Running a freelance editorial business

Page owner: Information director

There are a wide variety of practical guides available, written by senior members of the CIEP, and these are available to buy direct in either pdf or hard copy format. Titles include:

Getting Started in Fiction Editing by Katherine Trail

Editing into Plain English by Luke Finley, Laura Ripper and Sarah Carr

Editor and Client: Building a professional relationship (2nd edition) by Anne Waddingham

Editorial Project Management by Abi Saffrey

Going Solo: Creating your freelance editorial business by Sue Littleford

Marketing Yourself: Strategies to promote your editorial business (2nd edition) by Sara Hulse

Pricing a Project: How to prepare a professional quotation by Melanie Thomson

Proofreading Theses and Dissertations by Stephen Cashmore

Your House Style: Styling your words for maximum impact (3rd edition) by Christina Thomas with Abi Saffrey


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Brilliant Freelancer: Discover the Power of Your Own Success by Leif Kendall (paperback and ebook, Pearson Business, 2011)


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Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers: A Guide for New Starters by Louise Harnby in association with The Publishing Training Centre (paperback and ebook, self-published, 2013)

Written by CIEP Advanced Professional Member, Louise Harnby, for those with no prior publishing or editorial experience. Chapters focus on why a business plan is necessary, aspects of editorial freelancing, training, client focus, getting experience, financial assessment, promotion, networking, tools for the job and real-world case studies featuring new starters. More information is available on Louise’s website.


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Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business by Louise Harnby in association with The Publishing Training Centre (paperback and ebook, self-published, 2014)

This book is for any editorial freelancer who feels that marketing is their Achilles' heel. It demonstrates that marketing needn't be difficult, overwhelming or boring. The book takes proofreaders and editors through the core principles of developing and implementing an effective marketing strategy that will get them noticed and generate business leads. More information is available on Louise’s website.


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The Pocket Book of Proofreading: A guide to freelance proofreading & copy-editing by William Critchley (paperback and kindle, First English Books, 2007)

Several new Entry-Level members report finding this book useful in their very early days of researching whether freelance proofreading was for them. It is rather old now and many aspects have become out of date, but it might still prove worth buying for those just starting out. More established members would advise: 'it is rather OLD, in terms of how proofreading is practised in the 2020s' and 'Take with a pinch of salt – no replacement for professional training and the forums/local groups, of course, but fun and accessible!'


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The Subversive Copy Editor, Second Edition: Advice from Chicago (or, how to negotiate good relationships with your writers, your colleagues, and ... guides to writing, editing, and publishing) by Carol Fisher Saller (paperback, ebook, audiobook, University of Chicago Press, 2016)

Wise advice about being an editor from one of the most experienced editors around.


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The Copyeditor's Handbook by Amy Einsohn and Marilyn Schwartz (paperback, University of California Press, 4th edn, 2019)

This book is US oriented, but not to any extent that should put you off if you don't work in US English. It is intended for new editors and for experienced hands 'who want to refresh their skills and broaden their understanding of the craft of copyediting'. This edition: 'incorporates the latest advice from language authorities, usage guides and new editions of major style manuals, including The Chicago Manual of Style. It registers the tectonic shifts in twenty-first-century copyediting: preparing text for digital formats, using new technologies, addressing global audiences, complying with plain language mandates, ensuring accessibility, and serving self-publishing authors and authors writing in English as a second language.'

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