In July of 2009, I took the leap. Yep, that's right... right smack dab in the middle of plummeting economy and rising gas prices, I decided that I would walk off of a relatively steady day job and "chase the dream." And what was that dream? Fixing other people's semicolons, rewriting their sentences, and milling through typos and tense problems, plot holes and comma misuse, all the while dog-earing my Chicago Manual of Style to death. After twenty-two years of filing, typing, writing letters for the boss, answering phones, word processing, maintaining spreadsheets, and going to meetings by day and proofreading, editing, and writing by night and on weekends, I decided to become what I have dreamed about since I was twelve years old - a freelance book editor. I started editing for a local company's weekly newspaper column when I was fourteen, so it was nothing new to me! The only new part was making it my full-time job.
Since that time, I have had a steady flow of clients - authors at all levels of the game - but it is not easy, and working for myself without a steady, promised paycheck has wreaked havoc on my nerves and admittedly sometimes my family's pantry. I have been fortunate to land jobs and gigs, but it requires more work on my part than any "regular day job" I've ever had in my life. There are days when I spend ten, twelve, or even sixteen hours sitting in front of my laptop editing or trying to find new clients to edit for. Each and every day, I peruse the Internet looking for new clients, including searching writing jobs and gigs on every single major world city's Craigslist site. When I'm not looking for editing work, I'm busy editing. My new office is in the corner of my kitchen, and I go to work in my flannel pajamas most days, and my "bosses" are freelance authors, publishers, businesses, and students who hire me to help them polish their term papers, flyers, memos, novels, memoirs, or whatever else comes along. It is a lot of work and requires a great deal of time and concentration (and more coffee than I ever had to make as a secretary)... but I still absolutely LOVE it!
One of the things I love most about my job is that I get to "meet" authors from all over the world. I have edited books written in the US, China, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK. I have had the chance to read works by first-time authors and authors who are already successfully published. To me, book editing is the next best thing to my own bylines. Every author and every book that I "take under my wing" becomes a project I am proud of - a project I want to help push as far as I can. Being a freelance author myself, I know how hard it is to break into publishing. I know how important a book manuscript is to its writer, and it means a great deal to me that many times, I am one of the first people to get a look at what that author has created. I am flattered every time I get to read something new and be a very small part of its foundations!
I try to cater to authors who cannot afford to pay the common pricey $50 to $75 an hour editing fees. My rates are always only $1.25 a page, and that includes proofreading and comprehensive editing, feedback, critique, rewording, checking for consistency and plot holes, and even some light manuscript formatting. I consider each book I edit as a personal mission, and I stick around through queries, synopses, and proposals to help wherever I can. I even promote "my" author's books wherever I can because I know firsthand how hard it is to get a foot in the literary door and gain an audience of readers among the millions of books produced every year.
Simply, I LOVE being a freelance book editor, and I feel very blessed for each and every one of my clients. If any of you out there have a manuscript that needs a good polish from a highly experienced book editor, get in touch with me today. I would LOVE to work with you and help you make your writing sparkle before you submit it to that publisher or agent! I can always be reached through Red Room or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autumn Conley, Book Editor
PO Box 134, Tremont City, Ohio 45372
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