Frequently asked questions

When establishing a relationship with a client, I try to identify what they want rather than tell them what they need. Some clients know exactly what they want, while others are less certain. I agree on a brief with clients, undertaking to follow that brief and alerting them to any unanticipated work that arises as I work on the project. If a client does not have a style guide, I will explain what style system I intend to follow, for example, New Hart’s Rules and the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors.

I usually edit and proofread using Word’s track changes and comments. I make essential changes in text and use comments to suggest other changes or point out difficulties/ask questions. I return two files to clients: one with all changes still tracked and one with all changes accepted and tracking stopped. You can choose to check every change and accept or reject them individually or you can work from the version where all changes have been accepted. Some clients like to work differently, and I can usually accommodate that. For publishing clients, I follow whatever process they use, for example, tagging/coding, styles, BSI symbols and Adobe tools (for PDF).

Yes and no! Part of showing that you deserve a postgraduate qualification is proving your ability to communicate your research. I consider it unethical to make significant editorial changes to such writing, as it is YOUR work that is being assessed for an academic award. I am happy to proofread theses, as I believe that all writing benefits from the final check of a proofreader. However, there is a big difference between proofreading and heavy editing, and I will not engage in any work that might cross the line between an honest proofread and rewriting. I prefer if supervisors are aware that a postgraduate student is having a thesis proofread and will sometimes ask for proof of this. Occasionally, supervisors contact me to see if I can help a specific student. I am happy to take referrals from supervisors and, if necessary, to discuss the level of work permitted.

People write for many reasons. It comes naturally to some, while others find it more difficult. Some write because they want to; others write because they have to. Writers have different levels of education and experience. Some have had more opportunities than others to develop their writing skills, and some have had many obstacles to overcome, including lack of educational opportunities or support for specific learning needs. As an editor and proofreader, I am here to encourage and support you. I love the idea of the editor as midwife, helping a writer – in a spirit of facilitation and collaboration – to bring their words into the world. So, yes, if you hire me as your editor or proofreader I will correct typos and grammatical errors and may suggest rewording for clarity and accuracy. But I won’t judge, I hope I won’t make you feel embarrassed, and I won’t think your writing is awful!

I use AFEPI recommended rates as a guide to fees, quoting for each project individually, as client requirements vary from project to project. I can offer a per hour rate or a rate per 1000 words. I charge less than the quoted fee if a project takes less time than anticipated. Some publishers have set rates for freelance editors and proofreaders and I am happy to discuss these.