The following material is excerpted from our upcoming Freelance Accelerator workshop, to be held January 19, 2017, in New York City.
Tips for Taking an Editing Test
Taking editorial tests is a great way to get into a publisher’s freelancer pool. Some have these tests posted online for you to download and take at your convenience. Others will send you a test once you contact a managing editor. We have already discussed why you might want to take or skip these tests; here we offer tips on how to do your best work on editorial tests:
- Follow any instructions to the letter. Do not deviate. If you do not follow directions on an editorial test, they will throw it in the trash and not contact you.
- If there is a deadline for submitting the test, make sure you meet it. The client will be testing your time management skills as well as your editing chops.
- Edit with a somewhat heavy hand. As someone once said, “We’d rather have to rein you in from making too many edits than try to get you to make more if you don’t edit enough.”
- Don’t be afraid to insert queries in an editorial test, as if you were really communicating with an author, but keep it light. Too many queries may indicate a lack of confidence in your own editing, and on a real manuscript, too many queries could result in a delay in publishing.
- If you haven’t heard a response a week or two after submitting your test, politely follow up to ask whether the test has been reviewed and what the results were.
- If you get a response that says “Congratulations!” then you are probably in the client’s database of available freelancers. This does not necessarily mean you will be sent work right away. If not, politely ask if you can do any work for them.
- If they tell you that you failed the test, politely ask if they have any specific suggestions for improvement. If they do, learn from them. If they don’t, move on.
Individual authors and companies that aren’t primarily publishers are unlikely to have editing tests. Instead you can prove your worth by doing a sample edit for free or for a reduced fee. To learn how to approach sample edits, join Erin Brenner and Laura Poole on January 19 for the full-day workshop. Register now to claim your spot!