Want to Become a Freelance Book Editor?

Build your expertise, meet other new editors, and learn how to make a living as a freelance book editor in our self-paced intro class. In just 5-10 hours, determine what type of book editor you were meant to be and exactly how to start your career. 

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Editorial Arts Academy – where wordsmiths learn to prosper from their passion!

Have you ever wondered whether you’d make a good book editor? Maybe you spot typos in the books you read, or you readily think of ways a novel could be strengthened. Maybe you’ve always wanted to turn your love of words and books into a profitable, rewarding career. Or maybe you just want to explore freelance work for the flexible lifestyle it affords.

We’re longtime freelance book editors, and we love what we do. We started Editorial Arts Academy so we could teach others how to prosper from their passion.

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Take Our Editor Profile Quiz

Not all editors are good spellers or grammar geeks. We’ve found four editor profiles and seven editorial roles for freelance book editing. To see where you fit in, take our 10-minute Editor Profile Quiz.

Sign Up for The Editor’s Query

The Editor’s Query is our free monthly dispatch about book editing. If you’re curious about the world of trade books (popular books for a general audience), this bulletin was made for you.

Enroll in a Course

Our self-paced intro course, Freelance Book Editing 101, is a great place to start. Advanced courses are released throughout the year. Sign up for course updates and you’ll be the first to know about them.

Sarah Yahm

I’ve always wanted to be a book editor but felt paralyzed about how to get started. Susannah and Nancy broke down the process of getting started as a freelance editor into manageable parts, so it feels doable to me now.

Sarah Yahm
East Montpelier, Vermont, US
Courtney Jenkins (2018)

Editing is my thing, and your seminar the other day has inspired me to believe that it is possible to make a living doing it! I’m so excited. Thank you for igniting the spark that I needed to pursue my dream job.

Courtney Jenkins (2018)
Patricia Bumpass

Copyediting Principles & Mechanics was an excellent starter course for those of us wanting to dip our toes or go full steam ahead into the editing world. There was enough information and practice to whet our appetites. By the end of the course I felt prepared to update my social media profiles, put up a page on my current website, and go out and find editing work. Susannah was open to all questions and explained the material thoroughly. I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to find out about the principles and mechanics of copyediting.

Patricia Bumpass
North Carolina, US
Angela Moody

I finally know what I want to be when I grow up! I’m so glad I decided to take this class. The in-depth study of a manuscript and learning to book map were so helpful, I intend to map on my own novels. Today is the day I hang out my shingle and call myself a Developmental Editor.

Angela Moody
Essex Junction, Vermont, US
Shawna Hampton

The benefit I received from taking the copyediting practicum far outweighed the cost. Having one-on-one and personalized feedback from a veteran of the profession was invaluable and affirmed that copyediting is not only something I can do, but do well, and that I made the right choice to go into this field. The assignments and exercises felt like work I would be doing in the “real world” and gave me a good peek into and practice for my future business222222222. ////8/* <— and my cat liked it too! 🙂 The Slack channel served as a tool for forming connections with my peers that will serve me well on this journey. Overall, it was a wonderful choice, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result!

Shawna Hampton
Toni Weeks

Pat is an amazingly skilled teacher, and I’m so grateful she shared her process for completing a developmental edit. I’d taken DE classes before but never really figured out a method for working with a client on a DE. I felt like Pat was letting us look over her shoulder as she worked—that was the perfect approach. She gave such positive feedback on my work, and the exercises were just so FUN! Halfway through the course I started thinking that I just MIGHT be able to do developmental edits! By the end of the class, I was convinced! 

Toni Weeks
Pismo Beach, California, US
Lisa Tynan

One of the best things I have done for myself and my editing career is taking courses run by Susannah Noel at Editorial Arts Academy. Susannah is a wonderful instructor who truly wants her students to succeed and goes out of her way to make sure that happens. I found the lectures, exercises, and materials so helpful, and I gained the confidence to step out on my own as a freelance editor. I highly recommend Susannah and EAA to anyone who wants to become more skilled and self-assured in their editing abilities.

Lisa Tynan
Marlborough, Massachusetts, US
Rhonda Henry

I really appreciate the amount of preparation and overall effort that went into Freelance Book Editing 101. I’ve taken lots of classes over the years for my work and it’s rare to find instructors so clear, committed, and focused on providing good information in an accessible format.

Rhonda Henry
Seattle, Washington, US
Nancy Disenhaus

Susannah and Nancy have been deeply helpful to me in every imaginable way as I begin my journey toward becoming a freelance developmental editor of YA novels: planting the seed of the idea that I might parlay my skills and love of reading into the role of book editor; supporting me at every step with information, resources, and priceless samples of their own editing expertise; and availability to answer any and every question that might arise. Their deep knowledge and passion and enthusiasm for sharing what they know has been a great gift.

Nancy Disenhaus
Kimberly Ivey-Hogue

Copyediting Principles & Mechanics was an excellent and enlightening look into the wide world of copyediting. NaNá and Susannah took the time to answer every question and gave us welcome feedback on assignments and really helpful advice on breaking into paid work. I looked forward to this class every week, as NaNá and Susannah were warm, friendly, very knowledgeable, and so generous with their experience in the field. Our class discussions were fun and informative and covered a tremendous amount of territory. Included were SO many useful resources on every aspect of copyediting. NaNá and Susannah, thank you both so much for all your time, kindness, and sharing your expertise.

Kimberly Ivey-Hogue
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Joy Worland

Susannah and Nancy are full of knowledge and positive energy and are super fun to work with! They provided concrete steps and tools that can help me turn my hobby of editing friends’ emails and Facebook posts into a freelance career.

