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Heytherehey! Today is the official launch day of my business. Welcome to Aphrodite's Room, the blog section of my website. I’m Celise, the one-woman show that is Romance Society Editing. It took me a while to realize that my calling would be in the editing field. I just wish the lightbulb moment had gone off a lot sooner.
My Mom used to read to my older sister and I when we were younger, so I’ve always been a reader and have always loved books. I had a pretty overactive imagination, so it seemed inevitable that I needed to do something creative with it.
And so I did.
I got bit by the Writing Bug in the 7th grade. My life was pretty boring, so I lived vicariously through my friends. Any and all things were fair game and some of those things kinda-might’ve-possibly ended up in the stories I wrote. By the time I hit high school, I knew I wanted to write YA and be traditionally published.
But, after doing a ton of research, I decided that the traditional route wasn’t for me. I wanted to have complete control over the publishing process, from cover to marketing.
Long story short, my first YA romance, Undercover Love, was indie published in 2002,
And my second YA romance, Dance Jam Productions, was published in 2004.
I re-released them in 2009 with updated covers, and Undercover Love got a new title [Want to buy a copy? Just click on the images]
Even though I was writing YA, I wasn’t reading that genre. To me, it was too boring. Hah! This was mid to late 80’s, mind you, so I know the YA genre has evolved quite a bit since then. I don’t remember the name of the author or the title of the book, but it was the typical bodice ripper cover that drew me in. The next thing I know, I was drowning in the deep end of the adult romance pool. And I don’t want to be saved. #fucktheliferaft
I’m at the library every weekend, swiping the hell out of my card.
I’m cutting my teeth on Loveswept and Silhouette Desire, reading two books a day (sometimes three on the weekends, if I stayed up late). The shelf in my closet is starting to resemble a romance book end cap at a grocery store. I barely graduated from high school because I read so much. Romance books, that is, not my homework.
By the time I’d graduated from high school, I’d discovered the Harlequin line (Desire, Blaze, Supperromance, etc.). I was going to college to get a degree in English. My parents—FINALLY—let me get a part-time job while I was in school, and I was spending my own money at Barnes and Noble on the monthly buying the latest titles.
After two years of community college and two years at university (which Mommy and Daddy were paying for) in the early 90’s, I dropped out and entered the Corporate World full time.
And as we all know, the corporate world has a tendency to wear you down. Especially when you’re not doing what you love, what you want, what makes you happy.
Reading and writing was my passion.
And it would take me many, many years to do something about it.
Fast forward to 2009.
I’m still writing YA and come across 826National. After attending a couple of their Behind-The-Scenes workshops, I wanted to start a similar model here in my hometown. Once I’d made that decision, I was all in.
And by "all in", I mean…
I went back to college (after being out of school for 17 fucking years!) and got a BA in Nonprofit Management with a Concentration in Writing and Literature in 2012. I paid for that myself (and am still paying for it) with no help from Mommy and Daddy.
I came up with a name (Page One Literary Center, tag line: “Because all stories begin on page one”. Clever, I know).
I’d found people to become my board members.
I’d found another nonprofit organization that I could receive donations under until we could do it on our own.
I’d filled out the application to get my 501c3 status—and gotten it within a few months. Let me tell you, that shit was NOT easy and the application fee was kinda hefty (Thanks Mom’n’Dad for ponying up the Benjamins for my dream-at-the-time).
The next step was to start fundraising, but then--PLOT TWIST—a year after getting my degree, I put the whole Nonprofit Dream aside. For personal reasons I will not go into.
Don’t ever ask me about that application fee. I still cringe at the investment my parents made in my dream-that-never-happened. #painfulkicktothehoohah #epicfail But I’m forever grateful to have the kind of parents who invest in their children’s dreams.
Jump forward to 2018….
The Corporate World still has me under its thumb, I’m going through a divorce after 12 years of marriage (no kids and I left the furbaby with him), and living with my older sister. My sister and I both still trying to get a toehold on our passion, when I discover AWAI (American Writers & Artists Institute) aaaand promptly fall down their rabbit hole of courses.
