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Top Freelance Editor Jobs—and What They Do

As an experienced freelance writer, it's highly possible that your interests are evolving into a freelance editor role. There's a wide variety of freelance editor jobs to choose from and it's worth taking the time to explore all options.

To be a successful freelance editor will require you to have superb editing skills and a perfect history with a provable track record of error-free work. When applying for editing jobs, attach samples of your work. We highly recommend setting up your own website to showcase your work and areas of expertise.

These are simple strategies.

Now, it's time to get to know what those glowing job titles really represent—and what they actually do!

Let's explore 15 freelance editing jobs and what they entail.

Acquisitions Editor

As an acquisition editor, your duties would include finding, accepting, and rejecting manuscripts for a specific publisher. In most cases, it will be book-length manuscripts for either non-fiction or fiction. Other duties may include signing up authors and arranging contracts.

It will be essential to have a thorough understanding of the publisher you work for and their target market. A key part of the role will be making sure to choose manuscripts that align with the publisher's goals.

Initially, a freelance editor may not have full access to the role as it may partly be dealt with in-house. However, in time your role may expand to include all access once you become more established.

Coordinating Editor

Manuscripts can often be amended by numerous people including:

  • Writers

  • Graphic designers

  • Editors

  • Proofreaders

The job of a coordinating editor (also known as a managing editor) is to coordinate the project and everyone involved. You would manage each stage of the project knowing who has it at all times, who needs it next, and to make sure the project delivers on time.

A key goal of this role is to make sure that mistakes are kept to a minimum.

Copy Editor

Copy editing is one of the most common opportunity for freelancers. This is because nearly all types of written work require it including books, magazines, and web content.

The role of a copy editor is to check the entire structure of the piece. A copy editor will check

  • Spelling

  • Sentence structure

  • Grammar

  • That the style is in keeping with the publication

When searching for copy editing jobs it may also be called line editing, stylistic editing, or mechanical editing.

Comprehensive Editor

A comprehensive editor deals with high-level editing. The role involves getting into the minute details of the manuscript. Typically, this includes checking the structure of paragraphs, pages, flow, organization, and format.

When making alterations it could mean changing the point of view, improving characters, or even adding content.

Many freelance editors offer this to authors and novelists. To be successful will mean building a good working relationship with the author. If you are a freelance writer already, then this can mean you will do well as a comprehensive editor.

Fact-Checking Editor

Fact-checking requires you to verify that any claims made are true. It can be easily done online at home, at a library, or by using the phone.

Format Editor

If you are interested in the design of a document, then format editing may be ideal. This type of editing requires attention to the layout of the document including the font used and any graphics.

Globalization/Translations Editor

A translations editor will be focusing on any cultural or other international elements that may affect the document. When a document is translated it can cause meanings to be lost even if the translation is accurate.

To do this type of editing you will need to consider issues that vary from culture to culture, including how dates are written, place names, and genders. If you are multilingual or specialize in other cultures this may be an ideal role to seek out.

Integrity Editor

Large pieces of work such as non-fiction work often include lots of references. The job of an integrity editor is to make sure those references are there.

For example, if the document says 'see table 2.1' an integrity editor needs to make sure the table is there and matches what it says with the document.

Line Editor

Freelancers can often find work as line editors. Line editing involves checking the flow of a document from start to finish.

When working on a manuscript an author will often perform many rewrites. There may also have been numerous edits performed by others. This can result in the manuscript becoming disjointed. The job of a line editor is to check the style and tone flows right through the document.

Low-, Medium-, High-Level Editor

These titles are terms used by publishers depending on what level of editing is required.

Low-level editing involves minor editing such as spelling and grammar. Whereas high-level editing is looking for more detailed editing of the document including the whole structure of the piece.

Depending on your experience and skills you can apply for whichever level you are best suited to.

Manuscript Review Editor

A manuscript review editor is nearly always a published author or someone with a huge amount of experience in the publishing industry. This is because it involves checking the manuscript (often a book) for its quality and suitability for the publishing industry.

Permissions Editor

The job of a permissions editor is an important one. The role involves getting the right to use any copyrighted material. This includes:

  • Song lyrics

  • Photos

  • Poetry

Permissions are important as copyright infringements can be expensive.

Production Editor

When a book is ready to go to market a production editor will be needed. You will need to organize printing, publishing, and shipping which will involve liaising with printers and typesetters to make sure the book is ready to go out.


Proofreading involves thoroughly checking an edited manuscript. You will be looking for the following -

  • Spelling or grammar mistakes

  • Repetitive words

  • Checking a new document against a previous version to make sure all corrections have been made

  • Looking at the format of the document for mistakes such as bad line breaks or the correct lineup of subtitles

Proofreading is available for all freelance editors and is a great way to find remote work.

Technical Editor

To be a technical editor you will need to specialize in a specific field. This type of work involves all the areas mentioned above such as editing and proofreading. The requirement is that you have knowledge of a specific technical area to be successful.

Ready to Take the Next Steps?

As a freelance writer, you likely have a lot of the skills needed to be a freelance editor. You may also have noticed that many of these roles have similar requirements. This means you have the potential to search for a wide range of jobs.

When applying for a freelance editing role make sure to check exactly what the client expects. Ideally, make sure everything is clearly agreed upon in the contract beforehand. Make sure before committing to any work that you have thoroughly checked what is involved and the client as well. Doing this ensures everyone will finish the project happily and hopefully mean repeat work for you!


Charlene "Charly" is an instructor, event planner, "forever student of life", freelancer, and Contributing Writer for Remote Writers Work.



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