Editing + Proofreading Work-from-Home Business

8 Industry Terms Every Freelance Editor Needs to Know

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Whenever we start a new hobby or career, there’s always new lingo to learn.

When I first started my freelance editing business, I was inundated with all sorts of new business terms that I had never heard before! Just let me stick to my basic editing terms, please!

But, as a freelancer, you need to be “in the know” for some of these new business terms that you might not be familiar with. These terms will not only help you with your clients, but they’ll help you grow your own freelance editing business as well!

estimated taxes

These are tax payments due to the IRS every quarter. These payments are based on your freelance earnings and your state/province/country’s current tax rates.


Stands for nondisclosure agreement. An NDA essentially prevents you from sharing proprietary and confidential information with others. You might have to sign an NDA if you contract with a publisher or company for your services.


This is a marketing tool used to attract potential clients to your email list. It can be an online quiz, a checklist, a workbook, or any other free piece of content. It’s also called a freemium or lead magnet. (Hint: if you signed up for my Freelance Editing Business Quickstart Guide, that’s my opt-in.)

editorial letter

A letter written by an editor to an author, usually during the developmental or line editing stage of a manuscript. This letter expands on the editor’s changes in the manuscript and gives specific recommendations and suggestions.

house style

This refers to a company’s documentation that dictates its standards and preferences for its content. It can include things like preferred spellings, punctuation and capitalization rules, font choices, and formatting styles. It can also be called a house style guide or style guide.

style sheet

A document of standards for a particular book or project. Copyeditors create the style sheet that is then used by proofreaders and formatters. Style sheets can include preferences for grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and numbers. They can also include proper nouns used in the work, a character list, and a timeline.


An editing term that refers to pointing something out to the author within a piece of content. This can be in the form of highlighted text or a comment bubble.

Track Changes

This is the most common tool used by editors to “mark up” a document in Microsoft Word.

This is not a comprehensive list of all the terms that will help you in your freelance editing business, but they’re enough to help get you started!

If you want to learn more of the industry terms to stay in the know, I share a more comprehensive list with the newbie freelance editors in my Freelance Editors Club! We’d love to have you join us!


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