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I'm a startup freelance editor - any tips?

Hi all! 

I just joined here, so apologies if this isn't the right place to post this (please refer me to the correct place if so!).

I've been a freelance scientific editor for just under two years and have just started my own freelance website in the hopes of expanding into other types of writing (I really love SFF!). 

I was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to get more exposure/how to build a clientelle - I know many of you are writers and may not have experience in editing, but was hoping people could point me in the right direction or to someone whose brain I could pick. One idea I had was to offer sample edits of 1,000-1,500 words to allow potential clients to see how I work and decide if it's for them - anyone have experience of this?

I've started writing a lot more recently too, and while I really enjoy it, i've been struggling to get motivated - my writing moods often come late at night when I really should be sleeping - anyone got any tips or comments on how to stay motivated as a writer?

Thanks for reading, hope you are all having a lovely day!


  • Welcome to TB.

    Have a look at other editors. How they promote their businesses and how you actually find them, would be a good starting point. Do you check your website stats? How are people finding your website?

  • Hi, and welcome to TB, SJPE!

    I often see pleas for feedback from writers in FB writing groups, or on Goodreads. There is often a suggestion of reciprocal critique. You could jump in on a few of those with an introduction about your services, maybe offering the first chapter/1000 words free.
  • edited August 2019
  • Thanks all for your comments! 

    I'm just getting website analytics sorted, but I shared my site on twitter, so the relatively few hits it's got so far came from there, I imagine. 

    Are people relatively accepting of self-promotion on goodreads, facebook etc.? Of course I'm not going to go in shamelessly plugging myself, but I know some people can be a bit tetchy about that sort of thing.

  • You risk losing your Facebook account if you promote a business on your personal account. Hitting people with spam is never a good idea. Goodreads is for readers more than the business end of writing. If you already have a website and Twitter account, I'd focus on those platforms. As structural and developmental editing are usually genre-specific it will take some time to build a portfolio. Have you looked at advertising in one of the writing magazines?
  • Fair points, might not be the best plan of action then. 

    The problem I have is that I freelance under the umbrella of a larger company, and so I am rarely (never) accredited for my work if a manuscript is published, hence my portfolio is embarassingly non-existent. I might chase that up, however. 

    Which writing magazines would you recommend, both from a reader's/potential advertiser's perspective? I've tried looking for some in the shops near me but have barely found any :(
  • Hi SJPE, given that this forum is run by Writing Magazine, it would be the logical/polite one to recommend. You should be able to find it in the large WH Smiths stores - or you could take out a subscription.
  • Re Motivation

    I'd argue that one of the main differences between amateur and professional writers is that the professionals don't have to depend on mood or motivation. There's a kind of autopilot which remains at a high standard.

    How do you get there?

    Have a process. Have a routine. Write every day. After some time, you'll be able to write whenever and wherever. Also learn planning and preparation. It's hard to just sit and start writing without much idea about what or why or for whom you're writing. 

    Every writing session should have a clear goal. A scene. A piece of dialogue. You should know what you want to achieve with that piece of writing. I remember many times in the past when "the mood took me" and I sat to write a short story or even a novel with barely an idea of where it would go after the first paragraph. The answer was usually that it went in the bin.

    With practice, you'll be able to write without motivation and without energy or inspiration. This ability is essential if you want to live off your writing one day. Of course, it's more fun to write while full of enthusiasm, but life gets in the way.

    My experience now is that some of my best writing is done on autopilot. I don't have to worry about motivation. It just happens. 
  • HI Gerald, whilst I agree with you, due to time constraints I don't get to write every day but the autopilot statement is an interesting one worthy of further discussion one day.
  • Datco – If I write every day, it's usually because that's my job. Still, it all counts.

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