Why Do Freelance Writers Need Editors

If you hang around freelancers, you will probably notice that the hottest topic among them is editors and their relationships with them.

Editors usually check out material written by freelance writers. He can be self-employed or work for various clients, either onsite or offsite at his home. They work for magazines and newspapers, as well as for websites and publishers of books and novels. They are also capable of editing marketing material and advertising copy along with editing of other organizations, such as educational institutions and corporate departments requiring creative writing. He reviews the copy for correct grammar, spelling, and word usage apart from a lot else. He needs to control verbosity in writing and improve the flow of the language.

Many freelance writers are usually found to gripe about editors, but the fact is that editors can drastically improve the freelance writer’s articles. Many writers hate editors and do not like dealing with them. However, it is important to have a healthy relationship between the two, as there are many reasons why a freelance writer needs an editor. Due to this, many freelance writers hire a good editor for their projects. Some writers just swap their writings with other writers in the same boat and read each other’s writings trying to edit it them the best way possible. This can help you catch some embarrassing typos before the article goes online. Many editors actually worked as writers earlier in their career and many editors continue to write as well. I agree that many editors send tersely worded feedback and might be brusque to the point of being rude. However, one needs to understand that they are also under pressure and have deadlines to meet. A few words are all the time they have, so freelancers need not take this personally.

Doing a lot More

Editors are surely not the devils they are made out to be. They don’t just suggest you do a rewrite for the heck of it. They do a lot more than just read your copy and take the red pen or use the track changes on the freelance writer’s copy. When they do so, it is probably justified, as they are able to make corrections in the tone of the writing. Sometimes, the tone may not fit in with the type of publication. At other times, the publication could have asked you for a 750-word article and you probably turned in one that had more than 1000 words in it. Again, you could have written the article in second person, when all they wanted was a third person type of article and so on. They can check out names and facts as well as links and sources.

Providing the Challenge

Many freelance writers are quite confident about their skills. They might be very good communicators and writers, but they may not be good editors. An editor provides the necessary challenge to a freelance writer. They also provide an opportunity for teamwork and can protect the freelancer from making big blunders. They provide a great challenge to writers and also challenge themselves. This is because they are opinionated and determined to stick to details and what they believe is best for the manuscript, the reader, and the publishing house.

Editors can Help Create ‘wiggle room’ for Writers

Sometimes, the due dates may be well nigh impossible to finish and submit an article or a write up. In this case, editors can be really useful. If you are working for a monthly or a weekly and you just need a couple of days or even weeks extra to finish the work, you can just go and ask the editor and he might do what is needed. They are helpful with taking care of such unexpected situations. Suppose you suddenly need to take a vacation or a holiday or attend to some emergency, you can ask them to accommodate and manage the submission date for you.

Breaking Policies

Many editors and publication companies have to work within strict regulations and rules. They may only accept work done by their regular freelance pool. However, if you are a new writer and have a really hot story or a scoop, you can approach the editor directly and ask him/her and he will surely take the chance on you.

Assisting in Several Ways

They can assist writers in several other ways rather than just reading their copy and asking them to rewrite it. They plan out assignments and help the freelance writer to sign-up contracts and process the payments. They also attend staff meetings and manage the accounts on different social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Ensuring the Correct Style of Writing

Many publishers and ad agencies, as well as other organizations requiring copy, need the writer to adhere to a particular editorial style. The common writing styles are The Associated Press Stylebook or the Chicago Manual of Style, among other styles. There are also many organizations or clients who follow their own styling guides. The editor makes sure that the correct style has been used by the freelance writer. They are well versed in different standard styles and are aware of clients’ specific styles.

Finding and Promoting Writers

An editor can help freelance writers in another area as well. He actually helps promote writers whom he thinks can be an asset to the publisher. It can be quite difficult to get accepted in an organization, as there is a lot of competition, with an in-house pool of writers present in many organizations. The freelance writer usually submits his writing or manuscript to the editor and the editor can help him bring the story to match the requirements of the publisher’s vision with respect to the particular product or service.

Helping Develop an Idea

In many cases, an editor can help the freelance writer in developing a book or story from a basic idea or outline. He can also offer an initial draft to the writer and he makes sure that the final written copy will meet the needs of the publisher as well as the readers. Editors are ready to work with freelance writers over any number of drafts and they guide the writer regarding topics that are to be included in the book or story and the ones that are to be left out or omitted.

He can also help the freelance writer with the research and assist in the planning of the manuscript. He is also very much concerned with the shape and structure of the story, along with the words and language used.

Verification of Statistics

Editors can perform the all important assistance of verifying facts, headings, statistics and other data, not to mention footnote entries and graphs. They will also check out the story for logic and consistency of writing, keeping in mind the target audience or readers.

Comparing Editions

Freelancers also need editors for comparing one version of a story or a manuscript with previous versions. This needs to be done in order to eliminate errors that have occurred in the previous edition and incorporate necessary changes and suggestions. Such work cannot be done by proofreaders in the traditional sense of the word, whereas an editor can also do the proofreading work for the freelance writer. He can help make major changes to the manuscript as well.

