Freelance Confessions: Confronting the Unsolicited Copy Editor

Freelance Copy Editor. Photo Credit – Flickr: doobybrainI cringe—CRINGE!—at the thought of something that I used to do.

It’s something that you may have done at some point, too.

When you first start working as a freelance copy editor, you want to make it known whenever possible that you excel at spotting writing mistakes.

On a very basic level, the ability to find and correct errors is the skill set that you need to monetize; you have to show others that you have the eagle eye that they need to fix their copy.

The Internet fuels your next destructive step.

You go hunting for mistakes.

On your favorite blogs. On your favorite websites. Twitter.

You comment. You email. You @-reply.

You smile to yourself, thinking how clever you are for initiating contact with someone you’d like to work with by “doing work for free”—proving what a great freelance copy editor you are.

I never got any work this way.

Hell, I barely got responses. If I did, I’m sure it took a load of patience not to tell me off.

When you point out a stranger’s error, he doesn’t think, “Wow! This woman is really good. I need a copy editor, and I’m going to hire her!”

In fact, if Your Target does ever need a copy editor, he’s not going to hire a random know-it-all (because that’s what you look like—whether you are or not).

If a writer doesn’t realize on his own that he needs someone else to edit or proofread his text, your unsolicited alert—that not so subtly demonstrates your Skillz—will not persuade him.

The realization that you need a copy editor to review your writing reveals a basic
problem-solving lesson: the first step is acknowledging the problem. And that has to come from within.

Freelance Proofreader Stefanie Flaxman created Revision Fairy® Small Business Proofreading Services with your editing needs in mind. Follow @RevisionFairy and take a free copy of Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing.