How to Pick a Niche as a Freelance Proofreader or Editor

Picking a proofreading or editing niche can help you find clients and thrive as a freelancer. But what exactly is a niche, and how can you narrow down the subjects you want to specialize in?

In this blog post, we’ll answer these questions and help you find the right niche for you.

What’s a Niche in Proofreading and Editing?

When we talk about niches in the context of proofreading and editing, we refer to an area of specialization or a certain aspect of editing that you focus on. This could involve:

You might even choose to specialize in a combination of all three points, for example, as a developmental editor who focuses on fantasy novel manuscripts.

Why Pick a Niche?

Even though there can be some drawbacks to focusing on a specific niche, the pros usually outweigh the cons.

Specializing as a proofreader or editor can:

  • Increase your chances of finding work. 
  • Help clients find and refer you.
  • Establish you as an expert in a subject.
  • Let you avoid subjects you don’t enjoy. 

How to Choose a Niche

1. Do Your Research

Before you choose a niche, make sure you understand what editing a genre or format will involve.

You should look into:

  • Whether any training or qualifications are required, as is sometimes the case with academic and medical editing.
  • Which services are more in demand. Some niches are more specific than others, which means that while the potential client base may be smaller, there are likely fewer editors who specialize in this niche.
  • What editors who specialize in certain niches offer. If you’re considering editing romance novels, for example, research other romance editors to see the services they provide and what experience they have behind them.

Knowing what to expect from a particular niche will help you decide if it’s the right fit for you.

2. Consider Your Skills and Experience

A big part of choosing a niche is identifying the skills and experience you already have.

Think about any work experience, technical skills, or qualifications that you have that would help you specialize in a particular area.

For example, a degree in biology could mean you’d be well-suited to proofreading scientific journals. Similarly, having experience as a travel agent would put you in a good position to edit travel writing.

And if you already have experience as an editor, think about which projects you found easiest or received the best feedback on. This can help you identify your editing strengths, which in turn will help you pin down your niche.

3. Keep Your Hobbies in Mind

Choosing a niche isn’t just about the type of editing you can do; you should also consider the type of work you’d enjoy doing, and part of this involves thinking about your hobbies and interests outside of work.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that having a passion for reading can help you choose a niche. If you’re an avid science-fiction fan, for example, your familiarity with the genre and its conventions puts you in a good position to specialize as a sci-fi editor.

It’s not just reading- and writing-related interests that can help you specialize, though. For each of your personal interests, be they bird watching or skateboarding, ask yourself:

  • Has it given me specialist knowledge?
  • Is it a subject people write about?
  • Is it something I’d enjoy reading about and editing regularly?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” you may have found your new niche!

Finally, if you can’t decide on a single niche, try picking two or three that you’d like to focus on. So, you can get most of the benefits of specialization without limiting your potential client base too much.

Becoming A Proofreader or Editor

With modules in academic, creative, and business writing, our courses can help you choose which area of editing you want to specialize in as a new freelancer.

For comprehensive training in all aspects of proofreading and editing, get our Becoming A Proofreader and Becoming An Editor course bundle. You’ll even save 15% off the price of both courses!

And if you’re not sure if proofreading or editing are right for you, you can give each course a try by signing up for a free trial.

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