Can I help you?

I hope so! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a big company or a private individual, if you’re producing written materials and need a second pair of eyes, then yes, I can help you.

I offer a friendly and professional quality control check for all your documents, saving you time (and sometimes embarrassment) and helping you to polish and present your work and/or your business in the best light possible. I will check all sorts of non-fiction materials before they are sent out:

  • Academic, professional and general interest books and journal/magazine articles
  • Student dissertations, theses and other assessed work (subject to conditions), as well as CVs, research proposals and job applications
  • Business and public sector documents, including important correspondence, web posts, marketing and publicity materials, manuals, tenders and corporate reports
  • Grey literature and technical reports (especially in the areas of archaeology and the environment)

I’m trained to do this (I have industry-recognised training from the most respected UK providers) and it’s what I do for a living, so I will do the job thoroughly and efficiently, to budget and on or before your deadline – and you, or your hard-pressed colleagues or staff, won’t have to divert valuable time to make these essential checks.

What services are available?

I mainly offer what are called proofreading and copyediting services. These can both be understood as technical and quality control checks carried out at a fairly late stage, when the document is pretty much written and is being readied for publication or dissemination.

In a traditional publishing process, proofreading and copyediting are the checks that take place just before a document (the copy) goes for typesetting (that’s copyediting) and the last-minute checks of the resulting typeset proof (that’s proofreading). That process still happens, and that is often what I do when I work for clients in the publishing industry.

However, there are now so many other contexts in which documents are being produced that you may well not use these terms at all, or you may understand something slightly different by them (proofreading, for example, is often used much more generally). If that’s the case, don’t worry about the terminology. What you call it makes no difference to the price, and I will always discuss with you exactly what you want.

The checks which are carried out are tailored to your needs, according to the nature of your document and the stage which it has reached, and according to your budget and what you feel you need most help with.

The sorts of checks I offer

The sorts of check I offer are:

  • Language checks: spelling, grammar and punctuation; usage (inconsistent terminology, ambiguities, repetition etc)
  • Styling and layout checks: case (capital letters), fonts and font effects (bold, italics etc); use of defined styles or tags (where appropriate); spacing and alignment
  • Cross-referencing and continuity checks: footnote and endnote sequences; citations against bibliographies; tables of contents, lists of figures etc; number sequences (headings, pages, illustrations etc); page cross-references; structural logic
  • Reference formatting checks: consistency of bibliographic listing formats
  • Edition cross-checks: completeness; OCR and other introduced errors (this is if I’m checking one version of a text against another)

I will mainly be checking that what you have produced is correct and consistent in relation to normal usage and/or, where appropriate, your own style guides or any of the standard styles (CMOS, APA etc). I may make general style suggestions, if you wish me to, but I will always take care to maintain your individual voice.

Dedicated factual/legal checks do not form part of the copyediting and proofreading checks, but you can count on me to let you know if I do spot anything in the course of my work that might be a cause for concern (possible factual inconsistencies or errors, potential legal concerns etc).

If you need more help with page layout and preparation for self-publishing, then I may also be able to help with that. Feel free to get in touch with me to discuss your project.

How I work

These days I work almost entirely on screen and via email/fileshare, and I work with authors and companies all over the globe. I run a fast Windows 10 PC with a good fibre broadband connection and both cloud and hard drive backup systems, and use a range of software (very frequently Microsoft Word, but also PDF editors and DTP software).

I keep my software right up to date (via Office 365 and other subscriptions), but can normally work with files from older software versions. I also have other software available, for text editing, data manipulation and image adjustment. If you need me to use a specific system, I’m very happy to discuss it with you.

All that said, if you would prefer me to work on paper, using the postal services, or some combination of hard copy and email, that’s still fine. Just let me know!

What it costs

Because the documents I work with and my clients’ requirements are so variable, I hope you’ll understand that it’s virtually impossible to say upfront what a particular job might cost. I will first need to assess the amount of work which will be involved (and to establish this I will normally need to see the document, or a representative sample of it) and the speed of working which is required (fast turnarounds may cost more).

There are then various options:

  • I can offer you a fixed quote for the job, which I work out based on my standard hourly rate, which tracks the CIEP (Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading) suggested copyediting rate. Most individual authors prefer this option.
  • Sometimes, clients prefer to pay according to how long the work actually takes (based on the same hourly rate, and usually with an agreed upper and lower limit) instead of getting a fixed quote in advance, and we can do it that way, if you prefer.
  • I also frequently work with big companies who want the job carried out within set project budgets, and I’m quite willing to be approached about this way of doing things.

Whichever option you choose, the process of working out a price is entirely free and without obligation, and is carried out in strict confidence. Moreover, if you’d like to check the quality of my work first, I’m happy to discuss doing a free or paid sample edit for you.