Advanced search

Looking at retraining in editing/proofreading...pointless?!

(9 Posts)
witsender Thu 28-Jul-16 21:10:30

I have a degree in marketing and corporate comms and am an English teacher...but have long wanted to move into editing.

I have seen lots of online courses etc...are they worth looking at? Is there any call for this sort of role, or are 'we' ten a penny?!

buckingfrolicks Thu 28-Jul-16 21:15:14

ten a penny with the emergence of technology that checks spelling and grammar!

You might make some money doing specialist proof reading e.g. school text books, but (and I used to be one) publishers have their own in-house editors who will proof read and edit and only some will use freelancers.

I really do not think those certificates are worth it - if you are a pedant, have an incredibly organised brain (hmmm, I'm sure that was Indo-China three pages back, rather than Indo China) and a great attention to detail, you'd be better off using your networks to get your first piece of work then go from there. Or offer to do some work for free first - on a try before you buy basis. Remember if you were thinking of shelling out for a nonsense certificate then offering say a day's free work, is reasonable.

DataArePlural Fri 29-Jul-16 15:51:52

I agree that (with or without training) it's going to be hard to pick up work without contacts.

Bucking's comments make me reluctant to advise further, because I would have said you can't be an editor without training, although self-training is not out of the question. There's a lot more to editing than being a pedant. While anyone who can turn on track-changes and use the search functions in Word can call themselves an editor, it doesn't make them one. I can spot whether something in my field has been 'properly' edited or not. (This post has not, so point out errors by all means.) What is it about editing that attracts you? If you aren't already clear what's involved, you could consulting Butcher's Copy-Editing (it covers proof-reading too). You could also check out

(Um, you don't need an organized brain to remember whether Indo-China was hyphenated or not. You make a list of words likely to vary as you go along. And over the years you develop a sixth sense. I wish mine were more reliable, that's all.)

Badbadbunny Sun 31-Jul-16 09:38:19

Like a lot of things these days, technology had made people think they're experts in everything and you don't need professionals to do things anymore. Go back a decade or two, and proof-readers were essential for anyone preparing marketing materials, writing reports, etc.

But lots of businesses will do it "in house" these days because they think they can, but in reality, as we all know, a spell or grammar checker is often as much use as a chocolate fireguard. Sole traders often do everything themselves which is often a reason why they never make the leap from being a sole trader - they effectively limit themselves because they do too much personally, often to a poor standard.

Your market is dramatically shrinking. Only the largest of organisations will realise they need the job doing properly, and they're the ones likely to have their own in-house staff.

LarrytheCucumber Sun 31-Jul-16 09:44:09

If you could offer yourself as an editor to self publishers it might be useful. DH says a good editor will often cut a book by a third by cutting out repetition unnecessary passages etc

SystemAticcally Wed 10-Aug-16 16:48:40

Yes, mostly a waste of time in terms of your return on investment.

What might be more interesting is the sales/promotion. Anything that helps a would be writer to have his book published.

PrimalLass Sun 14-Aug-16 12:04:07

I'm a freelance editor but I have a masters in Publishing Studies, worked in house for large publishers, and have being doing this for 20 years.

There IS work, but it can take a long time to build up. What you do have going for you is that you are specialised both in marketing and corporate comms and teaching - two areas that use freelance editors a lot. You would be in a great position to approach educational publishers about manuscript evaluation work (etc). In my experience they will use teachers, for example to make sure the books address the whole curriculum.

If you are going to do a course then the best one is through the PTC.

ginghamstarfish Sun 14-Aug-16 12:12:31

Sadly the use of technology means that many writers and journalists think that they don't need any help, but I see errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation every day, without exception. There is certainly a need for proofreaders but the difficulty is finding those who are willing to accept that they need this service!

CocktailQueen Mon 29-Aug-16 23:15:01

Look at the Society for Editors and Proofreaders website - - it will answer most of your questions.

The only worthwhile training is by SfEP or the PTC - as mentioned above.

SfEP has loads of courses on how to go freelance, running your own business etc.

Being an editor is about a hell of a lot more than simply spotting typos. You need to train, train, train.

I'm a copy-editor - feel free to pm me.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now