Working with diverse content can lead to a thriving editorial business. A great proofreader and editor is someone who is open-minded, and cares about their clients and the projects they work on.
Susan Rheingruber is a proofreader and editor whose love for words was instilled from a young age. Her mother was a proofreader and editor, and growing up, Susan would watch her work. Now Susan runs her own editorial business from home, finding success by working with diverse writing styles, voices, and clients, including those within the LGBTQ+ community. Read our interview with Susan to learn more about the important work she does and how she manages her busy workload.
Hi Susan! Let’s start by getting to know you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am an avid reader and have been my whole life. That, among other things, helped to develop a love for books with a discerning mindset. Funny fact: my mother used to have a library in our basement complete with a Dewey decimal system. We were required to “borrow” the books, write a book report and return them on time. This is what gave me an appreciation and love of books. I usually read on my Kindle but have been getting books from the library recently. I forgot how much I love holding a book, just the feel of turning the pages brings back such good memories.
What made you decide to get into proofreading and editing?
That’s an easy one: my mother. Because of her love of books, she was also an editor working for JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) before she retired and started freelancing as a proofreader. I’d sit and watch her using BSI markups, which looked so cool to me.
Can you tell us about your editorial business?
I perform light copyediting and proofreading for fiction indie authors. As owner of SMR Proofreading and Editing, I enjoy working in genres like mystery, YA, and fantasy.
I’m hoping to work more with authors in the LGBTQ+ community. As a part of that community, I feel I can help authors represent the diverse population honestly by bringing “normal” into everyday lives.
What do you like best about being a proofreader and editor?
It’s thrilling to be part of the exploration and journey that takes an author’s work from concept to publish. It takes hours, weeks, months, years for an author to create and develop their manuscript. They—oftentimes reluctantly—hand their “baby” to me for editing and proofreading. I make sure while I am performing my work to treat it with the care it deserves while not interfering with the voice, mood or meaning the author has established.
It’s fun—while helping the author—to learn as well. For instance, I learned a lot about Cambodia from the most recent manuscript I worked on. I would never have known so much—well, anything—about it if I hadn’t taken that job. While it can be challenging at times, I feel fortunate to “employ” myself.
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How did our course, High-Level Proofreading And Copyediting Pro, prepare you for working as a proofreader and copy editor and running an editorial biz?
HLPCP provided me with the tools and knowledge to feel more confident pursuing my passion. The vast subjects, tutorials, quizzes, workbooks, and the preparation to “hang your shingle” is invaluable. I haven’t come across much that Phon doesn’t cover in the course. She provides ongoing communication with her Monthly Group Coaching calls, accessibility to the student and alumni community, and makes herself available should you need.
How has your business impacted your life?
I definitely feel more confident, not only with regard to editing, but in life as well. I’ve had to learn, not only the ins and outs of editing, but also how to run a business. This all requires a lot of self-discipline.
Can you give us a peek at what your typical day running your editorial biz is like?
I have learned the art of scheduling which helps set the tone for the day.
Someone once told me to never open emails first; this leads you down many rabbit holes. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way. It’s still a challenge sometimes.
First thing in the morning, while inhaling my caffeine, I review my schedule. I make sure I’m on the right track for the day and nothing has come up unexpectedly. If I’m working for an author, that’s what I tackle until lunchtime. If not, I can devote more time to social media content.
Around noon I break for lunch with my wife, watching our favorite soap opera =).
After lunch I intersperse social media content and continued education into the mix.
There is never a lack of either of those. If I don’t have a job going, I’ll get started paying some bills and checking emails—I’ve given it enough time by now.
I aim to wrap up around 5 or so. If I have a deadline, I’ll put some additional time in after dinner.
About Susan Rheingruber
Susan Rheingruber is the owner of SMR Proofreading and Editing. While open to all genres, she’s presently focusing toward working primarily with LGBTQ+ indie authors. She maintains the goal of helping writers fine-tune their work to confidently represent the community she is part of. When not working, she loves to spend time reading (go figure!), watching television with her wife or playing around with her animals. She takes rescues very seriously. In fact, her last six pets, of which she still has five, have all been rescues. You can find Susan on Facebook and LinkedIn.