How the process works

1. Initial Contact

You email or submit a form telling me:

  • the type of academic document you would like formatted, copyedited or proofread
  • the anticipated word count of your finished document (include Reference List and Appendices in the word count if you would like me to work on them)
  • the referencing system
  • your submission date or deadline for the editing

I reply inviting you to email me your draft thesis for a quote if I will be available within your time frame.

2. Quote

I look through your draft, noting what work I think it will require. I do a sample edit (using Word’s Track Changes function) of 3-5 pages and estimate how long it will take me to format/copyedit/proofread the whole document. I email you my suggested inclusions, the estimated cost and turnaround time plus the sample edit, and say that if you would like to proceed with a booking I will send you an invoice for prepayment.

3. Booking and Payment

We negotiate a mutually convenient week (or two) for me to work on your document. This can be changed, if necessary, to another time that suits both of us.
Your booking is provisional until payment of the invoice has been received via direct deposit to my bank account.

4. Document Editing

I request the following information from you:

  • What citation/referencing system are you using (e.g. APA, AGPS, Chicago author-date, Chicago footnoting, MLA, Vancouver…)
  • If you are using EndNote, what version is it?
  • If using EndNote or any other bibliographic system that embeds special codes, has the document you are sending for editing been converted to plain text or unformatted citations, so it does not have any ‘live’ field codes in it? The document may become corrupted if sections with live field codes are edited with Track Changes or moved/deleted.
  • What platform (PC or Mac) and word processing software are you using, and what versions?
  • Are there are particular formatting requirements that apply to your document, as prescribed by your university or the journal you are submitting to?
  • Are you happy with Times New Roman, or would you prefer a different serif typeface? Eg. for a thesis, if your university does not stipulate TNR, I recommend Constantia for body text with Calibri for headings.
  • Will you want to print the thesis double-sided or single-sided? If double-sided, I will mirror the margins and insert blank pages to ensure new sections and figures appear on a right-hand side page.

I receive your document, ideally as one file, but as an optional extra I can accept multiple files and assemble the document for you.
I do the formatting without Track Changes, and turn it on for the copyediting.

5. Your turn!

I send you your formatted/copyedited/proofread document, along with an emailed letter similar to this:

Instructions – Processing Changes

Here’s the thesis back for you to step through each ‘Track Change’ correction and comment.

I’m also sending you a doc called editing notes that describes some of the decisions I made (mostly about hyphenation, capitalisation and spelling). Have a read of that document before you start processing the changes. I’m also sending you a general document about ‘how to drive’ your formatted thesis:

If you are not sure how the Track Changes feature works, have a look at this 

Word’s default view is ‘Simple Markup’ mode but this will not give you sufficient information. Choose ‘All Markup’ instead. I recommend (even though it is laborious) that you click Accept or Reject on each change, but another option is to ‘chunk’ your acceptances by selecting a paragraph or page full of text and clicking on Accept after you have carefully reviewed that section and decided you agree with all the changes in it. If it is not clear what the change is, it is probably me deleting an unnecessary space or comma.

Sometimes students are hesitant to ‘take control’ of their thesis again after it has been edited. You should feel free to alter your text as necessary, bearing in mind that I don’t need to know what you have done. As far as I am concerned, I have made my suggestions and the decisions are now up to you. As you work through the copyediting, you should not add extra comments in order to answer my questions or discuss issues I’ve raised. The aim is to act on and then delete all the comments in the document and to accept or reject the corrections, in order to produce a close-to-final version.

If you have any questions or comments about my suggested changes, please don’t hesitate to email me (citing the section or page number), or text/ring me if you like.

6. Final check

When I get the thesis back for the final check it should have no corrections or comments outstanding.

If you would like me to proofread some newly written sections, or sections you have revised significantly, let me know where they are when you send the document back for its final check. However, if there are a lot of such sections, I would need to charge my hourly rate for the additional time to re-edit them, as per the information on my website here