• Amanda Clemmer

Improve Your Writing with Editing Side-Gigs


Editing is one of the most popular side gigs for authors. That’s not just because of the paycheck. Editing others’ books advances your writing career in multiple ways and can be a good stepping stone to the places you want to get to as an author yourself.


The Money


Writing can be lucrative, if done right. But when you’re starting out, the costs of production and quality scare many people away from self-publishing. If your editing skills are especially good, you can consider lending yourself out to peers as an editor.


Certifications like degrees or other jobs that have included editing can help, but just a few small projects should go a long way in earning money for your own books.


The Experience


Editing is one of the best ways to learn how to write. When you spend a lot of time reading books written by other people and finding ways to improve them, some of your critiques will spill over to your own writing.


You’ll also become familiar with common errors people make and quick ways to bring a scene to life. You can apply everything you notice to your own revisions and get a better idea of what works in a scene or story and what doesn’t.


Additional Editing


Even if you don’t have the qualifications or skills to be a professional editor, a willingness to edit can help you find people who are willing to critique your books in exchange. This tactic is more popular in some writing circles than others, but if you ask around, you’ll likely find someone else who will happily give you feedback in exchange for critiques.

If you’re too introverted to ask around or simply don’t know many writers, Scribophile can be a good way to get started and make those connections while getting a few quick edits taken care of.


Your Reading Horizons


A wise man once said that in order to write well, you need to read well. However, many writers don’t actually read much—or read in a wide variety. Reading can even become a chore when you’re obsessed with your own writing and other works begin to pale by comparison.


If you have a hard time keeping up with your reading, an editing gig could keep you up to speed with what others are writing. This is even better if you can hook up with other people who write in your genre and with a similar style.

The Community


When it comes to self-publishing, you’ll often find that the people who help you out the most are other self-published authors. Editing on the side can be a good way to pay it forward to those who are newer to the experience and stepping into the arena for the first time.

There are other ways to help out: reviews and interviews, coaching, cover design, etc. But editing is one thing that is consistently in demand and comparatively easy to provide.


As always, please share your thoughts and editing expertise in the comment section below. You can also click on the little blue button to join my Facebook group, a hub for active self-publishing fiction writers where the discussion never stops.