Let’s see, there was that time I thought I wanted to be an Internet Research Specialist, a case study writer, a catalog copywriter, and have a 10-Minute Workday Email Business .
I know what you’re thinking, “Did you really shell out money to take all those courses?”
Yes, yes I did. Although I had a moment of Buyer’s Remorse the minute I bought the 10-Minute Workday course and immediately requested a refund.
But I was starting to narrow things down
Prior to all that mess I mentioned above, around 2016-2017 I remember when I coughed up $897 to become a transcript proofreader for court reporters (too technical)…
Or that time I shelled out £99.00 for the course on how to Start Fiction Editing: How to Become a Freelance Book Editor (Who’s Worth Hiring). It’s evolved into something else now. (not interested in copyediting)….
And when I went back to Caitlin and hocked up $497 for her General Proofreading course (got nervous around the practice sessions and talked myself out of not doing the final exam. #selfdoubtisafuckingbitch)
I think my Gemini nature was kicking in, making me jump in time after time and not really thinking things through. We’re known for our spontaneity.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
So, how did I become a proofreader?
Even though I hadn’t finished that other certification program, I decided to go ahead and launch Proofreading Biz 1.0 on my birthday in June 2019. The goal was to leave the Corporate World and be doing the proofreading gig full-time by age 50 (as of 2021, I'm 49).
But I kept tweaking the services I offered.
And I kept tweaking the pricing.
I got laid off from my corporate job a few weeks before Thanksgiving and with two months’ severance thought that would be the perfect time to focus on the biz.
But six months later, I had yet to garner any clients. Was I doing something wrong?
Art of Proofreading
Enter Phon Bailie and Art of Proofreading. I took her free Masterclass and contacted her with some questions. After a few days of thinking it over, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try another proofreading course that also offered copyediting elements. I got through her High-Level Proofreading Pro course pretty quickly and earned a certificate mid-December.
2020 rolls in and I’m back in the Corporate World via a temp agency. I’m still working on the biz, but seeds of doubt are starting to grow because I’m not making the progress I thought I would be at this point.
An incident within the forum of an editing association causes a bit of discouragement.
Barely a week later, another incident in an editors' FB Group causes additional frustration.
By the end of February 2020—PLOT TWIST AGAIN—I decide to ditch Proofreading Biz 1.0.
And then the pandemic hit and it was all over but the ugly-crying. Metaphorically speaking. The first week of March, I was voluntarily working from home. By the second week, it was required. At the end of March, my parents became COVID positive and my sister and I decided to quarantine with them for 14 days. Which turned into a month when my father ended up in the hospital due to his symptoms.
I didn’t think about the proofreading biz for months, but it was thinking about me. I would get the occasional reminder that proofreading was not giving up on me.
I decided to heed the call in August-September.
I went through the HLPP course again as a refresher and, in doing so, was reminded that I just want to stick with proofreading. I want to focus on just one service and be really good at the one service.
The Advantage Marketing course Phon added recently came at a really serendipitous time for me. It covers branding, copywriting, social media marketing, and email marketing. For someone who’s relaunching, it was a great foundation for me in getting a handle on how I should be marketing Proofreading Biz 2.0.
I’m currently an American English proofreader, but may branch out to British English in the future. For the time being, I just plan to stick with proofreading, but will eventually include editorial critiques as well as other proofreading add-ons such as: author website content, book blurbs, book covers, and marketing materials.
My Blogging Goals
I thank you for joining me on this journey and reading this far. I have a goal to be posting frequently, sharing editorial content, introducing you to new Society members, my life, and much more. I encourage you to communicate with me and each other, because sharing is caring. And my Mommy taught me how to share. <grin>. I hope the content you read here will help you in your writing or business journey, so please feel free to subscribe to the email list below.
Do you need a proofreader? Then click on the button below to request a quote!
Keepin' it romantic,