My name is Hazel Bird and I run Wordstitch Editorial. Wordstitch was born in 2009 in Bromsgrove, UK. Now based in Ross-on-Wye, on the border between England and Wales, I provide editorial services to non-profits, businesses, publishers and authors around the world. My focus is on empowering my clients to confidently share their expertise and impact through clear, concise and well-constructed messaging.
You made no changes that seemed gratuitous, and made no more than necessary. I am equally amazed by your skill and by your temperament. You have made this process not only more efficient but also more painless than I thought possible.’
Deborah Tannen, Professor, Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University, USA,
and author of You Just Don’t Understand
Achieving the impossible
Once again you have done the impossible!’
Production editor, Wiley Blackwell
- Advanced Copy-Editing (Publishing Training Centre)
- Basic Proofreading (Publishing Training Centre)
- Introduction to Web Editorial Skills (CIEP)
- On-Screen Editing 2 (CIEP)
- Proofreading Problems (CIEP)
- Working with XML (Publishing Training Centre)
Other training (selected)
- SfEP and CIEP conferences (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2022)
- Copyright for Editorial Professionals (CIEP)
- Developing a Quality Editorial Process End-to-End (ACES)
- Editing in a Multilingual World (ACES)
- Efficient Editing: Strategies and Tactics (CIEP)
- Engaged Style Guides: Co-creating Standards with Your Community (ACES)
- Indexing Workshop for Editors and Proofreaders (Society of Indexers)
- Copyediting, developmental editing and proofreading of non-fiction
- Editorial project management
- Complex and multi-contributor publications
- Microsoft Word’s styles, templates and macros
- Style guides including AP, APA, Chicago/CMOS, Hart’s and MLA – or following house style or author style
- Style sheets, including creation from scratch for complex multi-editor projects
- UK and US English
- InDesign (proofreading only)
- XML, HTML and CSS
- Databases and spreadsheets
- Highly illustrated publications
- Transcription of historical documents (English only)
I started my editorial career in 2007 as a shipping coordinator for the publisher Elsevier, working with colleagues around the world. Here, much to my surprise as an English graduate, I discovered I had a knack for optimising processes and designing spreadsheets.
Next, I took these skills to a new desk around the corner (literally) as an editorial project manager of major reference works (MRWs). In this role, I was able to combine my feel for language with my new-found enjoyment of overseeing complex processes. I began working on qualifying as a proofreader and later copyeditor with the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (now the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading).
I made the choice to go freelance in 2009 and have since embraced the variety and possibilities for growth that working independently offers. Much of the first five to ten years saw me delivering academic editing, proofreading and project management services.
That academic experience now provides me with a solid grounding for editing in the non-profit and business spheres, and my skills have extended to developmental editing as well as copyediting and proofreading. Having edited and project managed over 100 projects of over 100,000 words, including nine over 1 million words, I can also offer particular expertise with complex projects.
What my clients say
‘We really enjoyed working with you and were super impressed by your positive, flexible and resourceful approach throughout. We also greatly appreciated your collaborative relationship with [the designer and publisher]. [The author] made an especial point of saying how much she had enjoyed working with you.’
– Professional society representative on a collaborative textbook project
‘Thank you for bringing your meticulous eye, extraordinary patience, and implacable intelligence to this book. I’m tremendously grateful to you for all your wonderful work.’
– Aysha Pollnitz, Assistant Professor of History, Grinnell College
‘Hazel is a very organized and detail-oriented freelancer. I have worked with Hazel on multiple projects and have always found her diligent and proactive. Her suggestions are quite useful especially in managing big MRW projects. I trust that the final product has met the standards and all the errors and inconsistencies have been resolved. I would highly recommend Hazel and really enjoy working with her.’
– Mansi Wasan, production editor, Wiley Blackwell
‘I am a (mature) PhD candidate who was advised by my examiners to seek the help of an editor in order to complete the changes they wanted to see in my dissertation. Hazel’s contribution was precise and efficient and her accuracy reminded me of the way I was taught to write English 40 years ago but over the years have forgotten. She commenced work on exactly the day she said she would, completed ahead of schedule, and was able to get my second round of comments in more quickly than expected. Her willingness to answer ad hoc questions as I ground through my own work was a tremendous added value to working with her. In short, a pleasure to work with and I could not recommend her more highly.’
– Adam Gower, PhD student, UCL
‘Many thanks for all of your work for us thus far; we very much appreciate both the quality and the speed.’
– Researcher/writer for a non-profit’s reports
‘Hazel’s copyediting was meticulous, well-judged and thoughtful. She has a wonderful eye and helped craft my rather chaotic manuscript into something far more scholarly and accurate! Her communications to me were always swift and clear, and it was a pleasure to see her at work.’
– Ben McCann, University of Adelaide
Further editorial support
Editorial support on multi-stage projects
If your project needs further editorial support, I can bring in help from my trusted network or I can happily work with your own preferred suppliers.
Each editorial professional I contract is carefully vetted, and wherever possible I engage members of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) or another appropriate organisation. I value long-term collaborations with my suppliers (just like I do with my clients), as I believe shared learning and constructive teamwork lead to better-quality outcomes.
Wordstitch’s editorial assistant
Matt does a lot of work in the background on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of publications: file clean-ups, references, coding and so on.
He has diplomas and extensive practical experience in personal training, sports therapy, nutrition and sports nutrition, and he previously spent over 10 years working with vulnerable populations for a local authority.
Matt’s work is generally invisible and you’ll rarely encounter him directly, but he is vital to the quality of Wordstitch’s work and the efficient service we offer our clients.
More about me
An advantage of working with a real freelance human is that you’re actually working with that real human – not a company and not a faceless representative. So I’ve included a bit here about what I like to get up to, as much of it feeds into my approach to my editing work.
I’ve been project-managing my ancestors since I was eight and have amassed a database of over 20,000 people with credible evidence for lines stretching back to medieval times. But it’s the personal details that I find the most fascinating – just as, in my editorial work, refining the tiniest details can help to illuminate the wider structure of a text.
Sewing and fashion history
Sewing requires patience, method and careful planning: if you don’t plan your pocket construction properly, you’ll end up with a lumpy mess or have to unpick it. Similarly, if you dive into an editorial project without heed for the author’s construction process and choices, you may find yourself reversing your edits later – or, worse, making an almighty tangle.
The Wye Valley in Herefordshire is supposedly where tourism in Britain began, and it’s easy to see why. I’m lucky to have almost endless scope for walks (#StetWalk) with my dogs. I love visiting wilder places too, such as the Scottish Highlands or the Long Mynd in Shropshire. Nothing beats their fierce silence as an escape from the day-to-day.
Last but not least, I couldn’t very well be an editor if I didn’t like reading, could I? I love how books let me enter another world, whether it’s a carefully constructed fictional universe or an author’s immersive deep dive into a non-fiction topic. As Lucy Mangan says in Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading, ‘I have lived so many lives through books, gone to so many places, so many eras, looked through so many different eyes, considered so many different points of view.’