General Question

shadling21's avatar

How do I go about becoming a proofreader?

Asked by shadling21 (6469 points ) January 31st, 2010

I’m looking for a flexible part-time job. I have a knack for (and quite enjoy) finding and correcting grammatical errors. How do I improve my skills? Then, how do I prove to have those skills? Lastly, where do I find such a job?

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12 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

You probably need a degree with a major in English and/or have been published at professional rates. Then apply to magazines, newspapers, and publishing houses. From proofreader, you’ll work your way up to staff writer, and then various editors.

shadling21's avatar

I’m pursuing a BA with an English minor. I was hoping that proofreading didn’t require a degree. I’m not really interested in making this into a career. Are there jobs that will accept students?

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

www.constant-content.com

www.elance.com

www.freelance.com

etc, etc, etc.

There are dozens of sites that deal with freelance jobs involving everything from web design, tax preparation, to ghostwriting. You do not need any certification to start. Just sign up, read the FAQs, and start working.

I supplement my income this way.
Take Care,
-Dan

HungryGuy's avatar

Most jobs have intern programs for students. If you’re working toward your degree, you’ll probably qualify, but I can’t really speak for specific markets.

janbb's avatar

You can do freelance copy editing from home. Checking out Dan’s sites is a good place to start.

shadling21's avatar

Cool! Thanks, guys!

Jeruba's avatar

I wrote to book publishers and asked them if I could take their proofreading tests. A few sent them, and I returned them. They didn’t ask me if I had a degree or whether I’d published anything, although they did ask for a resume. A couple of them hired me, and I started taking freelance assignments.

After a while I asked if I could move up to copyeditor. I learned much of my technique in copyediting from looking at the work of the editors who had done the markups from which I was proofreading.

Things work a little differently now with electronic editing from the way they did when I marked galleys with a pencil, but the core competencies are the same.

Holden_Caulfield's avatar

I agree that an English degree is helpful… but if you do not have that, then take a book already published and find ALL the grammar errors and add some rephrasing of paragraphs and/or sentences, and send it into a publisher!! You never know what may happen…

Trillian's avatar

@Holden_Caulfield I’ve been tempted to do that before. Maybe I’ll try that too! Thanks.

Jeruba's avatar

(Agreed, and you’ll also find them in the dictionary under “proofread.”)

@Holden_Caulfield, I did exactly that once (years ago) with a paperback novel published by a major New York house. There was a typo on nearly every page, and on some pages more than one. I marked it all in red ink using standard proofreader’s marks and sent it along with my card and a note saying that I was available. I never even got an acknowledgment. I don’t think they were pleased.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’ve done some peer-reviewing for engineering journals, but that’s a different area

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