My advice to those trying to break into freelance editing is to seek education and opportunities that enhance your editorial experience on your CV. Volunteer to edit your high school’s alumni newsletter. Take a course at a local community college or adult education center; many offer intensive courses that introduce editing basics in the span of a weekend. Experience performing any editorial task is important and will qualify you for more and more advanced jobs. While in-house publishing experience is beneficial, it is not always necessary if you can otherwise build your resume and convince a managing editor that your freelance experience and knowledge of the industry is of equal value.
My final piece of advice is not to be afraid to toot your own horn, so to speak. If you know you have the skills necessary to be part of an editorial team and make a publication the best it can be, express your enthusiasm and highlight your strengths to the managing editor. You will likely be glad you spoke up! Publishers like a confident and engaged editor, especially if he or she will be working remotely.
Jeanette Marie Sayers has worked as a freelance copyeditor of academics textbooks and has a master’s degree in editorial studies from Boston University. She also works full time as a regulatory medical writer and has worked previously for a medical journal in the copyediting department. In her “spare” time, Jeanette is a poetry editor for The Furnace Review.