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Paul asks, "Hi, there. Your thoughtful and thorough answers to others' questions have been very helpful to me, so I first wanted to thank you for that. I worked as a staff writer and sometimes editor for daily newspapers in California for about 12 years; for the past year or so, I have been trying my hand at freelancing. But while I try to broaden my base and get more assignments -- especially from larger publications that pay more -- it's definitely hard to make ends meet financially. To supplement the writing, I'd like to get a part-time journalism job -- leaving time to still write -- and I've really enjoyed copyediting. It seems most copyediting jobs are full-time -- or do you think there are some opportunities out there for part-time copyediting positions at either newspapers or magazines? And do you have any tips on the best way to go about trying to land such jobs? Thank you very much.
Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate that. The short answer about copy editing is that there are part-time positions. The trend in newspapers and magazines is toward "outsourcing" copy editing jobs to freelancers.
I don't think you'd find any difficulty given your background. You could call local papers, magazines, and businesses. There is a lot of writing in business and a need for copy editors and proofreaders. Don't leave that segment of the market out of the picture.
Give yourself a business name and include in the business "freelance copy editing." And then you approach it about the same way you approach freelance writing. Prepare a marketing package you can send to papers, magazines, newsletters, businesses. Include a cover letter and a resume that highlights the copy editing you've done. If you have any examples of copy editing you've done in the past, include those. Try to find out from the masthead who the boss is and send the package to him or her, not to the human resources department.
Advertise. Start locally. If you have a Craigslist in your area use that because it's pretty effective. Make a good ad and offer services and include contact information. Be prepared to quote people a rate at which you'd charge them.
If you want to get hired somewhere, part-time, still develop your package. Remake your resume so that the copy editing is the featured item. Again, large businesses, ad agencies, newspapers, magazines, and book publishers can all use copy editors. Yes, check ads but remember that published ads represent only 20-25% of the jobs available.
You're fortunate that you can focus on only those businesses that would use copy editors so that makes your target fairly reasonable. A lot of it is preparing beforehand and then picking up the phone and calling people. Most of that will be a dead-end perhaps but the few times you get an interested party on the other end could be a good lead.
Most publications and corporations hire copy editors based on tests. So, if you apply somewhere make sure you are prepared for the test. Go over all the proofreading marks, try to familiarize yourself with the different style books, and brush up the rules of grammar.
As I said, incorporate looking for part-time jobs in the want ads with cold calling and sending your package out.
I hope I've given you some ideas but if you have any more questions just let me know.
Good luck in your pursuits!
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