Information for Applicants
We are currently seeking applications from editors of all kinds, but we particularly need more editors experienced in working with fiction, memoirs, and/or self-publishing authors. We also need editors who will work on-site in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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. It currently has about 100 members. The following information provides further detail, including the criteria and procedures for applying to become a member.
What are the benefits of being a member?
Editcetera markets your services to a broad range of clients.
Editcetera handles the task of providing clients with your résumé and other required background material.
Editcetera bills your clients, collects payments, and follows up with clients who don’t pay on time.
Editcetera consolidates some tax information (1099s).
Because our selection process is rigorous and time-consuming, clients rarely require further tests or screening. They know that they can trust Editcetera.
Editcetera members are generous about sharing information on methods, resources, and business practices. If you have a question, another member can probably answer it—whether by recommending a specialized dictionary, discussing a specific convention, or sharing knowledge about how to work with a particular kind of client.
When you need extra help with a job, you can call the director 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 the client to Editcetera knowing that your client will receive excellent service.
If a scheduled job suddenly falls through for you, the director 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.
Annual members’ 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?
To apply, you must meet three initial criteria:
You must either be an active freelancer or expressly commit to leaving full-time employment within 4 months.
You must have at least 4 years’ experience in print and/or online publishing or communications.
You must reside in one of the following California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Lake, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, or Yolo.
Editcetera qualifies members in the following categories:
- Substantive editor
- Developmental editor
- Print production coordinator/project manager
- Print production coordinator/project manager
- Online producer or project manager
At this time, we are seeking new members in only the following categories:
- Proofreaders in the publishing track
- Copyeditors in the publishing track
- Substantive editors in the publishing track
- Editors/proofreaders in the business/technical track
- Indexers in both the publishing and the business/technical tracks
- Writers in the business/technical track
New applicants may choose one or two categories for an initial review. Those who are accepted may request reviews in additional categories at no extra cost.
To be considered for substantive editing, you must also take and pass our copyediting test.
If you wish to apply in a category that is not currently open, please check here again for updates.
How do I apply for membership?
If you meet the criteria under ‘Who can apply for membership?’ send us all five of the following:
- A cover letter (please specify the category or categories in which you are applying, including the track or tracks—publishing or business/technical; limit your initial application to two categories)
- Your résumé
- A list of representative projects with descriptions of the work you did on them
- Names and contact information (phone and email) for at least three current references and your professional relationship to them
- Your completed Basic Skills Test
Our address is
2034 Blake Street, Suite 5
Berkeley, CA 94704
Or email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘application for membership’; include a scanned copy of your Basic Skills Test.
What is the Basic Skills Test?
Editcetera requires that you submit, as part of your application packet, a completed Basic Skills Test. Print out the test, read the directions carefully, and take the test on hard copy.
Note: We use this test only as a preliminary assessment. If you pass the test, we will require you to take more rigorous tests or submit samples in your specific skill area(s). Passing the basic skills test alone will not qualify you for membership.
What happens after Editcetera receives an application?
Our Selection Committee meets up to four times a year to review the applications on file and determine which applicants to assess further. The committee takes into account the current composition of our membership and Editcetera’s anticipated needs for new members with particular skills.
Our clients usually call Editcetera about work that requires strict attention to detail and solid experience with conventions of the trade. Our selection process reflects those needs. We are currently looking especially for editors experienced in working with fiction, memoirs, and/or self-publishing authors, as well as editors who are able to work on-site in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Editcetera seeks a diverse membership. We invite experienced editors, proofreaders, indexers, and writers to apply regardless of ethnicity, race, country of origin, disability, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or age.
What other tests or sample reviews are required of applicants?
Editcetera has different review processes for applicants in different categories:
Editors and proofreaders in the publishing track are sent tests to complete and return within 30 days. We have a proofreading test, a copyediting test, and a substantive editing test. You must take and pass our copyediting test to be considered as a substantive editor. Completed tests are scored by at least two and sometimes three reviewers.
Editors/proofreaders in the business/technical track are asked to submit two or more marked-up samples (totaling approximately 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. At least two members with experience in the subject area of the sample review each submission.
Writers (in either track) 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 one. The samples should be of different types of writing and for different clients and should total approximately 5,000 words. If a client has required nondisclosure, you must obtain permission from that client before submitting the sample. Samples are reviewed by at least two members with experience in the field of the samples.
Indexers (in either track) are asked to submit two indexes, along with the indexed text and the client’s instructions for each index. Samples are reviewed by at least two members: an indexer and an editor with experience reviewing indexes.
Print production coordinators/project managers (in either track) are asked to submit three recent projects and to complete a questionnaire about each one. Submissions are reviewed by at least one member with experience in project/production management. If the review is positive, you will be interviewed by telephone about your experience doing this type of work.
Online producers or project managers in the business/technical track are asked to submit three recent projects and to complete a questionnaire about each one. Submissions are reviewed by at least one member who does online or software project management. If the review is positive, you will be interviewed by telephone about your experience doing this type of work.
Who reviews the tests and samples?
Reviewers are Editcetera members who are experienced in the type of work that you are submitting. Each reviewer makes a recommendation based on your tests or samples. The standards for passing tests and reviews are high. If you pass, Editcetera’s director presents the recommendations to the Board of Directors, along with your tests or samples, your résumé, and a summary of comments obtained from your references. The board reviews all the materials and votes on admitting you to membership.
How soon does Editcetera let applicants know whether they have been accepted?
The entire selection process, from receipt of your application packet to the board’s decision, typically takes 6 months to 1 year. This time is required for reviews at meetings, assessments by multiple reviewers, reference checks, and so on.
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 specific feedback to applicants who do not pass.
May an applicant who is not accepted try again?
You may reapply 2 years after you are notified that you were not accepted. Some of our strongest current members applied multiple times before they were admitted. Skills improve, and our needs change.
What happens when an applicant is admitted to membership?
At first, you will become a provisional member. You will pay annual dues of $50 and a 17 percent commission on Editcetera jobs, and you will not have voting rights. Your work must be reviewed by a qualified full member on at least one job assignment and for as many jobs as the reviewer considers necessary.
Once you complete the provisional review process successfully, you will be eligible for admission by the board as a full member. As a full member, you will pay annual dues of $50 and a 15 percent commission on Editcetera jobs, and you will have voting rights in the corporation.
Does Editcetera keep its members supplied with work?
Editcetera does not guarantee work to any member, but we have 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 and obtain a variable portion of their freelance assignments through Editcetera. How much work you get through us will depend on your particular skills, the clients who happen to come in at any given time, other members qualified with the same skills, your interest in the job leads you receive, and your availability.