Published and Paid #8: Level Up Your Skills & Income with Copy Editing
Are you still looking for the right path that will allow you to make a living as a writer? Do you have great attention to detail and a passion for finding and fixing errors? If so, copy editing may just be the path you’ve been looking for.
In the final installment of the Published and Paid series, Coach Tam shares one more way to make money as a Christian writer. With copy editing, not only can you increase your income, but you can also play an important role in the publishing process, improve your own writing skills, and help others improve at the same time. Don’t miss two valuable resources that will help you get started!
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- What it really means to be a copy editor
- The vital skills you need to succeed in copy editing
- The benefits of becoming a copy editor
- Two resources to kick off your copy editing career
Be sure to read all the way to the end to take advantage of the expert-provided resources!
As Christian writers, our skill sets must be constantly evolving. Just because we’ve published a book doesn’t mean our work is done. In fact, if we want to stay relevant in this industry and make an impact for Christ, we need to continue to hone our skills and learn new ways to tell powerful stories.
That’s why this Published and Paid series is so important. It’s designed to help you learn about the various ways that you can develop your skill set and generate money as a writer. This allows you to not only be used by God to the fullest, but also to have the influence and income that you desire.
In Published and Paid Part 7, we talked about starting a podcast as a way to spread the gospel and make an impact. If you’ve ever thought about starting a podcast, make sure you check that episode out and take advantage of the free resource from Christian Authors Network approved partner Carey Green to help you get started.
But maybe podcasting isn’t for you — and if that’s the case, it’s okay. If you’ve tuned in to the entire series and haven’t yet found the right path for you to make money as a writer, this eight and final installment may just be the one you’ve been waiting for.
This final path for making money as a writer is a great way to leverage your existing writing skills while continuing to evolve your storytelling abilities. What is it? It’s becoming a copy editor.
Copy editing can be a lucrative opportunity for those who are skilled in grammar and punctuation. Too often, this opportunity is overlooked because people think it only applies to academic writing, but that isn’t actually the case.
As a copy editor, your job is to help writers improve their work before it’s published. So if you have a passion for excellence and are looking for ways to increase your income as a writer, you might be surprised at how successful you can be.
What Is a Copy Editor?
So what exactly is a copy editor, and what do they do? First, it’s important to understand that “copy editing” is a pretty general term, and there are many different roles you can play within that space.
Sometimes, it refers to a proofreader who catches typos. In other instances, it’s a person who plans and oversees entire writing projects. But in general, a copy editor is someone who reviews and edits written materials before they are published. This can include checking for grammatical errors and ensuring that the content is accurate and consistent.
Just like other roles in the writing space, a copy editor works with other people. In this instance, those people are authors, publishers, and other clients who want to ensure that their materials meet certain standards. This could mean:
- Working with subject matter experts to ensure accuracy
- Consulting style guides to ensure consistency
- Providing feedback to writers and authors on ways to improve their writing
- Fact checking by verifying resources and ensuring that Bible-based texts are accurate and error-free
So, in addition to being a fulfilling career, copy editing can also be a great way to serve God and help others grow in their faith. Now that’s what I call winning!
Vital Skills for Copy Editing Success
So how do you know you have what it takes to be successful as a copy editor? Well, there are a few skills you need to have.
1. Excellent attention to detail
As a copy editor, it’s your job to catch errors in the client’s writing. This is really important work, because errors can change the meaning of what a writer is trying to say and can make a text difficult to understand. And from a marketing perspective, errors can also damage a writer’s credibility.
In our fast-paced digital world, first impressions matter more than ever. When there are errors, people make assumptions. They assume that you’re sloppy, or that you’re not taking care with your work. As a result, when errors are in play, people tend to question your ability to communicate effectively — and may be less likely to take your message seriously. Of course, it’s not possible to be perfect all the time. But copy editors play a valuable role in ensuring that the writer’s content is polished to keep their professionalism intact.
2. A good sense of style & understanding of how to format text correctly
Depending on the project you’re working on, you may end up using different style guides as a copy editor. That means you’ll need to be able to apply the style rules correctly to the text you’re working on and to format things like headings, lists, and other elements according to the applicable style guide.
