Looking back: the first year!

I did it! I survived my first year as a freelancer! I’ve been editing and proofreading for longer than that, but always as an employee, so the venture into self-employment was new to me. And I have to say that it … didn’t go as I expected. Out of all the challenges I expected to face, a global pandemic was not on my radar. I have been lucky to work from home and – so far – stay healthy. And in honour of the occasion, I’ve treated myself to some number-crunching …

In the past year, I have edited and proofread 2,794,378 words. I’ve undertaken 65 jobs across 24 different clients, 14 of whom have come back for repeat work. My clients were …

bar graph showing individuals (19), agencies (3), publishers (1) and businesses (1)

… 19 individuals, 3 agencies, 1 publisher and 1 business.

My jobs were …

Pie chart showing copyediting (52%), proofreading (43%) and dev editing (5%)

… 52% copyediting, 43% proofreading and 5% developmental editing …

… but my income came from …

Pie chart showing copyediting (72%), proofreading (23%), dev editing (4%) and critique (1%)

… 72% copyediting, 23% proofreading, 4% dev editing and 1% critique.

And out of the time I spent working …

Pie chart showing editing and proofreading (73%) and other (27%)

… 73% was spent actually editing and proofreading. The other 27% was spent on non-billable work, which included looking for work, marketing and promotion, networking with authors and fellow editors, research and fact-checking, updating my website, accounting, IT-related admin, formatting, training and other professional development, correspondence with clients and potential clients, and producing quotes and samples. I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten!

So what has this year brought for me? I managed to keep one of my resolutions, which was to undertake some developmental editing training and secure some clients in that area. I took Sophie Playle’s/Liminal Pages’ celebrated course in Developmental Editing: Fiction Theory, which was incredibly useful and a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to expanding this area of my practice in 2021, especially in the areas of fantasy, urban fantasy, sci fi, horror, and romance.

Things also took an unexpected turn when a client asked me whether I’d consider doing an illustration and cover design for their book. I originally trained in art and have continued to dabble as a hobby over the last twenty years – as you can see here – but illustration is a different skill! I was open about my lack of experience, but they decided to hire me anyway, and I had great fun working on an illustrated family tree to add to their book. I’m now working on the cover, which I’m incredibly excited about and very grateful to my lovely client for giving me this opportunity!

I’m ending this year feeling both very lucky and very sad on behalf of those who have been hit harder by Covid-19 than I have. I’m grateful to be able to continue working and providing for myself and my family. Considering how many people aren’t in such a fortunate position this year through no fault of their own, though, it doesn’t feel right to be too celebratory. I hope 2021 brings better luck to everyone.

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