It wasn’t an easy journey for me to start working in editorial because twenty years ago, there weren’t as many online courses as there are now. To learn editorial and publishing skills, you had to actually step foot inside a building. For me, that involved moving across the country to go to publishing school. So when I started Art of Proofreading, my goal was to help people do something with their love of words — without the struggle. As a longtime proofreader and editor, I knew there were people out there who wanted to do what I did, but needed guidance in starting.
As a result, I’ve been lucky to have trained some amazing people. One of them is Callie Walker, a proofreader and editor based in Oregon. She started her editorial business in 2018 after completing her training in my course, High-Level Proofreading Pro. Within a month of graduating, she had landed her first client. Now she works from home proofreading and copyediting full time!
In this interview Callie shares some marketing tips, how the idea of being a proofreader came to her, and she gives us a peek at her typical day balancing work, writing, and self care.
Hi, Callie! Can you tell us a little about yourself? Were you always interested in proofreading and editing?
I’ve been writing since I was in middle school, and as I progressed through school and took a few creative writing courses, I not only honed my skill, but I discovered that I enjoyed critiquing and editing the work of my peers.
As far as a job goes, I’ve worked in customer service in varying forms, but never enjoyed working with the public at large. For the past few years, until the end of last year, I was a barista, but was able to move to full-time proofreading this year.
What made you decide to take the leap and get into proofreading and copyediting?
My mom was a proofreader for a local publishing company when I was in middle and high school, so I always had it in the back of my head. I was unhappy in my work life and kind of on the job hunt when I literally woke up one day with the question “What if I became a proofreader?” I did a quick Google search and found the Art of Proofreading. My husband supported my choice to take the course and I suppose taking High-Level Proofreading Pro was my leap.
What kind of content do you work on? Any specific genres?
I’ve worked on memoirs, Christian nonfiction, self-help, fantasy, romance, and a few informal textbooks. So far, I’ve just taken what was offered. Ideally, I’d love to work on Christian fiction and light fantasy.
What do you like best about being a proofreader and copy editor?
I love helping clients improve their work and their skills as writers.
Can you give us a peek at what your typical day is like?
Typically (when my husband is working, which he isn’t right now due to the global situation), I get up at 5:30 with my husband and get him off to work by 6. Then I do yoga in my living room. After that, I watch a little TV and eat breakfast. By 9 I’m at my computer (currently a laptop propped up on a few books with a separate keyboard underneath and a mouse to the side) checking emails and social media accounts.
As soon as I can, I get to work proofreading. Around 12, I stop for lunch and some TV. Then it’s back to proofreading for another two hours or so. I then take a break with a snack and set up a few social media posts. And then I try to work on my own writing for a bit (although I’ve recently been a little lazy with my own writing), or if I’m behind on a manuscript, I’ll work on that instead. Around 5 I stop to make dinner. And then my husband comes home and it’s time for dinner and relaxing until bedtime at 8.
If you want to learn how YOU can start working from home, I have a FREE proofreading training masterclass that’ll give you actionable tips, and show you how you can start in less than 30 days.
What is your favourite way to market your services?
I somehow (I think through a Facebook group) got on a book printer’s website as a proofreading resource and have gotten several new clients from that. So that is my favorite because I don’t have to do anything but keep my website looking nice and answer any incoming emails. I also enjoy creating posts for Facebook and Instagram. I usually learn something new when doing research for my posts.
What did you think of learning proofreading and copyediting through High-Level Proofreading Pro as opposed to winging it with no training? Do you feel HLPP prepared you for working in the field?
I definitely felt prepared after taking HLPP. Every writer has a unique style, so there’s no way any course could fully prepare you, but it gave me the initial guidance, confidence, and know-how to get started. I especially loved the section on the different platforms and how to proofread using each of them. I often go back for a refresher if I haven’t used a certain platform in a while or ever.
What advice do you have for people who are considering proofreading and copyediting?
I would say, take HLPP to learn the [skills] and how to get started, and then get some practice by offering free or reduced prices.
Callie Walker lives in Central Oregon with her husband and spider plant. She has a BFA in creative writing and loves to write, but usually finds it difficult to sit in the chair and actually get words on the page. She also loves baking and has been working on gluten-free baking to suit her husband’s allergies. She is a fan of Stephen King’s work, the Oxford comma, and early morning yoga to get her day going. You can find her at www.proofcorrections.net, on Facebook, and on Instagram.