Improving the Strength of the Manuscript

Every freelance writer needs an editor to go through his manuscript in order to improve the story element as well as the plot. The editor helps in providing the best setting, word choice, and construction and makes the manuscript stronger and more presentable. They see to it that proper conclusions are provided and that they stem logically from what the writer has presented before. They help in pointing out weaknesses and also suggest points for strengthening some areas. They are able to examine and view the big picture as well as minute details, such as punctuation and spelling.

Matching the Intended Audience

A freelance writer can gain great assistance from editors, who make sure that the word choices are appropriate and suitable for the targeted and intended audience. They can also suggest places or sections where an anecdote or interesting story is to be inserted. They can suggest threads to connect chapters and sections seamlessly, in order to provide cohesion to the manuscript. All inconsistencies and dangling material will be edited. The freelance writer can get better word choices that fit the genre of the writing as well as the character.

Providing a Balance

An editor provides the balance between the freelancer’s ideas and imagination and creativity with the standards of the publishing house and the expectations of the readers. He finds the best way of satisfying all involved: the publisher, the reader, and the freelance writer. They help make a fascinating and appealing script. They are actually enhancers, making what is good into something better, and what is great into something outstanding.

Significance of Editing

The editor is much more than just a glorified spell checker. He works hand in hand with the writer and brings out the best content possible. He is probably the last person seeing the document before it is published. The heavy responsibility or burden of the manuscript, therefore, falls on his shoulders. He cannot afford to make a single mistake, while the freelance writer can afford to make a few here and there.

Types of Editors

There are several types of freelance editors. They can be contracted by different ways. For instance, an individual freelance writer can book a freelance editor to edit his writing. This is the case among writers who publish a novel or a book. However, a freelance editor can also be employed or hired by companies and publishing houses which are in need of editors to oversee the material submitted by their pool of freelance writers. There are also many magazines and online websites that hire such editors for their advertisement campaigns and publications. Many businesses, such as law firms, public relation agencies, and other financial and commercial services hire them.

Editors who work within a particular publishing house need to know more about the target market and go through the writing of the freelance writer in order to assess what fits and what does not. He also helps in coordination of the contract of the writer and remains the first contact of the writer. The writer cannot perform such duties, as an in-depth knowledge of the publishing house is required for this purpose. In short, the editor performs the job of a traffic cop.

A Crucial Role

Editors play a crucial and significant role in the writing process, as they can ensure a quality product for the publishing company. They are very valuable, as they can provide a legal line of protection for the published work. They can protect the companies from lawsuits that might arise due to violations of copyright and other mistakes made by the freelance writer with respect to factual errors. If there are freelance writers, there is surely the need for editors to clean up their work and make sure that it is worth reading as well as suitable for the target group.

Traditionally, it was important for such editors to have a journalism degree to their credit. However, many companies are not too stringent in applying such regulations and requirements to their editors and prefer to work with editors who have good experience in the field. Freelance editors should, however, make sure that they are up to date with all the latest writing styles such as the MLA, the Associated Press, the Chicago style, and the New York Times, to mention a few. They should also have an eye for detail and be able to follow deadlines.

Editors are like traffic cops. A manuscript is often made up of contributions from different people, such as the freelance writer, graphic designers, proofreaders and translators. The editor performs the role of a coordinator on behalf of the publisher. It requires talent on a higher level than just a freelance writer. The editor is able to control and make necessary changes to the page flow, the organization, and the format, improve the characters in case of books, fix any issues to do with writing style, add and remove material and so on. The editor has to do a lot of fact checking and verify whether all the facts presented by the writer are true. Freelance writers often need the service of an editor for such work and need to have an effective proactive relationship with the editor.

Relations between Freelance Writers and Editors

Editors are also people and need to be treated with respect. The relation between editors and writers can work out quite smoothly, if the freelance writer keeps in mind the fact that the editor is not an ogre looking to pick on the writing. He is only looking for the best story for his readers, as this is his responsibility. Freelancers need to be honest in their dealings with editors and ask all the proper questions while being given an assignment. They also need to be courteous and polite to the editor and respect their contribution to the work. The editor is surely not a frustrated writer who is seeking revenge on a freelance writer. All they want to do is to publish a good publication. He is straddling between the needs of the readers, the publishing company, and the writer. It is important that freelance writers and editors meet often in conferences and seminars in order to develop a good understanding between them. Meeting on such occasions is also useful for freelancers, as the editor can remember the faces better if they meet them personally. A relationship through paper or through email may not be so effective.


In short, an editor can polish and refine the freelancer’s work and direct the focus of the story along the desired course. He edits and cuts out whatever does not fit the requirement and whatever is unessential to the main purpose of the story. He sees to it that interesting, accurate, and informative stories are produced in accordance with the client’s requirements without any factual or writing errors.

Editors can bring the polish and skill to the script, which the writer may not possess. Even if the writer possesses such skills, he may sometimes not know how to use them in his own work. An editor can make the freelancer’s work clearer, with better flow in every way to meet the needs of the targeted audience. He helps in serving the project as well as the freelance writer and the reader. Freelance writers can excel in their role of writing if they have a good editor to check through their manuscript.


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One Comment

  1. Not just freelance writers – ALL writers need editors. Also, about three other people to look at what they wrote and check for grammatical and spelling errors.
    I wonder if schools still teach proper sentence diagramming anymore?

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