I have been a freelance proofreader and copy-editor for the past 15 years. During that time, my clients have included publishers, self-publishing authors, businesses, charities, government advisory bodies, as well as students, including ESL students from all over the world. I have proofread hundreds of dissertations over the years, including PhDs and research papers.
Before deciding to go freelance, I worked in the public sector, including the BBC. I worked as a legal proofreader for various London law firms, and have in-house editorial experience. I am passionate about words and books, and feel a sense of achievement when I send a final version of a manuscript back to a client, knowing I had a role in its production.
You only have to do a quick search on Google to know that there is a bewildering number of proofreaders and copy-editors, all providing the same services and all vying for attention. So, you might ask what makes me so special?
I don't profess to be better (or worse!) than any other proofreader; however, when choosing someone to edit your manuscript, you might want to consider a few points.
Firstly, check whether they are suitably experienced and qualified. Proofreading is not just a case of reading something and picking out punctuation and spelling errors. It is a skill that must be learnt. If it doesn't state on their website, then ask the proofreader where they trained and qualified and whether the course is recognised by the SfEP. For example, I trained and qualified at the Publishing Training Centre.
Secondly, are they registered with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)? The SfEP is a professional body which upholds editing standards and requirements within the publishing industry. Although this may not be essential in your search for a proofreader or editor, it is worth bearing in mind that, for anyone to be registered with the SfEP, they need to show that they have attained sufficient skills and knowledge via a recognised course, have passed stringent tests, can prove they have sufficient experience and can provide references. I am proud to be a Professional Member of the SfEP.
Ultimately, it is your decision who you choose, as you must feel comfortable with the person in whose hands you are entrusting your work, over which you have toiled and sweated for months, even years. However, at least by considering the above points you will be better prepared!