Can you edit under a pen name?



I’ve been editing for free for a Wattpad Star (CrystalScherer) for a while now and really enjoy it. It got me thinking about getting a degree in English and becoming a professional editor/proofreader.

Currently, I am sixteen years old, have no certificate whatsoever, and don’t even use my real name - and I am fully aware of that. The editing will not happen for a few years, not until I am somewhat certified to do my job, instead of being a helpful amateur.

Long story short, is it possible to edit professionally and make money without using your real name? As normally, businesses require you to use your real name and such.


I’m not sure what you’re asking. Are you asking if, once fully qualified, you can continue using a pseudonym?




Well, yes. You’d have to get a DBA that allows you to business under that name.


You have to get the DBA, because ultimately you have to pay taxes on the money.


DBA as in Doing Business As? Apparently there is a certain law in the Netherlands that’s also called DBA that is hogging my search results


Yes, Doing Business As. That lets you sign checks with that name and such.


Ah, I see. Thank you for answering.


Why would you not use your real name? Your school records (your certificate) will be in your real name so when you apply for an editing job you will need to reference your credentials which is your real name.


Because all editing I have done so far hasn’t been under my real name either, and in all honesty, I am not very fond of it.

You are right when it comes to the certificates, though.


I wouldn’t expect to use anything you’re doing on Wattpad – or will do on Wattpad in the future – to serve as any type of portfolio. The problem with the editing here is there is no objective scale by which to judge if it’s quality editing – even for your own feedback and growth! If you edit something that is then traditionally published, you have a sample. Otherwise, not so much.

You’ll learn technical editing in college. Editing of fiction means editing for craft, and that is best learned by interning with a mentor.


I am not sure how close Crystal is to publishing, as her best story is 450.000 words, and that’s too much for most publishers to handle, as the book would be taller than it is wide.
(@CrystalScherer, just to be sure I’m not spreading lies by accident)

And it will take time to get actual qualifications. In that time, I may have worked on actual works instead of just Wattpad stories. I am aware Wattpad isn’t exactly credible or regarded highly, so editing here generally means nothing.


It also takes time to learn the craft well enough to edit at a professional level.


It takes experience and knowledge to do any craft properly. My editing six months ago was absolutely terrible, and I let mistakes slip through left and right - and even know I know it happens without me realising, and I still haven’t learnt the full extend of the English grammar rules. Doing this for free helps me improve before I can actually do things officially.


Yeah, but that was on wattpad and, as you said, as an amateur. I thought you were talking about after you get a degree and doing it for a living. That’s a different “person” than who you are on wattpad. That’s the real you.


You raise a good point.