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Proofreading, copy editing, translation - how do I get work?

(7 Posts)
PrincessOfWails Thu 12-Jul-12 11:22:08

I'm an academic but things have taken a turn for the worse and I'm currently unemployed. I need to pay the mortgage whilst I keep looking for work (and ultimately I may need to change careers). I have two young children and lost my job whilst on maternity leave which made things tricky.

I have recently taken on two jobs - jobs in the sense of one-off paid jobs - and would like more.
The first was translation - Welsh/English.
The other one was proofreading a book for a major publisher (the published my own book, and I got the work through word of mouth).

My problem is getting more work like this.

Should I be contacting the publisher I worked for before, and actually asking? I'm shy about doing that - but then I can't just wait for things to drop in my lap, I guess!
They promised me more work, but haven't been in touch; although they did indeed offer me a second job but I wasn't able to take it due to other commitments and school holidays, but that has changed now. I wonder whether I should remind them that I am now available and the last refusal was an unfortunate situation!

Should I be contacting other publishers and that kind of thing, or are they going to have their own proofreaders and don't need freelancers? I am able to do high-level Welsh language work as well as English, and there are a good number of publishers in Wales who might require that!

If I do contact them, what do I say? Do I include a CV, or a reference from the other job, or just a business card or what?

Many thanks for any help you can offer me - I'm a woman stuck in an unfortunate situation, not of my own doing!

sanguinechompa Thu 12-Jul-12 15:15:57

Definitely get back in touch with editorial department of your publisher. Hardly anyone turns work down - so when you did, they probably scubbed you off their list 'mentally' iyswim. Ring them up and let them know that you are available and send a back-up letter/e-mail "Great to talk just know. Just to confirm that as discussed, I am still available + contact details etc". You have a great advantage over other copy-editors looking for work there in that they already know you/have published your book, so don't be shy about it (I know that's easier said than done but they won't think it is pushy at all if they have already offered you work before now).

Secondly, do you have formal proof-reading/copy-editing qualifications? If not, it would be good to acquire some. Following links could be a bit out of date but no doubt someone will come and offer more up-to-date info if so.

See more info here and here Can personally recommend former (not sure about latter) Rushing atm (departing for quick hol) but think this is the one where, I think, you can register for work


Have a look at People Per Hour Dot Com

Have a look here Great source of info (on-line or hard copy) for people working in publishing industry. List of publishers who specialise in your partic genre etc.

Sorry for haste - dashing - good luck!

sanguinechompa Thu 12-Jul-12 15:20:58

Sorry -forgot to add

Definitely contact other publishers. Perhaps put a little brochure together listing your training and experience (possibly hourly rate) and contact details and send out. You could even set up a little web site of your own. Full CV not necessary just qualifications/training/experience pertinent to publishing work.

Sorry - no experience of translation work but there are similar bodies/training establishments/contacts for those too

Good luck!!

BeckyBendyLegs Thu 12-Jul-12 20:26:56

I agree; definitely get back in touch. It sounds like your expertise are quite specialist so I would imagine that academic publishers such as University Presses would be the area to focus on. Have you done any research to find out what publishers work in the areas you specialise in? I recommend you find a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and browse the publishers listings. I know it is hard to get in touch, actively seek work, but it is the only way I think. Good luck!

PiedWagtail Thu 12-Jul-12 23:15:13

Hi - I'm a afreelance proofreader and copy-editor and also a member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders ( Why don't you join them and if you can qualify for ordinary membership you can take out a Directory entry that potential clients look through to choose new freelances.

If you don't qualify for ordinary membership you can become an associate and and an Associates Availablr list goes out to clients every month.

Also, join the Freelance Alliance as it can be great for clients looking for new freelances.

I'd also do some cold calling - email/ring the publisher you worked for in the past and say you're available. Ring publishers who publish similar books and sell yourself to them!

Def contact all Welsh publishers too - translating is a real niche so few editors will be able to offer that.

I'd re-do your cv and update it with all your publishing/translation-related credentials. The SfEP site has loads of useful info on it, so have a look. Good luck!!

PrincessOfWails Fri 13-Jul-12 10:12:55

Thank you!
I haven't got back in touch with my publisher yet - but I did contact UWP and they were dead keen because I can do Welsh medium stuff! So that's a start. I will look into all the other options as well, such as being accredited.

Thanks for such valuable advice!

Elderfleur Thu 04-Jul-13 09:43:28

Hi Wails, not sure what your position is a year later, but I am looking for associates for my academic proofreading agency to help out with the influx of MA theses that I get over summer. If you are interested, please email me: for more information. Thankyou!

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