Starting Your Career As An Editor: How To Be A Copy Editor

By | June 25, 2021

If you’re enthusiastic about improving a text in terms of grammar, spellings, punctuation and fact, then you’re good to work in publishing houses, media companies and printing companies as a copy editor.  This means that you know the English grammar even more the back of your hand, you’re familiar with different styles of writing, aesthetic stylistics, vocabulary, and many more features of excellent writing.

In fact, you’re more knowledgeable than the writer himself as a copyeditor— you’re not at ease when you come across any grammar errors, spelling errors or punctuation errors; you’re passionate about improving a written piece to perfection; you want to be copy editor and you do not know how to. In our today’s article, I would love to explain to you about copyediting and how to be a copyeditor in 2021.

What is Copy editing?

In simple terms, copy editing means to improve a text by ensuring it free from all kinds of errors that includes: factual errors, jargon, wordiness, semantic errors, style errors, and most importantly, grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

Also, copyediting is the process of improving the readability of the content, making easier to comprehend by an ordinary reader. This means that in copyediting, jargon and terminologies related to certain fields like science or chemistry is avoided so that the ordinary reader will be able to understand and not get bored of reading. 

Also, in copyediting, facts are double checked so the reader would not be misinformed about a certain information made by the writer in a non-factual statement.

Furthermore, style is checked too when copyediting a text or a draft before publishing. The style guide used must match the style used in the field a writer is writing on. For instance, if he’s a journalist who wants to write a feature story for a magazine or newspaper, the AP Style is what’s comes to mind. However, if he writes in the MLA format, the copyeditor takes care of it by doing copy edits of his article or story. 

Who’s a Copy Editor and what does he do?

In this part of the article, I’ll explain who a copy editor is and what he does.

A copyeditor is an expert speller, a guru of the English grammar, and has eagle eyes for fact and details. He’s a grammar fanatic who frowns at all forms errors: grammatical errors, mechanical errors, syntactic errors, semantic errors, and fact errors.  He is so passionate about improving a text to perfection. 

As a grammar fanatic who frowns at the overall content errors of a written text, he’s main task is to right the wrongs of a piece of work. He checks for grammatical errors, mechanical errors, syntactic errors, spelling errors and factual errors in a piece of text and gets rids of them. 

Also, the copy editor is also tasked with reviewing the piece he is working on for consistency, diction, tone, style, technique, typography, voice, fine-tuning the structure and making sure it written according to the conventions of the  publication’s style guide.

In newspapers and magazines, the copy editor can also be called the sub editor, the assistant editor, or the editorial assistant. Working for a newspaper or magazine, he ensures that articles are free of errors, have solid facts and evidences and also follows the conventions if the Associated Press style. 

Also, in the publishing company, the copy editor’s role similar to the one who works for the press. He also does content editing as well as line editing.

How To Become A Copy Editor

In this section of the article, we’ll be looking at feasible steps to becoming a copyeditor. To be a writer is one thing and to know how to improve your writing or someone else’s writing is another skill in its own space. That’s why we have the writer and the editor who improves the work of the writer or journalist. So let’s get into the steps to becoming a copy editor.

Improve your Grammar and Fact Checking skills. 

If you call yourself a grammar guru, you still need to brush up on your grammar skills. This means you have to be updated with the English grammar, follow writing blogs, learn from experts in your field, familiarize yourself with the relevant style guides. For instance, if you’re working for a newspaper, you should get familiar with the conventions Associated Press style and know the rules of publication. You must be willing to learn from experts who have more experiences than you do.

Get a Degree, earn a Certificate. 

To become a copyeditor, it’ll be advantageous of you to get a degree in English, communications or other related fields. By taking a course, you’re getting an experience, brushing up your skills with the supervision if your tutor, and meeting with other creatives like you who wants to become writers and copy editors too. Copy editing is a creative skill. 

Also, when you get a certificate in English or related fields, it shows you are competent and ready to get clients to hire you. It will enhance your resumé and attracts clients to you.

Read voraciously

A great copy editor is also a voracious reader just like the writer. When you read voraciously you get acquainted with different writing style and style guides. Also, when you read voraciously, you file your mind on the whetstone of tough sentences. You get to train yourself, not only with grammar and punctuation, but also with split infinitives, redundant phrasing, and other syntactic errors. 

Volunteer to work for a company

You can be a copy editor by volunteering to render your services to a company. This way you get more experienced and you keep yourself a portfolio.

Look for copy editing jobs

You can then go ahead to look for copy editing jobs in publication companies, newspapers, magazine, websites, etc. With your experience working as a volunteer or as an intern, you have a reputable portfolio to work for bigger organizations for employment purposes. 

How To Become A Copy Editor With Little Or No Experience

In this section, we’ll talk on becoming a copy editor with little or no experience.

You might be thinking it’s difficult to be a copy editor with little experience, but with the tips I’m about to mention in this section, you could become a professional copy editor with little or no experience. Read on

Harness the power of social media

Yeah, as a copy editor who lives in digital age with little or no experience working as as a copy editor, you could use the social media to get your dream job once you can use it very well. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to get clients to work for.  Making use of the social media to sell yourself is another skill. But for the sake of this post I’ll list a few tips.

  • Optimise your social media profile and make it look professional
  • Network with other copy editors
  • Connect with writers who needs editors
  • Join a writers club online.

Connect with Writer friends

You can begin to gain some experience by connecting with writers friends and editing  their projects and school work for them . If you have friends who writes articles, essays, or shirt story, you could assure them by offering your copy editing services to them.

Do Internships at Small Organizations

With no experience and as a fresh graduate, you could intern at small publishing companies, your local newspaper, and work alongside a group of journalists. This way you work as a copy editor with no experience while building a portfolio for yourself.

How To Become A Freelance Copy Editor

Most copy editors work as freelancers nowadays. In fact new emerging copy editors do not go about applying for jobs in publication companies anymore. They now work remotely as a freelancer who looks for clients with bad grammar and works on project-by-project basis. As a freelancer, you could works as a freelance copy editor, freelance developmental editor, or freelance proofreader. In this section of this article we’ll talk about freelancing as a copy editor. 

As a freelancer, who is also a copy editor, your major task is to look for gigs with writing and editing tags online and pitch to clients that you are component enough to improve their work by correcting their errors.

How to get clients as a freelance copy editor.

To get clients as a copy editor is a process of patience especially if you’re just starting out. You’ll have to follow a few tricks I’ll list in this section to attracts clients to your DM

  1. Customize your profile
  2. Connect with others
  3. Pitch brilliantly
  4. Send cold emails to writes telling them how competent you are as a copy editor
  5. Join writing groups online
  6. Harness the power of social media.

Top freelance platforms to get copy editing jobs

Fiverr: Fiverr is one of the most popular and legit platforms you can get gigs as a copy editor. In fact, you’ll get clients who would pay you handsomely for your services. All you need to do is visit Fiverr, sign up as a freelance and create your gig. Make sure your profile looks professional and attractive.

Other sites you can get potential clients as a freelance copy editor are: Upwork, Freelancer, People per Hour, LinkedIn, Facebook, Contena and Problogger.

Thanks for reading on Starting Your Career As An Editor: How To Be A Copy Editor from ICT Catalogue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *