Getting Started As A Professional Editor For Free

While there is no single, distinct way to become an editor, there are clear steps you will need to take in order to become one. And you may not have to spend a lot of money to do so. Chances are good that you already have two of the main tools you’ll need. If you’re reading this, then you’re obviously online, probably using a desktop computer or laptop. Editing online content is a busy industry, so what else will you need? 

A Love of Language

Do you find yourself cringing at apostrophized pluralizations? Have you gone into the laundromat to find out what exactly they mean by the sign that says, “Let ‘us’ do your laundry”? Do you get out your marker to correct the contractions on bathroom stall graffiti?

You might have one of the qualities necessary to become a professional editor: a love of language. With a degree in English and a sincere love of language, you’re off to a great start. If your personality dictates that you’re a stickler for grammar errors, and you have a real skill when it comes to finding typos in everything you read, this may be the career for you.

Do You Need a Degree?

Not necessarily. While many editors do have college degrees, the only thing you really need is the ability to edit well. However, if you’re pursuing a career as an editor and trying to get hired by a large publisher, you will probably find it more difficult without a degree.

Employers like to know that you have the tenacity to see things through to fruition, which is an important quality in many lines of work, editing being no exception. Whether you have a degree or not, be prepared to take several editing tests, in addition to the standard interview process, if you’re going for a position with an established company.

Self-Education

In order to brush up on your editing skills, you should familiarize yourself with different style guides, such as the Associated Press (AP) guide, and the Chicago Manual of Style. You should also look into publishing-related training programs, which are offered by certain colleges. These courses cannot only further your editing chops, but they can also provide valuable networking opportunities that will go a long way toward developing your career.

Additionally, as an editor, you are likely to be presented with a wide range of material, so it’s not a bad idea to strive to be a bit of a Renaissance person. Read as much quality writing as you can get your hands on. Read some bad writing once in a while, too, just as a reminder of what not to do. Read technical manuals, science books, poetry anthologies, and children’s stories, just to expose yourself to a wide range of styles. You never know what might come in handy.

Following Footsteps

Sometimes the best way to learn to do something effectively is to watch others do it, and to learn from their experience. If this sounds like your learning style, then you may want to attempt to find a mentor, or try to get an internship.

If you are acquainted with editors who are willing to teach you, the former may be your best option. One-on-one time with an experienced professional could prove invaluable in learning to massage messes into mastery. Again, if you go the degree route, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of internship programs. These will help you to develop both skills and contacts within the publishing industry.

Put Together a Portfolio

If you want work, then you’ll need to show prospective clients and publishing houses what you can do. Thus, it’s important to develop a portfolio of your work. You can build your portfolio by doing work for schools, nonprofit organizations, and small, local periodicals. Your samples should show what the pieces looked like before, and then after you worked your editorial magic.

Compare LLC Packages

Identify the package that’s right for your business and then get started

starter

$0

DOES NOT RENEW*

plus state filing fees

File in 2 to 3 weeks **

Top Features

  • Our Standard Filing Speed
  • Worry-Free Compliance*
  • 100% Accuracy Guarantee

pro

$199

BILLED ANNUALLY

plus state filing fees

File in 1 to 5 days **

Top Features

  • Our Fastest Filing Speed
  • Employer ID Number (EIN)
  • Operating Agreement

premium

$349

BILLED ANNUALLY

plus state filing fees

File in 1 to 5 days **

Top Features

  • Business Documents
  • Domain Name & Email Address
  • Business Website Builder

*SPECIAL OFFER – get Starter for $0 plus state fees. Includes 1 optional free year of Worry-Free Compliance that renews at $199/yr.

**These filing times are averages and include our processing times and Secretary of State turnaround times which vary by state.

Get started image

Ready to get started?

Get the expert support you need

Related Articles

How To Build Your Reputation As An Accountant

by Team ZenBusiness, on June 05, 2024

6 Great Ways To Become Appliance Repair Technician

by Team ZenBusiness, on March 11, 2024

How to Start a Cleaning Business

by Team ZenBusiness, on April 23, 2024

Want to Open up Your Own PI Law Firm? Here’s a Few Things You Need To Know

by Team ZenBusiness, on April 15, 2024

How to Grow Mushrooms Commercially

by Team ZenBusiness, on May 21, 2024

How to Start a Photo Booth Business

by Team ZenBusiness, on April 23, 2024

Start Your LLC Today