My mission is to help authors get the best out of their writing
I am an English-language copy‑editor, proofreader and text (layout) designer with more than a decade of experience editing academic, literary and healthcare policy publications. I grew up in Poland and moved to the UK just after uni (I graduated summa cum laude with an MA in English Literature and Language). When I came to live in London with my English diploma as my only qualification, everyone thought I was bonkers. I did, too, but I really wanted to make it work and so I thought I'd give publishing a go. To my delight, I soon found a job as assistant scientific editor at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I stayed there for the next 10 years, loving every single thing about editing.
As editor at RCPsych Publications, I saw a great deal of manuscripts into publication: I edited several dozen books, manuals and reports, and hundreds of journal papers. I designed books, reports and magazines, brochures, leaflets, invitations, information guides and book covers. Since 2014, I have also worked as a freelance copy-editor and proofreader.
I'm an Advanced Professional Member of the UK Society for Editors and Proofreaders and member of American Copy Editors Society (ACES) and of Mediterranean Editors and Translators.
If you're reading this, you're likely looking for someone who can polish your manuscript, or perhaps design a report you've had accepted for publication. I work in three main areas of text production and I can help you at each of those steps.
Copy-editing requires in-depth engagement with the text. I'll read your work for sense and clarity, looking out for anything that weighs it down and makes it hard to follow: repetition, grammar, inconsistent spelling, ambiguity, missing information, missing (or too many) references. Perhaps it’s too formal or too colloquial for its intended purpose? Perhaps the sentences go on forever and you've forgotten by the end what you've wanted to say in the beginning? Or perhaps it was written by a bunch of authors and each section reads like an individual piece of work, with no consistent voice? We’ll address all that.
If I spot any gaps in your argument, I’ll point them out. When working, I’ll put myself in your reader’s shoes and will ask the questions that they may be wanting to ask you when reading themselves. After all, if anything is unclear to me – and I’ll read your work very closely – chances are, your reader will also stop and wonder. We'll help them avoid that. If your publisher (or organisation) has a house style, great – send it over and I’ll apply it with delight and devotion. I’ll work on the structure of the text, its logical progression, and introduce subheadings if I feel they’re helpful. I can also apply formatting if you need me to. We’ll work on the manuscript until you’re happy to submit.
During the editing process, I will have questions for you, which I’ll mark up on the manuscript, so please factor that in when planning copy-editing. You’ll need time to think about them, address them and I – to take them in.
When to employ a copy-editor?
Perhaps counter-intuitively, working with a copy-editor will be most effective, both time- and cost-wise, at a final draft stage, when you’ve finished revising. The tidier the manuscript, the less work there will be for a copy-editor (fewer rounds of revisions, fewer queries = less time) and, more importantly, the less cost to you.
Proofreading is a less intensive form of text checking that comes at a final stage of document production, just before sending it to print or submitting for publication. It’s an essential step to ensure a quality final product. It can be done both on a typeset proof (nowadays PDF but I also work on hard copy) and on a manuscript. Publishers and journals will send typeset proofs to a proofreader, but if you’re working on a report that will only appear in Word then I can also proof a finalised (signed off) Word document.
No matter the format, the principles are the same: I will read the text to look out for typos, punctuation errors, anything that may have slipped out at an earlier stage (e.g. a table has disappeared or an image has moved to a different page and its previous text reference doesn’t make sense any more – things like that). I’ll check the table of contents, chapter titles, running heads, index, pagination and bibliography, and make sure everything is as it should be. As the document has already been copy-edited (it has, right?), proofreading is not the time to make any major corrections – there may not be enough room in the production schedule. So plan your work well and make sure you have it edited first.
3. Text design
I love designing documents, so if you have a report that needs a fresh look or need to produce a book, then why not see what I can do for you? I’ve published some of my favourite designs on the Projects page. Take a look!
I work with a range of clients and offer:
- copy-editing (in MS Word using track changes and notes, using tags if needed)
- journal papers, book manuscripts, book chapters, reports
- language editing (for authors whose first language is other than English)
- PDF proofs, Google Docs, Word documents, on paper using standard BSI copy marks
- text design
- creating bespoke layouts
- creating templates for documents, books, booklets, invitations, forms, reports
- polishing translations
- I work on texts translated into English from the European languages (Polish, German, French, Norwegian, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Belorussian) as well as Hindi and Arabic
- editorial consultancy
- manuscript assessment
- house style creation
I work to fixed rates, which depend on your requirements. We'll agree a fee upfront, so you can budget for the work and there'll be no surprises down the line — talk to me about your project and I'll prepare a quote.
Q1. What value can you add to my work?
A fair question! OK, so maybe you're an author or an academic or a communications officer who has just written a book, a paper or a report, and you want to submit it to an agent, a journal editor or your supervisor. You've read it so many times you're afraid to even open the file on your screen, can no longer stand the look of it, and you can even recite some parts of it from memory! You've given it your all and now it's ready. But before you send it off, you'd like another pair of eyes to be cast over it, someone who's objective, unbiased and knows a thing or two about spelling — and I can help. Get in touch, tell me about your text and where you'd like to take it (to this or that journal, or to your demanding supervisor), and we'll work out what's needed.
I'll look at things like consistency, the tone and appropriateness of language, cross-check those dreaded references (you probably don't like checking them, but hey, I do!), tidy up formatting and make sure that nothing is missing. I'll read for sense and check with you if anything sounds off. I'll make polite suggestions and propose alternative approaches (if needed), and I'll make sure the spelling is tip-top. I'll be your first friendly, curious and diligent reader, but not the kind that calls you out on a missed word or a typo — the kind that has your back. And don't worry, I'll never make any changes to your work that you won't see; I work fully in track changes, so you'll retain full control over your words.
Q2. Will you make my text perfect?
I'll do my best! But I'd like you to consider what SfEP has to say about perfection.
Q3. I was told by a reviewer that my manuscript needs to be proofread, why are you saying it needs copy-editing?
Proofreading can sometimes be used as shorthand for copy-editing, which can lead to misunderstandings. If your copy-editor and reviewer are at odds here, it's best to write to the person handling your paper at the editorial office and ask for clarification.
Q4. I only have an idea for a project/a first manuscript draft so far, will you be able to give me an estimate of the cost of you copy-editing/proofreading/designing it?
I'd love to hear about your project and if it's in its early draft stages, I can offer you a manuscript assessment. I'll read your work and make recommendations on the next steps forward, advise on any additional reading material that may be useful for you at this stage and generally help in any way I can. If it's too early for us to work on a copy-edit, then I'll do my best to refer you to a colleague. Then, if you like, we can schedule some future time for a proper copy-edit when your manuscript is in its final draft.
Q5. I'd like to know how you work.
To get us started, drop me an email about your project, mentioning your needs, aims and timelines (we can also schedule a telephone chat). Please also include a sample, preferably from somewhere in the middle of the work. If you are a new client, I'll edit a 2-page (500-word) excerpt, so that you'll see how I work and whether we're a good fit. If you like what you see, I'll provide a cost estimate, we'll set our dates, and I'll get down to work!
- As a copy-editor, I have a huge respect for the written word and you as the author. So I will always do my utmost to make your work as clear and polished as possible, and to help you come across in your writing the best you can be, but it will always be your work, your name and your style. Every author, manuscript and publisher is unique in their own way and I will help you make the best decisions for your circumstances.
- I understand deadlines. Please let me know early on if you are under any time pressures and I will do what I can to give your project the time and attention it deserves. If you're very close to your deadline and we'll have to work over the weekend, then a rush rate may apply.