do you find business as a freelance editor?

I find business as a freelance editor almost exclusively by referral. In fact, all of my work this past year has come to me because a friend or colleague has recommended me to a publisher looking for an editor. In each instance, the first project I did for each new client was a mutual test—will my work be what the publisher is looking and hoping for, and is this publisher a good and viable client for me? My client list enlarges, and I continue to do work for clients for whom I have already completed projects.

I also keep track of job postings on the Internet and send my resume and a cover letter to potential clients, but so far, this sort of approach has not resulted in paid work. My good working relationships with a network of former colleagues and current friends are what brings me new freelance work now, and they can easily find me not only because they know me personally but because I use social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and my own website to help people keep track of me.

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Kathleen Atkins is a professional editor. For 21 years, she worked for a technical book publisher within a software company for a salary and now makes her living as a freelance editor, editing books, articles, white papers, and so on. In her youth, she wrote poetry and was widely published in literary magazines, including Poetry (Chicago), Georgia Review, and The Atlantic Monthly. For some years, Kathleen has been a photographer instead of a poet. Learn more at