Find a professional editor in your field or genre, or in your language, with our Editors Directory.


By Christine Tozer

On 1 November 2023, EdsQ hosted a well-received presentation on diversifying your portfolio. Dr Renée Otmar is an IPEd Honorary Life Member and has worked extensively in the industry as a senior editor, managing editor, publisher, trainer and coach. Renée discussed strategies for editors wanting to diversify their skill sets, services or client base, and how to go about offering editorial services in sectors outside your current sphere.

Renée emphasised that each editor is a unique business entity, embodying a distinctive combination of skills, qualifications, expertise and experience. She acknowledged the time it takes to establish a steady flow of business, and discussed two ways editors can earn more and steer their career in a different direction: productivity and innovation.

Productivity is about efficiency – editors evaluate their efficiency in terms of hourly rates and how much we can edit in an hour. Introducing new technologies can improve your productivity. Innovation, on the other hand, is a process involving a range of activities to help you uncover new ways to do things – for example, the evolution of manuscript assessment roles beyond traditional publishing boundaries.

Renée described prosperity for independent editors as being about fair rates, a steady flow of clients, a consistent income, and a viable business model – “it’s not about offering discounts, undercutting colleagues, or cookie-cutter editing”. Renée suggested that the IPEd recommended rates are a good basis to work from.

As content specialists, editors can position themselves as recognised experts in specific types of editing or genres. While specialisation can lead to higher rates and innovation, monotony and stagnation are potential downsides. Diversifying your portfolio is a strategic approach to achieving prosperity.

To embark on diversification, Renée advised to take stock of your strengths, update your CV and contemplate future career directions. Talk with a colleague who knows your work – they may see things you have missed or have fresh ideas.

Renée outlined practical strategies including exploring different types of editing or genres. Consider new products and services, such as author coaching or teaching in universities or workshops. You may need specific training or qualifications. Editors can also write guides, references and books, tapping into the constant demand for new ideas.

If you are pigeon-holed in your in-house editor role, consider moving to a different employer, or talk to your current employer about moving into different areas of the organisation. A mentor in the area you’re interested in moving into can give you valuable insights.

If you’re looking to freelance, do your market research, business plan and market plan. Renée talked about effective marketing and posed some key questions: “Where do you want to direct your career in future? How will those clients find you and know that you’re good to work with?” A comprehensive marketing plan should outline services offered, target audiences, pricing and strategies for reaching potential clients.

During Q&A, Renée emphasised building relationships through networking as a key way of marketing and building confidence in new areas. Immerse yourself in relevant spaces, attend conferences, and engage with potential clients. Develop an understanding of their corporate language, and craft a CV tailored to the specific discipline. Networking within your targeted sector can open doors to diverse opportunities.

Access to the recording of the presentation will be available to purchase via the IPEd events page (or free if you paid to attend).