Joy Worland
Montpelier, Vermont, US
Joshua Hayes-High

As a follow-up to their introductory course, I cannot recommend the Copyediting Practicum highly enough. This program is immensely helpful, both to those already trying to make it in the editing field, and those just starting out. This program really gives one the skills and the confidence to go out and do it.

Joshua Hayes-High
Pam Bustin

Editorial Arts Academy’s Developmental Editing for Fiction class taught by Pat Dobie was exactly what I needed to make the leap to hanging out my shingle as an editor. I am a writer and had done some editing but I lacked confidence in my skills. I wanted a clear system of working through a novel and providing useful feedback and support to the author. Pat’s generous, honest teaching gave me the tools and confidence I needed to get Soul Stories off the ground. The combination of the lectures and hands-on practical exercises was bang on for me. I learned so much and I know I will return to my class notes for years to come. Kudos to Pat and the EAA for creating a fabulous course!

Pam Bustin
Laura Fortier

Editorial Arts Academy’s copyediting practicum was informative and fun. I learned a lot from editing real manuscripts. There is no better way to discover the technical and stylistic issues you are likely to encounter during an edit than in an unedited manuscript. Susannah reviewed my work down to the level of commas and helped me fine-tune my queries to stay in their copyediting and line editing lanes. I finished the class with a stronger grasp on the overall process of book editing and practical experience from working on several types of trade books.

Laura Fortier
Los Angeles, California, US
Michael Bleau

Thanks, Susannah for an informative and enjoyable course. And for recruiting other fantastic folks as fellow students. You are very knowledgeable, professional, and generous of time and spirit. I definitely would take a course again (a third time and more) with you in the future. When I begin editing books, it will largely be because of your fine support.

Michael Bleau
Essex, Vermont, US
Jennifer Taylor

It would not be too much to say that Editorial Arts Academy changed my life. When I first embarked on this journey, I had virtually no editorial experience. I was looking for a new career and couldn’t imagine that I could achieve financial stability while working from home and doing something I truly enjoy—reading! Now I have proofread two novels and copyedited another. I cannot recommend this class enough to anyone ready to start on their editing adventure.

Jennifer Taylor
East Calais, Vermont, US
Tayler Bailey McLendon

I’m currently halfway through the Freelance Book Editing 101 course and cannot thank you enough for such an incredible resource.

Tayler Bailey McLendon
Houston, Texas, US
Christina Wielgolawski

Following Freelance Book Editing 101’s tantalising taster of book editing, Susannah served a fabulous first course with Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics. Susannah imparted her extensive knowledge of copyediting with enthusiasm and was supportive of our efforts. The course flowed smoothly with an effective mix of activities plus excellent resources and recommendations. I had fun learning a lot and the course whetted my appetite for more copyediting. 

Christina Wielgolawski
Wellington, New Zealand

Articles about Freelance Book Editing

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Copyediting for Independent Authors: Shades of Line Editing

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Why I Formed an LLC for My Freelance Copyediting Business (aka, Adventures in Small Business Adulting)

I just took the exciting step of becoming an LLC, or Limited Liability Company. I’m now in the Vermont Secretary of State’s registry under Sheryl Rapée-Adams Copyediting,...

3 Reasons Why Freelance Book Editors Need PerfectIt

If you're a freelance book editor, or you're training to be one, you need PerfectIt! In this post, Hilary Cadman shares why PerfectIt is such a powerful tool for editors....

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5 Steps Freelance Book Editors Can Take to Combat Racism

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Freelance Book Editing for the Big Five Publishers

Traditional trade publishing is, once again, changing. On May 10, 2021, HarperCollins absorbed Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the Boston-based publisher was drawn into the...

Tour of Copyediting Fiction and Nonfiction Books: Principles & Mechanics

In the early 1990s, my lifelong fascination with language rules was transformed into a rewarding side hustle copyediting academic journals. Over time, I took on projects...
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The Freelance Editing Life: 5 Key Takeaways from the 2019 Editorial Freelancers Association Conference

One of the fastest ways to learn about the field of freelance editing is to attend a regional or national conference. This summer, Susannah and I did just that. Gathering...

5 Surprising Facts about Freelance Book Editing

Do you love to read and wish you could spend your life with books? Do you find errors in books and wonder how they got there? Do you cringe at misplaced apostrophes and rail...
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Networking in Real Life for Freelance Book Editors

A few years ago, at a gathering for college instructors to kick off the new semester, I found myself pouring a bubbly drink alongside a colleague I hadn’t seen in a few...
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Born to Copyedit? Why Copyediting Is a Natural Career for Wordsmiths

“Can anyone find the mistake?” Mrs. Bressette, tall and slim with close-cropped black hair, pointed to a picture of a construction site with a yellow sign in front that...
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The Seven Editorial Roles for Freelance Book Editors

When I tell people I teach freelance book editing, I often get this response: “I love books, but I couldn’t be a book editor—I don’t know grammar well enough.” Or: “I...
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An Editor of a Certain Age: Freelance Copyediting Careers for Older Women

I was the eleven-year-old miscreant with a purple Sharpie correcting restaurant menus, school textbooks, and the science fiction novels on my parents’ bookshelves. In the...

Can Social Media Help Book Editors Get Work? Part 1

Most book editors fall into two categories. They’re either on social media but think they can do more to help their business, or they’re overwhelmed by it and don’t really...

Introducing Developmental and Line Editing for Popular Nonfiction Books

Editor's Note: This course is not currently open for registration, but we will likely reopen it in the later months of 2021. When I tell colleagues about my specialty of...

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