Proofreading and Copy-editing: Earning Money

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Why take a Chapterhouse proofreading or proofreading and copy-editing course?

proofreading booksThe courses open many opportunities for you.

  • Work freelance for publishers, proofreading and copy-editing.
  • Work freelance checking documents, reports, and promotional literature for businesses and other organisations.
  • Work directly for authors of e-books, helping to ensure their books are error-free.
  • Work proofreading and copy-editing students’ dissertations or theses.
  • Former students have worked freelance for organisations ranging from estate agents to football clubs, and from universities to local travel companies.
  • Publishers send their editors to us for training in proofreading and copy-editing.
  • The courses provide valuable CV points. Many companies need employees who will check their printed material and websites, and the courses are also taken by people who want to get into the publishing industry full-time.

What can I earn for freelance proofreading and copy-editing?

Working for a publishing company, the SfEP recommended minimum rate (although this is not mandatory) is £22 an hour for proofreading and £25.70 an hour for copy-editing. Some freelancers earn much more copy-editing specialised projects!

For other businesses there will generally be a rate set by the client for each specific job depending on its complexity. If you work checking students’ dissertations, you’ll generally charge a rate per thousand words.

Just a few hours’ work will be enough to earn you back the money you’ve spent on your proofreading and copy-editing course! And remember that for two years after you finish the course, we’ll help you with queries on everything from CVs to gaining confidence to tackle those early freelance jobs.

What’s the difference between proofreading and copy-editing?

Proofreading is the final stage of the editorial process for book publishers, and involves working on the proof before final printing. The proofreader’s job is to weed out any remaining mistakes, so it’s essential to have a good eye for detail and a cautious approach. Proofreaders for publishers don’t make decisions on style points or make major changes if they don’t like the author’s writing style.

Copy-editing is an earlier stage, working on the author’s original typescript. Obviously you correct typing mistakes, but you also keep a close watch for a broader range of problems, such as inconsistencies, issues of style, or bad grammar. That’s why copy-editors are paid more than proofreaders. They have to tread a delicate line in order to respect the author’s voice but at the same time ensure the meaning is clear.

Many freelancers like to do both proofreading and copy-editing, giving them more variety of work and a wider range of jobs they can do; other freelancers prefer to stick with proofreading. If you work for a non-publishing client you’ll sometimes find that you’re doing a mixture of proofreading and copy-editing in the same task. Whichever route you prefer to follow, there are plenty of work opportunities.