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All About Freelance Proofreading / Copyediting Jobs

By Brian Scott

The terms “copyediting” and “proofreading” have distinct meanings. Copyediting is the revision right after the draft is finished. It includes correcting spelling, formatting, and grammar mistakes, as well as changing awkward sentences, ensuring that ideas flow well, eliminating ineffective portions of text, etc. Copyediting is a very involved, often lengthy process.

By contrast, proofreading is the final look-through before the creator turns in the document for publication, posting, grading, etc. It still involves correcting, formatting and grammar errors, but it does not usually include much sentence or idea restructuring. Proofreading can also include ensuring the creator of the document placed all photos correctly, hyperlinks work, sources are correct, etc.

What is the average pay rate for freelance proofreading/copyediting?

Both copyediting and proofreading can pay very well if you’re good at what you do and you have adequate experience. Freelance rates are the same for both types of work, assuming proofreading takes less time than copyediting.

For both freelance jobs, it is common to charge by the hour or by the page. A brand new copyeditor or proofreader shouldn’t ask for more than /page or /hour. Experienced copyeditors and proofreaders may charge up to /page or /hour or more.

What type of experience do I need to get these jobs?

Most importantly, you should have excellent grammar and spelling skills. You must have a keen eye for detail. Control freaks and perfectionists make great proofreaders and copyeditors because they don’t let one mistake or inconsistency slip by them.

It’s helpful if you have a degree in English or education, so clients will assume you have strong language skills. You’ll also want to develop a strong portfolio of work that you can show to potential clients.

If you don’t have any relevant education or experience, think outside the box. Have you written anything at all? The answer is probably ‘yes.’ Put together some of your best work, such as resumes, reports, short stories, etc.

If you don’t have any of this, then make some! It’s okay for you to make sample documents from scratch

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