Prior to design and/or artwork stages, copy-editing ensures copy is clean, clear and accurate. Looking for consistency and conciseness, as well as checking grammar and repetition, it improves the flow, readability and sequencing of text. This can be be invaluable, for instance, when content has been compiled from a number of contributors and authors or has evolved over time.
Working on digital files, laser prints or printers’ proofs, as well as websites in development, proofreading is the final quality check for errors and consistency before publication.
Annotating supplied hard-copy pages in red pen, amendments are identified within the text and in the margins. This physical copy is then returned to you to select and make adjustments to your master version.
Using electronic ‘track changes’, I work on supplied digital Microsoft Word files, identifying required or suggested amendments in standard digital annotation, and then emailing the newly-saved file to you to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ advised or suggested changes.
Similar to the above Word/text documents, supplied PDFs are marked-up electronically and returned so you can edit your master version.
Websites and online content
Depending on your preference, proofreading comments are either annotated on electronic screenshot PDFs of web pages or provided as an itemised list of amendments.
Guidelines or house style
If your organisation adheres to specific guidelines or a house style, your documents can be read in conjunction with these.
Proofreading against existing documents
If a previously marked-up hard copy or file is supplied, I can check your new document against this to ensure amendments have been corrected (and indicate any remaining discrepancies, so you can decide if these changes are still valid).
Documents can simply be read in isolation, without reference to other versions, which I mark up in any of the ways described earlier.
Copy is crafted from supplied information/brief with a view to accuracy, consistency, sensitivity and optimum readability. As an example, I provide copywriting services for clients in the music business – including artists, agencies, recording labels and performance venues (especially in contemporary jazz) – who require album-release PR, sleeve notes, website biographies, concert programme notes, general website content, etc.
PRICING AND BRIEFING
As the subjects and the scale of projects I work on are so diverse, it is mutually beneficial to calculate my quotation on the basis of our email/telephone conversations, to gain clear insight into your requirements. My rates are competitive, but specifying an hourly rate alone can be meaningless without grasping the detail, complexity, simplicity or specific nature of your job.
Particularly with proofreading and copy-editing, having sight of the work (or a visual sample, along with a description of the extent of the finished article) helps to achieve a fair and considered quotation. It can also be useful to learn something of the background to the project and to be aware of the final output format, including the processes involved, if being printed.
It’s important to submit your documents to me at a stage when you know that they have been completely signed-off and will not undergo any further authors’ changes following proofreading, to avoid the risk of unchecked errors slipping through afterwards. Finally, it’s necessary that timeframes and deadlines are mutually agreed and understood.
The accuracy of your content reflects its integrity – so it makes absolute sense to have your hard work independently checked and enhanced, prior to publication, rather than leaving it to chance.