Working as a freelance proofreader is a great way to support your passion projects, from activism to artistry! In this post, we speak to one of Proofreading Academy’s recent graduates, Claudio, a published author who uses proofreading to support his literary ambitions.
Hi, Claudio. What made you choose the PA course?
I was waiting for my first novel to be published and, having questioned a lot of what my editor and proofreader were doing at the time, I decided I had to learn proofreading for myself.
There were a few courses that I was considering, but Proofreading Academy was the best priced and had a free introductory sample that was very well written and easy to understand.
Had you done any proofreading before?
I worked for a company that produces product brochures and has e-commerce websites, so I’d written online content for them and proofread a lot of printed price lists. Other than that, I’d had to proofread my own creative writing to get it ready for sending out to agents.
Did you find anything about the course particularly challenging?
I learned a lot about different referencing styles and I found that some of the grammatical errors, such as dangling modifiers and faulty parallelism, required a bit of thought to understand. Formatting in Microsoft Word was also difficult, since it was an area I’d never covered before. But the course explained everything, so I learned a lot by the end.
Do you think the course is good value, then?
Yes. I looked at other proofreading courses that were more expensive, so I was initially worried it would not cover everything I needed to know. But by the end of the PA course, which does require a fair amount of patience and dedication, I felt I had got my money’s worth.
And how has your transition to working as a freelance proofreader?
I’ve been well looked after by the Proofed team. They guided me through the system to make sure I was comfortable downloading and uploading documents, and they offered further guidance regarding how and when to leave comments for the customer.
Having your proofreading assessed shows the team really cares about the quality of the work submitted. It also means you are always improving. You start with smaller documents at first, before later taking on larger, more difficult projects. The process is well managed and transparent, so it happens entirely at your own pace.
What do you enjoy most about proofreading?
It’s the range of things you learn about! I’ve read essays on Chinese cinema, dentistry, South Korean politics, virology, and botany. Because you’re giving each piece such a close reading, and then reading it through at least one more time before submitting it, you absorb all sorts of interesting information you wouldn’t ordinarily come across.
Also, you’ll often take on a resume or an application letter for an internship or further study, written by someone with incredible credentials or life experiences. Knowing that you’re helping this person to achieve their ambitions is very satisfying.
Have you been self-employed before? How are you finding it?
No. I’m slowly making the transition from full-time office work to freelance writing and proofreading. So far the change seems to be going well! It has allowed me to dedicate more time to writing, so I’m currently working on my second novel as well as proofreading.
What else do you do when you aren’t proofreading?
I spend a lot of my free time reading. I read very slowly but I dedicate two or three hours a day to it, so I can get through at least two books a week. And I watch lectures (e.g., Intelligence Squared, Munk) in order to research whatever topic I’m currently writing about.
Is there anything else you want to share?!
Yes! My first novel, Bulldog! It is a tale of growing up and facing your imperfections, of embracing life’s complexities and learning finally how to confront what’s right in front of you.