Have you ever considered an editing career?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read. As a kid, I loved escaping into other worlds created by my favorite authors. I grew up with three older brothers, so I didn’t always have someone my own age or with the same interests to hang out with. Books were always my go-to activity.

When I was a pre-teen, I devoured the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books. As I moved into my young teenage years, I escaped into stories created by Judy Blume. Her characters always made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my teenage angst. 😉

Well into my teenage years, my best girlfriend and I discovered V.C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic, a Gothic romantic family saga. It was deliciously scandalous and was the book that turned me on to romance novels.

Some of my favorite authors now are Sandra Brown, Vi Keeland, Lauren Smith, and Monica Murphy. They’re all writers I would read without any hesitation.

Growing up, I never considered a career in the publishing industry. I grew up long before the internet was created, so there was no online work. Self-publishing wasn’t nearly as common as it is now. And if you wanted to work for a publishing house, you had to move where the publishers were located. And I’ve always been a small-town girl.

When considering what I wanted to do professionally, I always liked science, so I chose biology as my major in college. I eventually decided on a career in medical laboratory science, a job I love. However, when my kids were approaching adulthood and I knew empty-nest syndrome was looming, I considered starting a side hustle.

I was listening to a podcast about five years ago and heard an interview with Chris Guillebeau, who also has a podcast called Side Hustle School. I started listening to SHS and heard a story there about a young man from Britain, living in Germany, who became a freelance writer. I signed up for free lessons on how to become a freelance writer — people had always told me I was a good writer, and I liked the idea of working from anywhere. 

I became very active in this writer’s Facebook group, and after a few months, he referred me to Chris (Guillebeau) and Chris’s content manager. I completed a paid writing trial and was hired! It was exciting to hear my stories read on SHS (the podcast scripts are written for Chris by ghostwriters, who interview entrepreneurs via email and write their stories). 

The podcast is international and has many listeners. I also continued to listen to the SHS podcast; I was still a fan of the show. I heard Phon Baillie’s story there about working as a freelance proofreader and copy editor — what really stood out to me was that she worked in the romance genre. This was particularly appealing to me. 

I’ve been a lifelong avid romance novel reader, and it seemed like heaven to me to get paid to read romance novels and help romance writers! But I didn’t act on pursuing this side hustle right away. I wrote for the SHS team for a year. 

Then I heard another story about another young woman who was a freelance romance novel editor. I had been trying to make a go of freelance writing for a year with minimal success, and it had become a chore for me. I began to consider pivoting to freelance proofreading, specifically in the romance genre because I love that genre so much. Then I remembered Phon’s story and looked into her online training program. At the time, it was called “High-Level Proofreading Pro.”

I really wasn’t enjoying freelance writing anymore. I wanted to build a business doing something I was good at, preferably something I really enjoyed doing, that I could do from anywhere. 

I decided to take the leap and invest in Phon’s proofreading course — and in myself. Things that appealed to me about her course were the affordable price, student support system, and lifetime access to the lessons and any future course upgrades. Starting my own business as a freelance proofreader appealed to me because it had a low start-up cost, a low cost to maintain my business, and I can work from anywhere.

Since taking Phon’s proofreading course four years ago, I’ve expanded my services to include copy editing, line editing, and developmental editing in the romance genre. I’ve built a successful editing business. I love working in the romance genre because it is so beloved to me, and I absolutely love knowing that I’ve helped writers in their process. I truly enjoy the genre and being able to help talented romance writers produce their best work is really gratifying.

Are you interested in proofreading and copyediting books like me? Check out Phon’s FREE training masterclass that’ll give you advice and tips on how to start. Or maybe you’d like to sign up for a FREE Proofreading 101 course? If you want to learn more about the High-Level Proofreading and Copyediting Pro course now, just click here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts — leave a comment!

The Importance of Copy Editing and Proofreading

Do you know the importance of hiring a professional copy editor?

Even the best writers make mistakes.

A fresh and objective set of eyes on your manuscript is always a good idea. Of course you should proofread your own work first! But we are often too close to the things we write. We read our own work knowing what we want to convey, but we might not be tuned in to what we’re actually saying.

Proofreading and copy editing is more than just correcting errors, it’s also finding the best way to say something. You want to reach your readers on an emotional level, not have them distracted by your punctuation errors or repetitive word selection.

An experienced copy editor can help clarify your message so your readers aren’t stumbling through your errors, or worse, not even finishing your book, never to buy from you again.

While it is essential to have a third party look over your work, are they truly the best person for the job?

Are they skilled with punctuation, grammar, and spelling? Will they help you select a better word or phrase? Or let you know if you are not appealing to your genre fan base in an emotional way?

