A day in the life of a proofreader
Posted on 23rd July 2015
I thought I’d give you an insight into the glamorous (not!) life of a freelance proofreader – or my day-to-day life anyway. My job title might be
I spend a lot of my time replying to emails from prospective clients, be it editors, students, businesses or authors. Usually they’re asking about rates or whether I can fit them in. And sometimes I’ll receive an email from an editor who would like me to proofread a page or two of a manuscript to see if they would like to employ me for a job.
Then there’s the very important job of keeping track of accounts. I try to email my invoice out with the proofread document in the hope that it will be paid promptly. Banking online has proved to be a godsend as I can now check whether jobs have been paid from the comfort of my own home. Once a job has been paid, I like to email my thanks to the client. Good manners cost nothing and clients appreciate the thought behind it.
More recently I’ve been focusing on my online presence. This takes the form of blogging and updating my website and Facebook page. All these things take time and can eat into precious working hours, but they’re a vital part of keeping a freelance business alive. They’re like my shop front: it’s important they’re engaging, vibrant and informative.
Added to this, there’s continuing professional development. This means taking time out to do courses to update my skills, or branching out into new areas of learning – I’ve already done one course this year and I’m nearly finished another. Another form of CPD is attending events like the SfEP’s London conference in 2014 or EPANI’s marketing skills session with Tracy Dempsey; these are valuable uses of time because I always come away having learned something new. And, of course, I like to keep up to date with what’s going on with other editors and proofreaders via forums,
But, somewhere amidst all this, I actually get some proofreading done! While I can do most of the above at any time of the day, proofreading has to be done at times of relative peace and quiet; an empty house and a full pot of tea beside me is preferable. Two screens works a treat too. This means I can have my manuscript open on one screen and flick between the style sheet, online dictionary and google on the other. This is the part of my working day that I enjoy the most – the part that I trained for. If I could edit and proofread all day long I’d be a happy bunny, but, the reality is, running a business means doing more than just the job you’re paid to do. If I didn’t reply to emails, keep my accounts up to date, work at being visible on the web and update my skills regularly, there would be no proofreading to do!
Louise Harnby Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers: A Guide for New Starters
SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders)