ACES 2012 | New Orleans

Freelance editing: The pros and cons

Freelance editors mingle at an ACES pre-conference social. (Photo by Sue Burzynski Bullard)

Editor’s note: High school journalism students at Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans wrote stories about sessions they attended at the ACES national conference April 12-13. Following is one of those stories..

By Caitlin Demarest
(Mount Carmel) Echoes Staff Writer, Class of 2013

New Orleans’ own Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street recently hosted the American Copy Editors Society. The convention held several individual seminars geared toward more specific types of editing. One of these was a seminar on freelance editing, an often misunderstood and under-appreciated field.

Hosts Mark Allen, Erin Brenner and Sherri Hildebrandt outlined the many advantages to a career in freelancing, as well as a fair share of disadvantages. For many writers facing a hectic schedule, freelance editing makes for a convenient career due to the lack of commute, rigid hours and formal attire. In fact, many freelancers are able to work directly from their own homes.

Unfortunately, freelance editing does not provide for much outside interaction with other editors and writers, which is often essential for feedback in the print journalism world. It also can be difficult to find work in this field because the journalists work on a project-to-project basis. The seminar hosts emphasized the importance of initiative. They said that editors who are truly passionate about freelancing find the job is rewarding.

Conference attendees also shared their personal insights and experiences with freelancing. Several attendees suggested that there are lucrative jobs in the medical or biochemistry fields. The wide variety of topics and fields that rely on freelancers means an immense amount of job opportunities — an appealing option in this economy.

Other attendees suggested freelancers use helpful software such as CS Review, Google Docs and InDesign. Some even supported the use of social networking as a means of obtaining outside communication and feedback.

Finally, the leaders of the seminar directly answered questions from the attendees. Overall, the seminar helped people network as well as further educate themselves about their field.

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