Home Forums Jobs & Careers Hi, I retired early to look after my partner. Duri...

Lizzib Posted 1 year ago
Hi, I retired early to look after my partner. During that time I’ve kept myself busy. I’ve completed (with a distinction) a Diploma in Proofreading and Copy Editing. I would like to work as a Freelance Proofreader but am finding it difficult to find work. Any suggestions please?

I’ve assisted a local writer in polishing four novellas prior to publishing and have great feedback from her. I’m assisting a friend with a screenplay and submission package. I have more than twenty years working on scientific documents (Life Sciences). But this isn’t sufficient experience to get a look in on Upwork (recommended on Rest Less) or Reedsy.

8 likes & 44 replies
    • MartinW 18th January 2021 at 10:40 am

      Hi Lizzie, I sympathise as I am in a similar situation. Could you tell me who you did your diploma with and would you recommend it? I am currently looking a copyediting diploma with Reeds.

      • Lizzib 18th January 2021 at 1:11 pm

        I did my diploma with the College of Media and Publishing. I waited until they had a sale on, which is quite regular. It was good, covered all aspects like grammar, punctuation, formatting as you’d expect. There were exercises using Word Track Changes, Editing in PDFs and paper copy with British symbols. The exercises were challenging and the feedback good, highlighting what went well as what I’d missed or identified incorrectly. I think it’s given me a good grounding that I need to back up with practice and experience – that old conundrum!

        I’ve lood on Freelancer.com but the rates you’re asked t

      • Lizzib 18th January 2021 at 1:14 pm

        I’ve looked on Freelancer.com but the rates you’re asked to work for are ridiculous.

        • Lezzyboy 20th October 2021 at 7:20 am

          Its because a lot of the work is sent abroad to a different time zone and completed overnight by much cheaper labour… The results are not very good though

      • Lizzib 18th January 2021 at 1:15 pm

        Oh and the diploma covered copy editing as well as proofreading.

        • ljsteward 2nd February 2021 at 3:46 pm

          I’m curious Lizzib, what if any advice or contacts the College of Media and Publishing provided to help you get launched? It seems like they would have a good network of professionals to contact for information gathering.

          The type of strategic networking I’m referring to means you don’t ask these contacts if they have a job because they may quickly say no – good luck, talk over. Instead, you want to indicate that you now have the credentials to provide important support to the right person and you are seeking to meet as many as possible to continue getting professional advice about where the greatest needs may be. I know it may sound like the long way around to find the right opportunity but chances are if you ask the people who are working as editors and proofreaders they would tell you they found their current role through a good reference.

        • Lizzib 2nd February 2021 at 6:05 pm

          Hi, thanks for the pointers. The final lesson on the course is ‘finding work’ and I’m working my way through the suggestions.

          Your approach sounds like a good one, there are a few publications and organisations I have identified that I can try this on. Thank you.

        • loislane 2nd February 2021 at 11:10 pm

          What about FB, or putting your credentials on uni and college sites

        • ljsteward 3rd February 2021 at 4:15 am

          Good suggestion Loislane.

          You reminded me about a great program anyone can take advantage of on LinkedIn called 1000 hires. Here is how it is promoted:

          The #1000hires project aims to get at least 1000 people impacted by COVID layoffs back on their feet, using bite-sized interviews for recruiters and prospective employers to get a glimpse of their stories.

          I’m not sure of all the details but you are featured in an online interview talking about what you can provide for companies looking to hire. Here is a link to find out more: https://www.linkedin.com/company/1000hires/

        • Lizzib 11th March 2021 at 11:43 am

          Have followed this up and a lot of Universities don’t allow third-party involvement in proofreading work, including dissertations and theses. The CMP also warned about getting involved in coursework. So I’m hanging fire on this at the moment.

        • loislane 11th March 2021 at 12:08 pm

          That’s a shame really as a lot of students don’t proofread their work, I know adults who are struggling with English

      • Deleted User 12th February 2021 at 5:15 pm

        Hi Martin ,
        I’ve been looking at doing a Proofreading course with Reeds as well. I wondered if you had chosen your course yet and what course you decided on.
        I found it a bit confusing because they had really cheap courses that looked pretty much the same as the more expensive courses.

    • MartinW 18th January 2021 at 1:18 pm

      Hi thanks, it’s the same organisation I am looking at. Good luck and keep smiling. It’s all we can do at the moment.

    • ljsteward 22nd January 2021 at 3:49 am

      My wife was a magazine publisher in New York for years. We have relocated to South Carolina. Yes, I’m one of the few from the U.S. She now has her own writing and editing business she operates from home and keeps very busy. I will get some information from her tomorrow about the resources she uses for assignments.

