Are you new to freelancing? Wondering how to launch your own freelance editorial business or find clients? We at the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) field questions like these all the time. That’s why we’ve decided to put together a definitive list of resources for new freelance editors (that’s you!).
We’ve organized this list by topic to make it easy to navigate—click the Contents box below to navigate directly to a topic that interests you, or scroll down to go through the list in order. We’ll be updating it regularly to provide members and nonmembers alike a one-stop-shop for starting a freelance editing business. Ready? Time to get exploring!
Editorial Freelancing 101
The EFA offers a number of recorded webinars about entering the industry, including the following:
- The Club Ed Guide to Starting and Running a Profitable Editing Business, by Jennifer Lawler (2019)
- The Business of Editing: Effective and Efficient Ways to Think, Work, and Prosper, by Richard H. Adin, edited with introductions by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter and Jack M. Lyon (2013)
- Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers, by Louise Harnby (2013)
Education & Certification
The EFA frequently runs online courses in copyediting, developmental editing, line editing, managing a freelance business, and more. Some classes are self-paced, while others occur over a four- to eight-week period. We also offer live webinars. Find our current offerings here:
Katharine O’Moore-Klopf’s website, KOK Edit, provides a wealth of resources for editors. Be sure to check out her Copyeditors’ Knowledge Base if you aren’t already aware of it. She also maintains a list of many outlets for editorial education:
- Education and Certification (KOK Edit)
Some U.S. universities offer certificate programs and courses in editing. Here is a sampling of some of these:
Founded in 1970, the Editorial Freelancers Association is a 501(c)(6) run almost entirely by volunteers who are editorial freelancers like you. Through our Diversity Initiative, we promote diversity and actively seek members of groups that have been historically marginalized. Join the EFA today to be eligible for a number of member benefits of particular interest to new editors, including:
- 20% off all courses and webinars
- Access to the EFA’s online Discussion List, where participants exchange ideas and advice with hundreds of other editorial professionals across the globe
- Public listing in our Member Directory, which is regularly searched by publishing professionals and independent authors
- Access to jobs on the EFA Job List
- Discounts on editing software, industry conferences, reference materials, and more
- Access to current and past issues of our monthly newsletter, the Freelancer, which is packed with useful news and tips
- Access to members-only chapters in your local area
- Opportunity to attend our biannual conference and boost your knowledge and skills, and network with fellow freelance editors in person
Started in 1997 as a group to foster support for news copyeditors, ACES is a 501(c)(3) organization that has grown to include editors of all types. Their annual conference is a great place to meet your peers, and they also offer online and in-person training, networking opportunities, a public directory, and a quarterly journal, Tracking Changes.
Launched in 1984 as a 501(c)(3) based in Minneapolis, PEN welcomes all types of editors and regularly hosts in-person events (in the Twin Cities area) as well as online classes and networking opportunities. They offer a public directory and a monthly newsletter, Networking News.
Don’t see what you’re looking for above? Not located in the U.S.? Katharine O’Moore-Klopf keeps a regularly updated list of professional editorial associations around the world that you may be interested in joining:
- Professional Associations (KOK Edit)
The Business of Editing
Marketing & Building a Client Base
Here are some books that many of our members have found helpful in marketing their editorial business and building a client base:
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Content Marketing, Podcasting, Social Media, AI, Live Video, and Newsjacking to Reach Buyers Directly, by David Meerman Scott (7th ed.; May 2020)
- Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling, by Michael Port (3rd ed.; 2017)
- The Smooth-Sailing Freelancer: How To Find, Sell, and Retain More Freelance Business, by Jake Poinier (2015)
- Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business, by Louise Harnby (2014)
- The Referral Engine: Teaching Your Business to Market Itself, by John Jantsch (2012)
Setting Your Rates
EFA Recorded Webinar
- The Pricing (and Estimating) Is Right!, instructor Jake Poinier
- The Science, Art and Voodoo of Freelance Pricing and Getting Paid, by Jake Poinier (2013)
- What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants, by Laurie Lewis (2011)
Creating an Editing Contract
EFA Recorded Webinar
- The Fine Print: Creating an Editing Contract, instructor Karin Cather
- The Paper It’s Written On: Defining Your Relationship with an Editing Client, by Karin Cather and Dick Margulis (2018)
Incorporating Your Editorial Business
- S-Corp, LLC, Sole Proprietor? What’s the Right Business Entity for Your Freelance Business?, instructor Alex Bennett
- “Do I Need an LLC to Start a Business?,” by Jane Haskins, Esq. (LegalZoom)
- “How Much Does It Cost to Form an LLC? Fees by State” (StartingYourBusiness.com)
- “9 Benefits of Getting an EIN (Even If You Don’t Have To),” by Priyanka Prakash, JD (Fundera)
- “Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online” (IRS)
- Juggling on a High Wire: The Art of Work-Life Balance When You’re Self-Employed, by Laura Poole (2015)
- Networking for Editors, instructors Brittany Dowdle and Linda Ruggeri
- Networking for People Who Hate Networking, Second Edition: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected, by Devora Zack (2nd ed.; May 2019)
EFA Recorded Webinar
- Leveraging LinkedIn to Grow Your Freelance Business, instructor Laura Briggs
- The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search, by Wayne Breitbarth (4th ed.; 2019)
- LI Tips for All Levels of Experience (LinkedIn group; must be signed in to access)
- This group provides useful tips and peer support for marketing yourself on LinkedIn.
