Freelance Editing Jobs: Tips from Expert Michael LaRocca

Last Updated on September 15, 2023 by Robert Porter

Michael LaRocca, a renowned author and freelance editor, shares insights on securing freelance editing jobs. With a background of editing 300+ novels, affiliations with three publishing houses, and eight of his own publications, Michael has carved a niche for himself in Hanoi, Vietnam. Despite the time zone difference from most English-speaking countries, he offers an innovative overnight editing service. Clients entrust their documents at their business day's close, and by their morning, Michael has delivered.

In our conversation, Michael delves deep into:

  • Strategies to land your first freelance editing client.
  • Leveraging websites to acquire editing gigs.
  • Earning a substantial income by editing remotely.
  • Recommendations for online platforms catering to freelance editing jobs.

Michael also penned "Make Money Editing From Home," a quintessential guide for budding editors. Below is a detailed transcript of our enlightening discussion.

Part 1: How to Find Freelance Editing Jobs

How did you become an editor?

I embarked on my professional journey at the age of 15, transitioning through numerous careers more frequently than most individuals switch jobs. My path eventually led me to an engineering firm where my passion for writing and editing found a perfect fit. For nearly a decade, I spearheaded the editing of the firm's technical documentation.

After dedicating a significant chunk of my life to work, I treated myself to a sabbatical in Hong Kong. This trip transformed my life - I not only fell deeply in love but also penned four novels within a year. To support my newfound authorial venture, I began securing freelance editing assignments.

Today, I hold esteemed roles as an editor for three prominent publishing houses, continue my personal writing endeavors, and successfully manage my own freelance editing venture.

Did that first job help you when you started to look for freelance jobs?

Absolutely. With my prior editing experience, I hold an edge over many other freelancers in the field.

What if you don’t have any editing experience?

I highly recommend starting with Elance. Though it's not as impactful as it was during its inception five years ago, I frequently rely on Elance for the best job opportunities. In my book, "Make Money Editing From Home," this platform is my top suggestion for newcomers. Elance allows you to register as a basic member for free, offering a glimpse into available jobs and the platform's environment.

Elance stands out because it remains a hub for those seeking ghostwriters for content-driven websites. While some of the jobs may not offer the best pay or satisfying content, Elance boasts a significant share of quality editing and writing opportunities in the market.

What about Craigslist?

My experiences with Craigslist have been less than favorable. In contrast, Elance, a leading online marketplace for freelance writing and editing roles, has consistently proven to be a more reliable platform for job hunting.

Do you get a lot of editing work through your website?

The entire process hinges on the internet for me. Without it, I couldn't achieve what I do.

How did you come up with your overnight editing service for businesses?

Operating 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time gives me a unique advantage. As my clients conclude their business day and send over their documents, I edit them throughout my day. By the time they're starting their next day, a polished document awaits in their inbox — it's as if a nocturnal editor, much like an elf, refines your content as you rest.

This seamless process is facilitated via email. Several of my clients and authors have been leveraging this efficient workflow with me for over four to five years.

Do most of the people just find you through search engines?

A significant portion of my editing assignments originate from search engine inquiries. However, during quieter periods, I proactively pen articles on editing for various directories, which effectively drives additional business my way.

Is it easy to set up a website or blog and get editing or writing  jobs through search engine traffic?

Attracting business via my website, crafting blog posts, and securing editing gigs through both referrals and search engine queries has been a journey spanning years. Yet, the investment in time and effort has proven worthwhile.

Which article directories do you use to get editing clients?

EZine articles was instrumental for me initially. In my early days, I heavily relied on article directory marketing. However, as time passed, the majority of my freelance editing assignments now flow in organically.

I got to ask about Michael Jordan?

In my younger days, relocating frequently was the norm for my family. Consistently, I found myself as the shortest student in any classroom I entered. Yet, in a surprising twist at one particular school, the title of the shortest student prior to my arrival was held by none other than Michael Jordan—the iconic basketball legend. What made it more distinct was that Michael was the sole Black student in that class.

Michael exuded an air of coolness and treated me with kindness—a gesture not many extended. For that brief year, our paths converged as classmates before we transitioned to different schools. A remarkable chapter of my life, and every word of it is true.

Is it feasible to make a living as a freelance editor?

For the past decade, that's precisely my journey. With accumulated experience, one can venture into roles with publishing houses. Presently, I remotely edit for three distinct publishing firms and also specialize in non-fiction.

Interestingly, "How to" books offer the most lucrative compensation. However, from an editing and writing perspective, I find greater joy in handling creative pieces.

Can you give us a teaser of your Make Money Editing From Home book?

The book I've penned is concise. Essentially, it delineates my journey to becoming an editor, emphasizing strategies that were effective for me. It aims to steer readers clear of pitfalls I encountered, offering a methodical roadmap on acquiring clients and effectively marketing editorial services, all from the comfort of home leveraging a computer.

Are you happy with your career choice as a writer and an editor?

Absolutely. My lifelong passion for reading has always driven me to believe that I was destined to become an editor.

How can people become better editors?

Always be in editing mode. Also, delve into Grammar Girl's resources; her insights are not only valuable but also easy to grasp.