      In the meantime, I wanted to suggest for all you writers, the absolute best app I use to correct all my writing mistakes is Grammarly. It’s free, check it out here:


    • ShirlsD 12th February 2021 at 8:31 pm

      If you’ve not already done so, sign up with LinkedIn. Im freelance and do all my advertising on it. If I can give you any pointers just give me a shout.

      • Lizzib 14th February 2021 at 10:45 pm

        Hi, thanks for the reply. I’m on linkedin but very new to it, so need to do some work on it. Haven’t advertised. Any pointers gratefully received.



    • Colin in Kent 13th February 2021 at 5:12 pm

      Another point to consider is that you may balk at the idea of working for low rates, but it’s very difficult to get work in something so competitive with paper qualifications and no experience. I’m quite cynical about diplomas and suchlike where the course providers offer no guarantees about helping you find work. What I would recommend would be to throw yourself into low paid or voluntary work in the sector to gain that experience and foot in the door where you can network from a position of knowledgeability. There is a boom in small and independent publishers at the moment to whom you could offer your services. Many of them are one person bands and they range from very high end production values to popular and cheap paperbacks. I’d also recommend setting up a website where you can offer your services on an independent basis – a lot of authors, particularly those that go down the self-publishing route, are looking for good proof readers and copy editing. There are a good number of writing and publishing groups on facebook you might become active in and offer your services. But I honestly think that at the outset you may have to settle for lower rates, and should make gaining vital experience your aim. Good luck!

      • Lizzib 14th February 2021 at 10:41 pm

        Hi Colin, thank you for the time and effort you’ve gone to in replying. I think I have most of the bases covered.

        I do have experience from working in the pharmaceutical industry and from volunteering on four novels for an indi author as well as the screenplay. There might be more voluntary work come up as a result of this post.

        I’m on the Alliance of Indepent Authors website and Facebook page. Also a few other proofreading and editing Facebook groups.

        I have my own website and business Facebook page. I probably need to do more in terms of tags, seo etc.

        I’ve signed up for Freelancer and a couple of similar sites. The rates on there are absolutely ridiculous because of the people you are competing with. Some of the jobs I think are bordering on the unethical but if I think that I don’t bid.

        Thanks again.


        • Colin in Kent 14th February 2021 at 11:12 pm

          It sounds as if you’re doing everything right Liz. I guess as with so many things, once something starts going right it continues to do so, but it needs that initial nudge. Of course the way things are at the moment doesn’t help, and people aren’t spending money on things they consider ‘non-essential’. So many indie authors won’t hire a proof reader or copy editor, even though the results speak for themselves, and then, yes, you end up having to work for so little it seems hardly worth running as a business. It can be done with perseverance, I just with I had more practical advice to offer.

        • Lizzib 15th February 2021 at 2:00 am

          Don’t worry, that’s great, thanks. I’m sure once one job comes in it’ll be fine.

        • Lizzib 15th February 2021 at 2:05 am

          Purely out of curiosity, looking at your profile, what kind of writing do you do. I have two cats, a domestic short hair rescue and a black oriental. They couldn’t be more different in start in life and character but love them equally.

        • Colin in Kent 15th February 2021 at 11:52 am

          Until 2012 I wrote pretty much exclusively poetry, then I switched to short stories and novellas (I don’t have the time for a novel, much as I’d like to). I’ve had a few published, probably no more than half a dozen in as many years, mainly because I’m incredibly lazy and rarely write more than a couple a year, and I also spend a lot of time writing stories that aren’t really suitable for the market so publishers tend not to pick them up. At some point (again, I keep telling myself when I have time), I’ll self-publish those that I can’t find an outlet for, but again, as I’m sure you’re aware, that sort of thing takes commitment, time and money. Having spent years in bookselling as well, I know that good design and cover art will be crucial, so I intend to pay for those services. I also wanted to establish my writing credentials first by getting ‘proper’ publishers to commit to me first rather than simply inflicting my writing on the public via the self-publish route. I write mainly supernatural / horror and fantasy, which is also a niche market, but at least there are usually a good round of publishers looking for stories.

          I have two cats as well! Unfortunately both became very ill last Autumn, one with kidney disease, the other requiring hospitalisation in a neurological hospital near Winchester (who were absolutely brilliant), MRI and cardigrams and operations on both her inner ears. Luckily she is home now and on the mend, but it was a very nerve wracking time for a few months.

        • Lizzib 16th February 2021 at 11:27 am

          That sounds like a difficult time. They are a worry aren’t they. Both of them I’ll at the same was bad timing. Glad they are home and doing well.

        • Colin in Kent 16th February 2021 at 12:12 pm

          Thank you Liz – yes, and very lucky we had lockdown in a way since we were both home and able to look after them – they’ve certainly appreciated the attention!

