Writers have a unique perspective to content that few others have, and as a result, often make excellent proofreaders and editors. Whether you’re working on a business report or a fiction novel, being familiar with the writing process and knowing what the writer goes through to communicate their message is invaluable.
I caught up with writer Briana Morgan, who has been busy with the promotion of her upcoming book, Livingston Girls. She is also a graduate of my High-Level Proofreading Pro training program. Aside from being a busy author and playwright, Briana is also a freelance proofreader, copy editor, editor, and writing coach. In this interview, she discusses her books and how she manages writing and editing.
Have you always loved stories and writing?
I’ve loved reading and writing for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, my grandfather used to make up all kinds of stories for my brother and me. Because of him, I fell in love with storytelling. As soon as I could read, I dove headfirst into every book I could get my hands on and devoured them, almost always in one sitting. It wasn’t long before I started telling stories of my own, although it wasn’t until college that I got serious about becoming a published author.
What kind of books do you write?
I write young adult horror and contemporary fantasy, along with some plays.
You also wrote a play that is being turned into an opera! Can you tell us about that?
My one-act play Touch, about a world in which physical touch has been outlawed due to the spreading of disease, will be produced in 2021 or so. It’s a longer timeline because so much goes into composing and producing an opera, and I am so humbled and honored to see my work adapted in this way. I’ve spoken a little bit with the composer and lyricist, and they’re incorporating a lot of my insight into the show. As an author, I thoroughly appreciate their asking for my advice and consulting me on their production.
Please tell us about your latest book, Livingston Girls.
Livingston Girls is a YA contemporary fantasy novel about a sixteen-year-old girl named Rose who transfers to an all-girls boarding school, discovers a coven of witches, and joins up with them to stop a witch-hunter.
What made you decide to get into proofreading and copyediting?
I’ve always viewed the editing process as the most transformative step in publishing. You can take something rough and make it shine. You can go from a bad first draft to a polished second draft, and I think that’s beautiful. In college, I took several workshop classes in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that allowed for editorial feedback, and those classes inspired me to become an editor. I also love the idea of getting paid to read books for a living!
If you want to learn how YOU can start freelance proofreading and copyediting like Briana, I have a FREE masterclass that’s available on demand.
Can you give us a peek at what your typical day is like?
I work for myself, which is nice because I make my own schedule. I wake up at eight o’clock to spend time with my partner and drink coffee with him before he goes to work. Then, I review my to-do list and dive in to my own book. At noon, I take a break for lunch, and when I come back, I work on client edits. I usually end the work day around six o’clock, have dinner, and spend the rest of the evening relaxing.
What kind of content do you work on?
I will work on almost anything, but as an indie author myself, I specialize in working with other indie authors. Most of my clients write fiction, and almost all of their work falls into the young adult category. Genre-wise, I mostly edit fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
What do you like best about being a proofreader and copy editor?
As I mentioned earlier, I love getting to read and help improve indie manuscripts. Many self-published authors don’t receive the same support as their traditionally published counterparts, and I like to provide encouragement and advice along with my edits to them. I love watching a rough manuscript grow and evolve into a published work, and I can’t explain how fulfilling it is to watch my clients’ careers grow.
Has working as a proofreader and copy editor influenced how you write?
I offer manuscript critiques, developmental edits, line and copy edits, and proofreads for my clients, so I’m essentially working at every step of the editing process. With my own work, I sometimes struggle to turn off my editor brain, especially with first drafts. It can be hard to switch over from being analytical to being creative.
Do you feel that being a writer makes you approach proofreading and editing a book differently?
Yes! I think being published allows me to incorporate more insight from that side. In addition to editing, I can provide publishing and marketing tips based on my own experiences. I can also point things out in the work that other editors who are less familiar with publishing standards might miss.
What advice do you have for people who are considering proofreading and copyediting?
Don’t be afraid to edit a few things for free when you’re starting out, but once you’ve gotten established, make sure you value your time and expertise. I see so many editors charging low because they want to get more clients, but this can lead to taking on a lot of tough manuscripts and not making enough money. Do your research, stick to your boundaries, and don’t be afraid to say no.
What did you think of learning proofreading and copyediting through High-Level Proofreading Pro as opposed to winging it with no training?
I definitely thought it was worth the investment, and compared to other programs, your course provided more practical tips for getting and keeping clients and working as an editor. I highly recommend [High-Level Proofreading Pro] to anyone who is on the fence about an editing career or is unsure where to start.
Briana Morgan is a young adult horror and contemporary fantasy author, playwright, and freelance editor, specializing in working with indie authors and small presses. Her books include A Writer’s Guide to Slaying Social, Reflections, Touch: A One-Act Play, and Blood and Water. In addition to writing, she’s also active on social media, especially on Instagram and Twitter. Visit her website for more information, and book her editing services here.