John Firth Proofreader & Copy Editor


I work with publishers, public bodies, companies and individual authors to ensure that their words are presented as clearly and accurately as they would wish. I've worked on fiction and non-fiction publications ranging from an online comic to academic legal texts, from the annual Pensions Pocket Book to fantasy stories for children, from academic, popular and local history to a professional looseleaf, updated quarterly, and its accompanying website, and a large range of corporate material, from reports to catalogues to websites. Although naturally I specialise in particular subjects (see below), I believe I provide better value for all my clients by keeping aware of developments in many areas of publishing.

Individual authors and organisations publish a vast range of printed, virtual, audio and video material. Some I will be qualified to help with, some I won't, and the majority probably falls between these poles. I would be happy to discuss your project, and to tell you whether or not I can help.

Before your work is complete, it may be sensible to put it through development editing, a high-level analysis of your text to identify and deal with any problems in style, organisation and structure. Some clients require additional writing or rewriting, organisation of materials or permissions to be obtained. Once the work is complete, copy editing involves a detailed analysis of your text and a search for inconsistencies, clarity, inaccuracy or ambiguity. When copy editing electronic and online texts, I can also test internal and external links, assess structure and ease of use, and review pages containing help, subscription details or terms and conditions for completeness or comprehensibility.

If your work is going to be printed or downloaded, the copy-edited text may need to be laid out (which might involve typesetting). Proofreading is normally a narrowly technical search of a typeset text or final layout for misprints, spelling mistakes and layout errors, although if time is tight what effectively amounts to copy editing might be attempted at this stage.

These are all services that I can provide.

If your work needs an index (see the link below), this will usually need to be prepared while the proofreading is taking place.


Areas of specialisation

History and biography (British, American and European, 19th century to present), finance and economics (especially pensions—below are links to projects I work on), the law (UK and EU law, international trade/investment/intellectual property law, human rights law), woodwork and ceramics, games and puzzles. Informed interest in literature, music and the cinema.

Professional standards

I am an Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). As such, I am bound by the Society's Code of Practice.

To see my credentials as a proofreader and copy editor, download my CV in PDF format.


© 2018 John Firth