    • Deleted User 15th February 2021 at 9:48 am

      The world is awash with authors competing for a finite number of readers.
      Writing books is easy. Writing decent books is more difficult. Selling books is hard.
      I’ve written five and I’m lucky to sell a few. No false modesty here, it is a few!
      I self-published, self-edited and did the covers and promo material myself. Couple of big errors right there!! Initial editing and covers were poor, to be polite. But for me, as a new author, to engage a copy editor / proofreader / developmental editor and a cover designer, the cost would have been substantial. At the price I can sell my books for it means I have to sell hundreds of copies of each book to break even.
      From start to finish each book takes the best part of a year (others are quicker) so at £1.99 per e-book that’s scant return.
      Most new authors barely get started and many sell less than 20 books, mainly to family and benevolent friends.
      What the above tells me is that IF you can get your foot in the editing door you’ll likely make more money than 99+% of writers.

      To give you an idea what you’re up against, one source for writers is Fivver…..
      If you search there for copy editing / proofreading you’ll see there is lots of competition, many of whom appear to have a decent track-record of recommendations. If I’m reading it right, at the rates some of them charge, they are not making a great living. But for me as a writer, competition is good.
      I engaged a designer via Fivver to do a book cover for me. I was very impressed. He designed a bespoke cover (including a couple of alterations) and sent me e-book and wrap-around paperback versions. Both arrived to exact specifications required for the e-book to be uploaded straight to Amazon’s publishing page and paperback version exactly correct for my page count. He also sent a pdf version for me to send out independently attached to my own manuscript. All done, including amendments, in about four days. Total cost £75. Which I thought was terrific value.

      Lizzie, you look to have a head start having done a lot of related work. Best of luck, I hope you find your niche. For anyone starting from scratch, it may be a tricky road.

      • Lizzib 15th February 2021 at 9:57 am

        Hi Jo, thanks for the considered reply. Can’t argue with anything you say. I’m also writing a novel and have no expectations of making anything from that, if I even go on to publish, it’s purely for my own edification.


        • Deleted User 15th February 2021 at 10:08 am

          ….even if???? Of course you’ll publish! Despite your work experience you may wish to see this link which is very helpful if you’re self-publishing. I have to say that the three of mine that sell are autobiographical accounts, the novels haven’t ‘gained any traction’ yet!
          Here’s that link… https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200783400

          Incidentally, when I first tried to get going, I joined the KDP community where authors can ask (dumb) questions. It was obvious that many people were a) clueless and b) desperate. I pointed out that the best chance of a best-seller was to write a book entitled, ‘How to write a best-seller’.

        • Lizzib 15th February 2021 at 10:54 am


          I have joined the ALLi website. Firstly as a partner offering my proofreading and editing experience but also as a prospective author. There is a lot of advice on there about getting published with KDP and IS etc.

          I’ll take a look at the link.



    • ToniK 20th February 2021 at 5:54 pm

      Hi, what’s your FB page called? I have nearly finished a novel and would like it edited and proof read before I think about self publishing. Thanks

    • Seanster 19th July 2021 at 6:10 pm

      I am looking for a Proof Reader as soon as the tutor has assessed my submission. I’ve been doing a course with Creative Brown Associates. Please let me know if you are able to assist and how I submit it to you.

    • Gerika 19th July 2021 at 6:31 pm

      Have a look on Facebook for book groups and Author groups, they sometimes advertise there.

    • Tuppence 20th July 2021 at 12:45 pm

      Hi there! Upwork, Freelancer, etc all start paying very little … you have to build your numbers (especially the 5-stars!) If the remuneration is inadequate, why not try Fiverr.com and start there. You can decide how much you think you’re hourly rate should be, but I have to ask “Why would someone choose you instead of somebody else?” Sorry, but this is really important because you ‘re selling yourself and your talent and you have to answer the question!

    • The Accidental Retiree 27th July 2021 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Lizzib,
      I am a member of the Facebook group Digital Nomad Jobs, and think you may have some success through networking here. (over 140,000 members)
      Although you may not be looking to be a Digital Nomad yourself, the fact that remote working opportunities pop up here, may be aligned to your situation, maybe?

      I wish you luck with your search, and would love to hear how you get on.

    • Deleted User 29th July 2021 at 11:49 am

      The big money is in writing and promoting courses, I suspect!

    • oli123 10th January 2022 at 6:05 am

      This is really an awesome and heart warming article I have ever read. However freelancing job is quite good to hear but tough to manage https://eduhelphub.com/. being a freelance writer I can suggest one thing that you can find a permanent job with any organization.

    • Jane_Chris 23rd January 2022 at 6:52 pm

      You could try exam board websites. I have proofread IT exams for one exam board for years, and found errors before they went live. You will need a subject specialism, for example a 2nd language.