Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Show Your Work

I used to hear it all the time in math class: "Show your work." It didn't matter if I could look at the equation and tell you the answer without so much as a scribble. I still had to show on paper how I got to that conclusion. Now, I was pretty good in math at school, but I still hated it. This could have been a factor in my choice of career... that is until I started hearing "show your work" all over again.

Bidding on projects for editing jobs is becoming a little more difficult these days. Everyone wants examples. With writing, that's easy. I show them a few articles I have published and they determined whether I'm the right fit for the job. With editing, I cannot figure out how to properly show my skills without throwing a previous client to the wind. I can't show a before and after edit from a previous client because most clients only want their best work out there. I don't think that's a fair estimate of my work anyway, since many clients have specific editing preferences that may not fall into the category of standard editing.

Editing skills tests are available through a few of the sites where I regularly search for work, however they cost money and if I have a proven track record of clients who were happy with my editing work, I don't think the cost is worth it.

The last option is a sample edit, but I have put a stop to that after I had been a pawn in schemes for clients not to pay anyone by giving a handful of freelancers "sample" chapters to edit, which is really the project itself. They cancel the project, citing that they are choosing to go another route, then they get all their work done without paying any of us.

Any freelancers out there have a different idea? How do you get editing jobs without samples? If you have samples, what do you use for samples?


K R Smith said...

I can see how this could be a problem, and I'm a lttle surprised that a list of checkable references isn't enough. But then I've never tried to apply for an editing job anywhere!

The only thought I had was to offer a discount to beginning writers for your editing services in return for allowing you to use their writing as a sample. I don't know if that would work, but everyone would know up front what they were getting into. Once you had enough samples of different types of writing, you could end the offer. You could even put a page on your blog listing what services you can provide since many of the people visiting are probably writers of some sort.

Terri Deno said...

I have thought about some of those options. It's just so weird when I get turned away from a job for 'insufficient examples' on editing.