You’ll also need to be able to spot errors in style and formatting so you can fix them. Having a good sense of style and being able to format text correctly ensures the documents are consistent and easy to read — something that readers require.
3. The ability to work quickly & efficiently under pressure
Copy editing is a vital part of the publishing process, but it can also be a challenge, especially when deadlines are tight. So to be successful, you have to be able to work quickly and prioritize tasks. That means being able to identify the most important changes to make to ensure accuracy and style consistency. It also means being able to communicate effectively with authors and other members of the publishing team.
Copy editing is all about ensuring that every publication that goes to print is the best that it can possibly be, and that includes finishing within the given time frame. But don’t stress too much over this one, because with practice, you can learn to work well under pressure.
4. The ability to work independently
To be a successful copy editor, you’ll need to be self-motivated and able to stay on track without supervision. Of course, being able to work independently and remotely anywhere in the world has its advantages, but it also requires you to be disciplined and organized. It’s critical that you be able to focus on your work for long periods of time while paying close attention to detail. And you need strong organizational skills, as you may have to manage large volumes of information and juggle multiple deadlines.
Why Choose Copy Editing?
If you’re thinking about exploring copy editing as a path to make money as a writer, remember that success in this field requires both hard work and a strong commitment to excellence. But as long as you have these skills, a career in copy editing might just be for you! And it has its advantages, too.
As a copy editor, you have the opportunity to work with different types of texts and learn new things every day. You could be working with academic or scientific writing, legal documents, technical writing, journalism, fiction books, or nonfiction books — or some of each.
Copy editing is also a great way to level up your own writing skills, since you’ll be spending so much time editing the work of others and fixing errors. Furthermore, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet new people and make connections with other professionals in the publishing space.
And finally, as a copywriter, you will be an important part of a publishing team. You’ll gain a strong sense of satisfaction from knowing that you played a vital role in each text going to print error-free.
Next Steps: Get Started Today!
Ready to learn more about copy editing and get started making money? Then here are two valuable resources for you to take advantage of.
First, pick up the book Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business by Louise Harnby. Louise has been doing this type of work for a long time, and she’s identified the importance of marketing strategy to be able to compete effectively in the market. This book is specifically for those who want to enter the copy editing field, to help you think through the core principles of small business promotion. She also includes case studies that demonstrate real-world practice, as well as professional resource hubs and knowledge centers that will help you get up to speed and truly understand what you need to start and grow a business. Louise’s mission is to help you only work with preferred clients so you can level up your income.
Or, if you want a more hands-on approach to learning the copy editing business, check out Christian Authors Network approved partner Lisa Thompson. Lisa has been writing, editing, and proofreading full-time since 2009. That’s a lot of experience! And she’s proofread or edited at least 500 books during her career as an editor. She’s worked with all kinds of writers, from self-made millionaires to actresses to church leaders and even an insurance agent. She’s done it all, and has worked with people from coast to coast and globally. She knows her stuff. So if you’re looking for an experienced guide, Lisa is a great choice. She can help you understand how the business works and avoid common pitfalls.
This concludes the Published and Paid series. While there are many more ways to make money as a writer that we weren’t able to cover in this series, hopefully you found one or two paths that excited you among the ones we discussed.
And now, it’s time to take the next step. Whatever that looks like for you, don’t forget that we are here to help. If you need any encouragement or advice along the way, connect with us in the Christian Authors Network Facebook group. We are here for you!
My name is Tamara “Coach Tam” Jackson and I am a published author, Facebook© Certified Digital Marketer, host of the Top 100 Publishing Secrets podcast, and founder of The Christian Authors Network (C.A.N.) Facebook© community. I specialize in helping mission-driven authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs increase their exposure, impact, and income through strategic self-publishing and digital media appearances. Just say yes and we will work together to attract a tribe of loyal followers that 1) “get you”, 2) love what you do, and 3) are happy to invest in your book, business, cause, or movement. Plus, we will accomplish all of this without fake, salesy, sleazy, or manipulative tactics. Yes you CAN write, publish, and profit in a way that honors God; join the community today at https://christianauthors.net/fbgroup.
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