The Hidden Diamond in the Freelance Rough: Proofreading

Paid to Proofread Staff
4 min readJul 16, 2020

As the current pandemic continues to bring more and more people into the freelance world, one section of freelancing tends to be one of the most overlooked gems in the freelance writing industry: proofreading.

Proofreading a good source of income for those who are a little less suited for the creative side but better suited for the technical side of writing. It serves as a great source for enjoying work ethics while also gaining just more than a quick coin. To make matters even more appealing, the world will never run out of proofreading positions as long as people keep writing. With every great book comes an even greater proofreader. The person behind the scenes, making sure every comma, word, and phrase is properly conveyed and emphasized for the reader’s experience is much more needed than you’d think.

Imagine getting to read your author’s favorite written work before it even reaches its final production stage before being released to the public. To have the first-ever raw copy of the written work, from author to proofreader, and to get paid for it. THAT is just one of the many luxuries of being a paid proofreader.

Don’t get me wrong, achieving that sort of level isn’t a walk in the park. Becoming a high demand proofreader takes effort. Not only that but time. That’s right. Becoming a paid proofreader doesn’t happen overnight. Let alone scoring a gig that will pay you what you deserve. Most people start with small gigs, and I’m even talking free gigs. Like music, any gig you can get your hands on at first is a good gig. To get exposure and boost your resume takes many “yes’” rather than “no’s” when first starting.

So now you’re thinking “Okay well… what’s the point for pursuing this career if it’s going to take forever to get to that level?” Well let’s dive into what the point is with a few industry facts on becoming a paid proofreader:

  1. Flexibility
    Anywhere at any time. Freelancing means working at your own pace as long as you meet any deadlines given to you. There’s no such thing as a strict work schedule implemented by your boss or the mandatory nine to five at an office you dread walking in to. Lucky for you, proofreading can be done anywhere in the world as long as you have a pencil and the written work right in front of you. Working on your laptop? Same thing as long as you have an outlet nearby. The Internet isn’t even needed when proofreading.
  2. Pay
    The best part about being an established proofreader is that 90% of the time you get to decide what your salary is for each of your clients. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for a proofreader is $17.82. The lowest hourly pay rate to be recorded is $11.68 while the highest stands at $29.74. The lowest hourly rate is still higher than what I make working in the service industry which also includes transportation and overtime. Glassdoor took 129 proofreader salaries from all over the US and concluded that the average base pay rounds up to $44,630 a year where the majority of proofreaders range closer to the $33k region.
  3. Education
    Proofreading is essentially free education. You get to read on all sorts of topics, genres, plots, and facts from all over the world. You get paid to educate yourself on things that wouldn’t have been brought to your attention if you hadn’t been proofreading specific works. As quoted by Descartes, “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.”
  4. Connections
    Any job you get opens doors to other opportunities. But a good proofreader is a special character that tends to be recommended or discovered in the writing industry. Writers know other writers. From workshops to readings, they will always know someone who is working on something. As long as you are easy to work with and do a good job in the end, you will most likely get recommended to another writer. If not, simply ask to be recommended.
  5. Entertainment
    Education goes hand in hand with obtaining free entertainment that ends up paying you. If you are a person who enjoys reading all day or prefers a good book than a good TV show, then becoming a proofreader might be a well-suited trade for you to say “I love my job” with gusto and confidence.

With the current pandemic causing furloughs and job losses, becoming a freelance proofreader might just be the thing that saves many from a total financial struggle. There are hundreds of resources and platforms for you to get started with. A top favorite of mine being Sue Gilad’s Paid to Proofread guide. Research, mixed in with just simply starting, can take you a long way in your proofreading career.

Proofreading is simply easy. It’s easy on time, easy on energy, and even an easy workload. It pays a decent amount if you strive to have multiple proofreading gigs, even if you decide to proofread on the side. Proofreading adds more than just a few bills to your bank account. Who knows, maybe that small started gig will recommend you to your favorite publishing company.

By Karla Cortes



Paid to Proofread Staff

Welcome to the exciting world of getting paid $1000+ for proofreading books in your own time!📝📖📚💸