Connect with Editorial Professionals Online
The EFA Discussion List
The EFA’s Discussion List is an open forum where members share their knowledge and questions about grammar, editorial freelancing, and the freelance lifestyle. It is an invaluable source of lively, frank, informative, and respectful discussion. To join the Discussion List, you must be an active member of the EFA. Join here!
Founded in 1992, this email discussion list is still going strong. Sign up to receive digest or individual messages, and ask specific questions and share resources with fellow editors right in your inbox. Also, be sure to look at the Resources tab for links to macros, style guides, and much more.
Editors’ Association of Earth!
This Facebook group has grown into a massive collection of editors all over the world who provide tips, advice, and support.
The Editors Lair
This online group offers many subsections and is full of valuable posts, questions, and resources for editors of almost any content.
Other Valuable Resources
EFA members receive the Freelancer newsletter as a complimentary benefit. It focuses on information of professional value to freelancers and is published bimonthly—in February, April, June, August, October, and December. Online archives begin with volume 26, number 3 (January–February 2002). Not a member yet? Join here to access this resource.
EFA Booklet Catalog
Check out our entire booklet catalog for titles on everything from marketing to working with authors.
Louise Harnby: Training Courses and Books
UK editor Louise Harnby offers a wide range of prerecorded webinars and eBooks for editorial professionals, ranging in topics from business branding and social media marketing to building an editorial blog and bettering your editing skills.
An American Editor Blog
This long-running blog, started by Rich Adin and now owned and run by Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, has many valuable resources for editors. Subscribe via email to get posts delivered to your inbox.
The Subversive Copy Editor Blog
Carol Saller, contributing editor to The Chicago Manual of Style and author of The Subversive Copy Editor, writes on a wide range of topics of interest to both editors and authors.
CMOS Shop Talk Blog
Find helpful posts here on everything from en dashes to bibliography entries. This is an offshoot of The Chicago Manual of Style and is also home to the Chicago Style Workout, a great way to test and sharpen your knowledge of Chicago style.
Conscious Style Guide
Created by copywriter and editor Karen Yin, the Conscious Style Guide is considered a leading language guide for editorial professionals. The Conscious Style Guide’s mission is “to help writers and editors think critically about using language—including words, portrayals, framing, and representation—to empower instead of limit.”
Founded in 1995 by Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union is a nonprofit that grew out of freelancers’ need for affordable healthcare. The organization advocates for freelancers’ rights and provides health insurance and other resources.
On Editing & Writing
Here is a sampling of the editing books that our members often reference:
- The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, by Amy Einsohn and Marilyn Schwartz (4th ed.; 2019)
- What Editors Do: The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing, by Peter Ginna, Ed. (2017)
- The Subversive Copy Editor, by Carol Saller (2nd ed.; 2016)
- Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers, by Scott Norton (2011)
- Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing
This list was compiled and written by Molly McCowan in June 2020 at Joy Drohan’s suggestion and with the help of the EFA volunteer Board of Directors and staff. It will be updated on an as-needed basis.
These links are provided for informational purposes only—they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Editorial Freelancers Association of any of the products, services, or opinions of the corporation, organization, or individual. The Editorial Freelancers Association bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of any external site or resource linked here.