Please welcome freelance editor and writer Chelsea Baxter to Writers in Business.
Thanks for having me Brigitte.
Give us a little background as to how and why you started your own editing and writing business.
I used to be an in-house Editor for Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. I started at the bottom and worked my way up after learning a plethora of valuable information about editing and the publishing process. After seeing several coworkers take the plunge into freelancing, I started brainstorming how I'd manage a career outside the confines of a corporate office. I soon realized that most, if not all of my work could be done from home. Plus, I learned that autonomy in my workplace is very important to me. There were priorities I had a home, and a home-based business was the perfect solution.
I didn’t get started immediately. I freelanced while working other jobs for two years before I started my business. After about a year of smaller editing projects, I left my full-time job and took a part-time position so I could focus more energy on building the business. After a year at the part-time job I found several other clients and had enough work to stay at home full time.
What type of services do you offer and how can writers and publishers take advantage of them?
I work with authors and publishers to create the best product possible. My services include copy editing, developmental editing, proofreading, ghost writing, rewriting and much more. I've also done several writing assignments. I edit manuscripts, Web sites, newsletters, magazines and educational products. When I work with publishing companies I'm often on board for the entire process, so I also offer services such as cast offs, book maps, photo research and copy fitting.
I'm still in the process of creating a Web site, so if you'd like to inquire about my services you can e-mail me.
Where can we find samples of your work?
If you’d like to see a sample of a recent editing project, take a look at Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers by none other than Brigitte Thompson. You can check out a sample of my writing in Suspense Magazine. I write a column titled Tales of a Fiction Junkie that discusses fiction from a fan's point of view. I'm always willing to share more samples upon request.
The life of an in-house editor can vary greatly from a freelance editor. What are some of the differences and what tools have helped you combat any disadvantages?
Creating a routine took some time. I discovered that when I didn't set days and times to work, I would procrastinate. So I'd say an important tool is a schedule.
Another “tool” that I highly recommend is colleagues. Since you don't have a staff of editors to collaborate with, I suggest joining editing, publishing and writing groups. I found a couple on Yahoo and I remain in contact with editors from my previous jobs as well. These professionals keep me in touch with the industry and are a great source for feedback.
The other item I have is an entire bookshelf filled with style and grammar guides, dictionaries, thesauruses and any other items I've found helpful over the years.
Lastly, have a list of trusted job sources. I've found that if I apply for jobs before my current project is over it usually works out so that when one project is ending, another one begins. This limits the amount of downtime between projects (and paychecks).
What advice can you suggest to other editors who are looking to start freelancing and possibly their own business?
If possible, get your experience working as an in-house editor first. Seeing the entire publishing process from start to finish was priceless. Plus, some of those colleagues may continue to offer support and professional guidance later in your career. I suggest starting on small freelance projects while you still have the stability of a full-time job. I know it’s not an option for everyone, but it’s a great way to build your clients and resume. It can be exhausting to work all day and then come home to do more of the same, but knowing that it’s for your own business is great motivation to persevere.
I have had the pleasure of working with Chelsea and highly recommend her services. As an editor, Chelsea has a wonderful way of encouraging writers to bring out their best. As a writer, her work is amazing! Chelsea is dedicated to each project she accepts. She is efficient and produces consistently exemplary work. Please contact Chelsea through e-mail with any questions or to find out how she can help with your current or future project.
Chelsea, thank you for sharing your editorial and writing services with us.