We often get asked for advice on getting started as a freelance
proofreader or copy-editor. We always refer people to the experts -
the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (see the CIEP website).
While publishers often outsource proofreading and copy-editing,
they generally do so to freelancers who already have some formal
training or experience gained from having worked in-house.
The standards expected of freelance proofreaders and
copy-editors are very high and many working in this area are
members of CIEP. Try CIEP, the PTC or Publishing Scotland for reputable
training courses where you can learn the skills, and gain an
understanding of where proofreading and copy-editing sit in the
publishing process. In Scotland, we run an annual training
programme that includes editorial courses that can get you started
on your journey. All of our courses are listed on the training
Do be aware that it is not a highly paid job and publishers vary
greatly in their levels of pay for proofreaders, from an hourly
rate to a one-off fee. There are no standard fees.
Some publishers will give potential proofreaders an advance
exercise to establish their skills.