Business Development

Questions about how to become an editor or how to grow your editorial business?

Editors must have at least a year of experience to join the Northwest Editors Guild, but we’re happy to provide these tips for those interested in entering our profession.


The Northwest is home to a number of excellent editing certificate programs. A variety of online classes are available as well.


Study on your own. Master the style manual of your choice, or explore some of the many excellent references on editing, grammar, and related topics. Don’t forget our collection of meeting notes, which can teach you about editing everything from children’s books to technical documents.


Even if you aspire to be an independent editor, consider taking a staff position at first—and don’t rule out positions where proofreading or editing is among the duties but not the primary task. Staff positions of any kind can enable you to continue your learning and help you develop contacts for your future career. The Communicators & Marketers JobLine, which lists public relations, communications, marketing, advertising, and graphic design jobs, is a helpful resource.


Browse our member directory for local editors who do the kind of work you’re interested in, and offer to take them to lunch or coffee. Or come to one of our events and meet many editors at once.

Be Creative

What are your niches—topics or industries that you know more about than most people? What communities are you a part of that many others are not? Think about how you can market your services to these audiences. If you spend lots of time on a campus, for instance, you might want to post notices there offering your editing services.


Be aware of the broad range of potential employers. Here’s a sampling:

book publishers • book packagers • newspapers • magazines • design firms • law firms • advertising agencies and public relations firms • engineering firms • consulting firms • computer and multimedia firms • corporate marketing and communications departments • authors • academics • students • nonprofit organizations • management consultants • market researchers • museums • universities • government agencies • and more

You can do research within each industry too. For example, if you’re interested in books, you can browse local bookstores to find out who publishes the kind of books you’d like to edit.

Try Tech

Technical communication is a particularly robust field in the Northwest. You can learn more from the local chapter of the Society for Technical Communication.