Information for Applicants
We are currently seeking applications from editors of all kinds. We encourage writers, project managers, and indexers to check back periodically to see if we have opened those categories.
What is Editcetera?
Editcetera is a nonprofit, self-governing association of freelance professionals who work in print and online publishing and communications. It was founded in 1971 to help freelancers find projects, share resources, and improve their skills.
Editcetera currently has about 100 vetted members with experience in a broad range of contexts and industries. Members are specifically vetted in each type of service that they provide to Editcetera clients. We offer the following services:
Traditional book publishing
- Substantive editing
- Developmental editing
- Production coordination / project management
Other publishing sectors
- Production coordination / project management
What are the benefits of being a member?
Editcetera offers you specific job leads that match your interests and experience. We contact you personally with appropriate projects.
Editcetera provides clients with your résumé and other required background material. We can also help to set up contracts and agreements with new clients.
Editcetera bills your clients, collects payments, and follows up with clients who don’t pay on time. We deposit payments for your Editcetera-affiliated work directly into your bank account.
At the end of the year, we send you a 1099 for all your Editcetera-affiliated work.
Editcetera maintains a comprehensive database of information about clients and the work you have done for those clients. If you need to know what you charged a client three years ago, we will have that information.
Members rarely need to spend time taking additional tests to prove themselves to new clients. Our clients know that they can trust Editcetera.
Editcetera members generously share information on methods, resources, and business practices. If you have a question, another member can probably answer it—whether by recommending a guide book, discussing a specific convention, or sharing knowledge about how to work with a particular kind of client.
If you need extra help with a job, you can call Editcetera for a referral and be confident that another Editcetera member will provide high-quality service.
If you need to turn down a job, you can refer your client to Editcetera and know that we will provide excellent service.
If a scheduled job suddenly falls through for you, Editcetera can sometimes find you other work within a short time.
You can improve and broaden your skills and become marketable in new areas of publishing through workshops and consultations with other Editcetera members—sometimes for free, sometimes with deep discounts.
Member gatherings give you a chance to socialize and network with other Editcetera members and share experiences of freelancing and working with clients, as well as various tricks of the trade.
Who can apply for membership?
Editcetera seeks a diverse membership. We invite experienced freelance publishing professionals to apply regardless of ethnicity, race, country of origin, disability, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or age.
To apply, you must meet three initial criteria:
- You must be an active freelancer or plan to become a freelancer within 1 year.
- You must have at least 4 years’ experience in print and/or online publishing or communications.
- You must reside in the state of California.
At this time, we are looking for new members with the following types of experience:
- Developmental editing, substantive editing, copyediting, and/or proofreading in the traditional book-publishing industry
- Editing and/or proofreading in other publishing sectors, such as journalism, scholarly publishing, corporate communications, the tech industry, and health care
- Knowledge of both traditional and self-publishing and work directly with authors
- Editorial work with author-publishers (self-published authors)
If accepted as a member, you may apply to qualify in additional areas.
We encourage writers, project managers, and indexers to check back periodically to see if we have opened those categories to new members.
What are the steps in the application process?
Our clients usually contact Editcetera about work that requires strict attention to detail and solid experience with conventions of the trade. Our selection process reflects those needs.
Steps for applying are as follows. See questions below for details of each step.
Step 1. Complete and submit your Basic Skills Test and Experience Checklist. Our staff will review these materials to determine whether you might be a good candidate for membership based on our current needs. If so, we will invite you to move on to step 2. You should expect a quick response to this step.
We are currently looking for editors of all kinds. We encourage writers, project managers, and indexers to check back periodically to see if we have opened those categories.
Step 2. Likely candidates for membership will receive a request to submit a full application (a résumé and supporting documents). After we receive your materials, our staff will remove all identifying information and then pass your full application to our Selection Committee. The committee will review your materials and determine whether to invite you to continue with step 3. The committee meets in even-numbered months and will review all full applications received by the first of those months.
Step 3. Selected applicants will be asked to complete editing or proofreading tests or to submit samples of their work, as determined by the Selection Committee.
If you pass step 3, our staff will reconnect your materials with your identity and check your references. If this check is satisfactory, you will be contacted with an offer of provisional membership.
Step 1: What are the Basic Skills Test and Experience Checklist?
The Basic Skills Test serves as a preliminary objective assessment of your skills. A passing score on the test will make you eligible to continue the application process.
The Experience Checklist helps us to determine whether you might meet Editcetera’s current anticipated needs for new members and whether we are likely to be able to refer clients to you upon acceptance.
To begin the selection process, submit a completed Basic Skills Test and Experience Checklist. Download the document from our website, read the directions carefully, complete the test and checklist, and send as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject line “application for membership.”
If you pass the Basic Skills Test and seem to be a good candidate for membership, we will contact you to request further materials (step 2).
Step 2: What materials should I submit if asked for a full application?