I’d love to hear your opinion!

Writing/Editing Tip

Before you go back to edit a section of your manuscript, take a break.

Stepping away from your words for even just a few minutes will help clear your mind.

When we stare at the same thing, reading and re-reading lines over and over, it all tends to blur after awhile.

It’s amazing how much clearer you’re able to think after taking a break!

When I wrote podcast scripts for Chris Guillebeau, I used this technique all the time. I would finish writing and step away from my work for a few hours. When I returned to edit, it was surprising how much clearer I could see where improvements could be made. I always did this before submitting to my content manager.

Do you use this technique? What helps you in your writing and editing process?

I was featured in “First for Women”!

I was recently selected to be featured in the popular women’s magazine, “First for Women”.

The article briefly outlines my work as a freelance proofreader and copy editor for romance writers.

I am thrilled to be a part of this feature because, for me, my work as a romance proofreader is not just a way to make money. It also brings me a great sense of pride and fulfillment when I’m able to help talented authors enhance their work by putting the final touches and edits on their writing.

I am truly grateful to have found such an enjoyable way to turn my passion for reading romance novels into a successful business!

Why I Love Proofreading Books in the Romance Genre

I’ve been reading romance novels since I was in my teens – for about (ahem) 34 years! Although I’ve never sat down to count how many books I’ve read over the years, I know it’s in the hundreds.

Why the romance genre? First of all, I love reading romance because it relaxes me. Even when I was working on my master’s degree while working full time, learning a new position, I still carved out 15 minutes or so at the end of each day to read in my beloved genre. I needed that distraction to get my mind off work and school and relax enough to fall asleep.

I also completely believe in a happily-ever-after in my books. Life is tough enough sometimes, and I want to escape into a world where everything ends well.

To read more about how I became a proofreader and copy editor in the romance genre, check out this interview I did for Phon Baillie’s “Art of Proofreading” blog. I took Phon’s High-Level Proofreading Pro course, and I highly recommend it if you’re interested in working as a professional proofreader!

The Benefits of Trying New Activities

The other night I did something totally out of my skill set. What is my usual skill set? I’m a scientist – I’ve been trained, through learning and experience, to think technically and logically. I don’t think of myself as artistic – at all.

Which leads me to my original statement – I did something not in my usual skill set. My daughter and I went to a “Wine and Design”. You likely have heard of these types of businesses – you pay a fee to attend a class and paint a picture of your choosing. An artist “coach” talks you through the process, start to finish. In two hours you can create your very own painting, suitable for hanging. Oh, and you can BYOB if you like. We even indulged in a few cookies with our glass of wine.

Wine and Design with Brookie

My daughter, Brooke, and I with our paintings

This was not my first time to attend a wine and design. In fact, it was my fourth. I can’t say that my painting skills have improved much. So why do I keep going back?

Learning a New Activity Can Help You Relax

The first time I attended a painting class, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I had no idea if I would enjoy myself. But my best girlfriend, my daughter and I had all been wanting to try a class.

As we began to paint our pictures, chatting amongst ourselves while following our teacher’s instructions, I had a moment of reflection. I suddenly realized that I was truly relaxed. I hadn’t had a thought about work, personal issues – nothing. I was totally focused on painting.  For me, this was a really enlightening moment. You see, I’d categorize myself as a type A personality. I always have to be busy, and my mind is always active with thoughts – about work, my kids, plans for dinner – you get the idea. Maybe you can relate.

Spending Time With Friends and Family Can Make You Healthier

Another bonus to taking the painting classes is the time I get to spend with my friend(s), or spending time with just my daughter – like our class the other night. We created memories attending these classes together. Nothing can replace that.

Spending time with family and/or friends can make you healthier.  A study done by researchers at Brigham Young University found that those who have healthy relationships are half less likely to die early than those who live more isolated lives.  The lead researcher said a lack of social relationships was equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

How’s that for motivation to foster healthy social relationships?

Learning New Skills Can Make You More Productive

Doing an activity outside your comfort zone can stretch your brain muscles, so to speak.  When we push ourselves to do something new or foreign to us, we learn novel skills – often both intellectual and mechanical.

Spending time on new activities can actually make you more productive.  A study in Journal of Psychological Sciences confirms that learning new skills enhances cognitive function and improves memory.

I Challenge You to Try Something New

So what’s my point in sharing all this?  I want to encourage you to find the time to learn a new skill set.  Maybe spend quality time with those special to you.  Push yourself outside your comfort zone.

I’d love to hear what new skills you’ve learned, and how doing so has benefited you!