How to increase editing and proofreading income
Taking annual action to increase income from freelance editorial work is simply good business practice.
Earnings need to keep up with cost-of-living increases else our editorial businesses could fail. Even if they don't fail, the decline in profitability could have a significant impact on our or lifestyle and well-being.
In this article, I consider a several approaches to increasing editing income and declining lower-paid work. These respect editors' differing circumstances, client bases and business goals.
What we earn is determined by the following:
Avoiding knee-jerk thinking
If a colleague states that they’ve decided to no longer edit for ‘low’ rates, by all means congratulate them on their business decision. Don’t assume, though, that their decision is the same one you should be making. Before you impulsively follow their lead, ask yourself the following questions:
Case study – the price-accepter
When you’re a price-accepter, the process for managing rates is usually one of the following:
In 2017, my marketing strategy has paid off. I’m highly visible. I’ve got the experience, the testimonials and the portfolio to make me interesting to enough non-publisher clients that I can decline a price and walk away. I’ve moved from negotiation and phasing-out to responding with a flat refusal.
Case study – the price-setter
When you’re a price-setter, the process for managing rates is usually one of the following:
In 2017, things have changed. I’m a flat-increaser. If the client doesn’t like the fee on offer, no problem. I thank them for their interest and wish them luck. Returning to the knee-jerk-avoidance issues:
Some additional thoughts
Managing rates is a journey
Increasing earnings isn’t about knee-jerk reactions. Rather, it’s a journey. Depending on your circumstances, you might handle things one way now, and another way further down the road.
Whether you buckle, negotiate, phase in/out, or make flat-out decisions will be based on your circumstances. There’s no one, true way to do it and there’s no shame in any of those choices as long as they’re done in relation to an analysis of your business needs and goals.
Louise Harnby is a professional fiction proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
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I'm an Advanced Professional Member of the UK's national editorial society.
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Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). I'm a signatory to its code of practice as a professional editor.
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