Thinking about freelance editing as a career? Curious about how editors got their work up and going? I was, so I thought maybe someone else out there is curious, too. If so, read on!
Here’s my interview with my friend, Jim Thomsen, former Bainbridge Islander and current freelance editor.
1. You had many years of experience working for traditional newspapers. What made you want to become a freelance editor?
One, I don’t know how to do anything else. Two, I don’t WANT to do anything else. Three, even if I were opening to learning something else, I’m afraid it wouldn’t take because I’m stubborn, petulant and have the attention span of a baby ferret. Four, there’s no place for an experienced editor who commands an experienced editor’s salary in the current job market. Five, I know some authors, and found that some were open to some professional help. And six, it’s fun. My laptop is my office. I can work whenever and wherever I want. I can dress for work in madras shorts and a Wang Chung concert T-shirt (yes, I have one).
2. What’s a typical day for you?
I usually start with a little client correspondence and bookkeeping. And Facebooking, which is as much frivolous performance art for me as it is an essential and demonstrably successful part of building my brand. Then I dive into the work itself. I line-edit for sentence structure, spelling, Chicago Manual of Style conformity and consistency, grammar, and usage. I do some fact-checking. I provide a second line of defense on story and structural issues, red-flagging implausibilities and inconsistencies as I see them, and offering solutions. I keep a separate document for each job in which I summarize problem patterns, while also playing up the good stuff.
Volume and speed are the keys to my success, so, during this ramp-up phase of my business, I rarely take a day off or work less than ten hours.
3. Where do you get your clients? What sort of business promotions have you done and what would you recommend for someone starting out?
I know nothing at all about marketing. I acquired my first clients in a few ways. One, I got to know them in person. Continue reading