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I just came across your web site and wonder if you could help me. I have 40-plus years' experience as a medical transcriptionist and editor/QA. These jobs are drying up here in the U.S. thanks to so much outsourcing overseas and sacrificing quality in favor of quality. I love to write and am an excellent editor. I would like to find a way to break into editing for publication or writing. Thanks, Karen.

Hi Karen,

There are several things you can do. For one thing, you are perfectly qualified to write for either trade or consumer magazines using your background. You need to research the marketplace and find every publication that touches on the subjects you are conversant with, contact the editor and tell him or her you want to write for the publication and please send a copy. If you can buy them off the shelf, fine. Study the publication inside and out and see what kinds of slants they use; is it written for specialists or the lay person, do they have lots of interviews, etc. You need to develop slants to articles that will interest the editor because he feels it will interest the audience. In trade publications it is mostly information, interviews, and that sort of thing. So, get a good market book like Writers Market and look for any publication that publishes medical news or articles. It can be trade or consumer. Plus, that is just a good book to get information about freelance writing.

Breaking into editing is not as hard as it looks. The two best entryways are to get an assistant editor's position or, even, an internship on a medical publication. In the larger magazines, for instance, they are pretty stiff about qualifications and experience. It would be very difficult to jump into a full-editor position without one or two years of being an assistant.

Another way to get experience is to offer your services to edit a nonprofit medical newsletter in your local area.

In any decent reference library there are books that list newsletters, as well as associations. I would ask the librarian about those and photocopy every one in the area you want to work in and prepare a letter, a resume, any writing clips you have and get in touch with the person who hires and present yourself. At the very least, ask for an informational interview from an existing editor at a publication you would like to work for.

That is really the best way to find a job. The job listings only represent 15% of the jobs that are available. The short of it is to talk with people and make it known to them that you are interested in changing gears and getting involved in the editing area. Just that much will open doors. Make a list of things to do and, if you get frustrated at one thing, do the next item on the list.

You have confidence in yourself and your abilities that is a large part of the equation right there.

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