If you pass our Basic Skills Test and your checklist indicates that you might be a good candidate for membership, we will ask you to submit a complete application packet, including all four of the following:
- A cover letter (please indicate if you would like us to consider you for one or two particular types of work)
- Your résumé
- A list of representative projects with descriptions of the work you performed on them
- Names and contact information (phone and email) for at least three current references and your professional relationship to them
If you are applying as a publishing coach, we will also send a questionnaire for you to complete at this time.
You may take as much time as you need to prepare these materials. Keep in mind that our Selection Committee meets in even-numbered months to review applications. You must submit your complete application packet by the first of the month for it to be reviewed at that month’s meeting.
Step 3: What additional tests or samples might I be asked to submit?
Editcetera has various review processes, depending on the type of work and industry. Applicants who pass step 2 are asked to move on to step 3 as follows:
Editors and proofreaders in traditional book publishing are sent tests to complete and return. We have a proofreading test, a copyediting test, and a substantive editing test. You must take and pass both our copyediting test and our substantive editing test to be considered for substantive editing work.
Developmental editors in traditional book publishing are asked to submit a form describing the work they did on each of one or two samples, together with the work as submitted to clients, including communications with the client and marked-up manuscript. If a client has required nondisclosure, you must obtain permission from that client before submitting the sample. Applicants must also complete a questionnaire describing their experience with and approach to developmental editing.
Publishing coaches are scheduled for an interview.
Editors and proofreaders in other publishing sectors are asked to submit two or more marked-up samples (totaling about 5,000 words) along with the clients’ guidelines. Samples must show substantial revisions or corrections (more than minimal work). If a client has required nondisclosure, you must obtain permission from that client before submitting the sample.
Writers are asked to submit two or more manuscript samples as they were submitted to clients, along with the clients’ guidelines, and to complete a questionnaire about each sample. The samples should demonstrate different types of writing for different clients and should total about 5,000 words. If a client has required nondisclosure, you must obtain permission from that client before submitting the sample.
Indexers are asked to submit two indexes, along with the indexed text and the client’s instructions for each index.
Production coordinators / project managers are asked to submit three recent projects and to complete a questionnaire about each one. If the assessment is positive, you will be interviewed by telephone or online meeting.
Who makes decisions about membership—and how?
Our staff members determine whether to ask you to submit a full application based on your Basic Skills Test and Experience Checklist (step 1).
Our Selection Committee decides whether to request tests or samples from you based on your résumé and supporting documents (step 2). The committee is made up of current Editcetera members.
If you submit tests or samples (step 3), they will be reviewed by Editcetera members who are experienced in the type of work that you submit. These members make independent recommendations based on your tests or samples.
The standards for passing tests and reviews are high. If at least two reviewers recommend you, the Selection Committee will then review your tests or samples, along with comments, recommendations, and your initial application, and vote on admitting you to membership. The committee and reviewers will not know your identity until and unless they recommend you as a member. As a final step after committee recommendation, our staff will check your references.
How soon does Editcetera let applicants know whether they have been accepted?
The entire selection process, from receipt of your complete application packet (step 2) to the committee’s decision, typically takes around 6 months but can take longer. This is because your application must first be reviewed at a bimonthly meeting of the Selection Committee. If it is approved for further review, you will have time to complete tests and/or submit samples, which will then require assessments by multiple reviewers. These assessments must be returned for review at another Selection Committee meeting. If the committee recommends you for membership, we will complete reference checks. We do our best to keep your application moving through the steps, but the process can take time. Keep in mind that membership is a long-term investment, intended to complement and further your ongoing freelance career.
Our committee meets to review applications early in even-numbered months. Complete application packets received by the first of the month will be reviewed at that meeting.
Does Editcetera provide feedback on tests or samples?
Because of the large number of applicants and the limited time of our staff, we are not able to give detailed feedback to applicants who do not pass.
May an applicant who is not accepted try again?
You may reapply 1 year after you are notified that you were not accepted.
What happens when an applicant is admitted to membership?
At first, you will become a provisional member. You will pay prorated dues based on your month of admission and 17 percent commission on Editcetera jobs. (Full-year dues are $250, with potential for reduced dues if needed.) A qualified full member will review your work on at least one job assignment; additional reviews may be required.
Once you complete the provisional review process successfully, you will be eligible for admission as a full member. As a full member, you will pay 15 percent commission on Editcetera jobs. Annual dues after the year you join will be $250. As a full member, you will also have voting rights in the corporation.
Does Editcetera keep its members supplied with work?
Editcetera has an excellent reputation as a group, and hundreds of clients depend on us for referrals to qualified freelancers. Our members are typically well established in the trade, however, and obtain a variable portion of their freelance assignments through Editcetera; we do not guarantee work to any member. The quantity of work you receive from us will depend on your particular skills, the clients who happen to contact us at any given time, other members qualified with the same skills, your interest in the job leads you receive, and your availability. Members receive community benefits regardless of individual referrals.