I have been an Advanced Professional Member (APM) of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) since 2011. APM is the highest level of membership and the CIEP describes achieving it as ‘deliberately tough’.
I am also a member of ACES: The Society for Editing.
I am accredited as a PRINCE2 Practitioner, a qualification I undertook in 2021 as a way of formalising and building on my prior 13 years of project management experience. You can read more about why I undertook this training here.
Language and the publishing industry change all the time, both technologically and in terms of how we conceptualise the world around us in our writing. Keeping on top of these developments is vital in ensuring that I’m always offering my clients the latest approaches, efficiencies and insights. Examples of core editorial training I have completed include:
- Advanced Copy-Editing (Publishing Training Centre)
- Basic Proofreading (Publishing Training Centre)
- Introduction to Web Editorial Skills (SfEP*)
- On-Screen Editing 2 (SfEP)
- Proofreading Problems (SfEP)
- Working with XML (Publishing Training Centre)
Other webinars and courses have included:
- 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)
* The CIEP was previously the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.
I hold a BA with first-class honours in English literature from Durham University, UK (2005). Way back when, I also earned two ABRSM Grade 8s (cello and piano), one with distinction.
My focus is always to help clients meet their goals, whether that means finding typos, enhancing a text’s appeal for its intended audience, hitting a challenging deadline without sacrificing quality, or all three and much more. Hearing from happy clients is one of the best parts of my job.
It has been an overwhelmingly good experience working with you on the final stages of our massive International Encyclopedia of Anthropology. I’m particularly grateful for the meticulous care you have taken to support our many authors whose first language is not English; and for your patience and readiness to go ‘far beyond’ in order to resolve my many queries. It has been a huge project, and I look forward with some trepidation to seeing the finished product online and in print.
- Hilary Callan, director emerita of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
I’d appreciate it if you could pass on my thanks to Hazel for her work on this – it’s been of a consistently high quality and she’s been incredibly helpful throughout the entire process.
- researcher/writer for a charity’s report
I have worked with Hazel on three books now – two were mine, the third and most recent was for an important client. Hazel is a delight to work with when one is short of time and naturally impatient. She is thoroughly professional and has the instincts to pick up a writer’s tone of voice and rhythm and match it through the value she adds to the manuscript. Her returned versions are easy to understand, adopt and go forward with.
- Tim Baynes, consultant and author
I had the pleasure of working with Hazel on two multivolume encyclopedias. Hazel is highly organised and efficient, consistently meeting tight deadlines. She possesses the clear communication skills and adaptability of a successful project manager that enable her to understand her client’s needs, plan several steps ahead, and proactively provide alternative solutions. She is extremely reliable and committed to producing a quality product. On many instances, she has gone beyond the scope of her role to add value to the project. No matter how complex or challenging the project was, Hazel always managed it superbly and I strongly recommend her.
- Genevieve Looi, production editor, Wiley Blackwell
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
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’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
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
Thank you very much for all your hard work. You have done a magnificent job with a complex and difficult book.
- Harry Sidebottom, academic and author of the Throne of the Caesars trilogy
Skills and experience
- Project management of books, encyclopedias and online content, including supplier management
- Copyediting of non-fiction
- Proofreading of non-fiction (hard copy or on screen; BSI symbols or Acrobat’s in-built mark-up)
- Developmental editing of non-fiction
- All types of non-fiction publication, including trade books, journal articles, reports, monographs, contributed volumes, textbooks, multi-author works, websites and other digital content, and business documents ranging from annual reports to prospectuses to client letters
- 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
- XML, HTML and CSS
- Image editing, including SVG, JPG and PNG to an intermediate level
- Transcription of historical documents (English only)
I started my editorial career in 2007 as a shipping coordinator for 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 new skills to a new desk around the corner (literally) as an editorial project manager of major reference works (MRWs). In this new 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. I began working mainly on academic publications, which gave me an excellent grounding in how publications are traditionally constructed and how referencing works. Although I still edit academic books, since then I have moved more towards publications in other fields: third sector and public sector, business and corporate, creative non-fiction and how-to, and education and textbooks. I also still manage and edit encyclopedias and other large works on an ongoing basis.
Mentoring and presenting
- SfEP South-West Regional Mini-conference (2018): ‘Editorial Freelancing Tips and Hints’ (panel member)
- SfEP Conference 2016: speed mentor
- Ongoing mentoring to Wordstitch’s editorial assistant
Previous experience in the book trade
- Two years working in-house at Elsevier, Oxford (2007–2009), initially coordinating and rationalising a global shipping programme and then project managing major reference works
- Two years as a children’s bookseller and events manager at Ottakar’s, Bromsgrove (2005–2007)
- Wordstitch Blog
- Regular contributor to the CIEP’s Wise Owls blog series, described by the CIEP as tips on editing and freelancing from ‘a collection of our finest Advanced Members’
- Guest blogger on the CIEP blog (Editorial Project Management: What, Who, Why?)
- Guest blogger on the Indian Copyeditors Forum (Macros and Wildcards: Essentials or Added Extras?)
Further editorial support
Editorial support on multi-stage projects
If your project needs further editorial support, we can bring in help from our trusted network of suppliers or we can happily work with your own preferred suppliers.
Each editorial professional we contract is carefully vetted, and wherever possible we engage members of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) or another appropriate organisation. We value long-term collaborations with our suppliers (just like we do with our clients), as we believe shared learning and tight teamwork lead to better-quality outcomes.
We have over 13 years’ experience working with project teams of copyeditors, proofreaders, indexers, typesetters, designers, illustrators, cartographers and printers based around the world. Whether you need us to coordinate a team or slot into your own well-established workflows, we can do so seamlessly.
Matt Wood, 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 human in a bespoke manner 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 dead relatives since I was eight years old. I’ve amassed thousands of hours of research online and in archives, and I’ve compiled a database of over 20,000 people with credible evidence for lines stretching back to medieval times and even beyond.
But it’s the personal details that I find fascinating – just as, in my editorial work, understanding the wider structure of a text is nothing without refining its tiniest details. Some of the most compelling glimpses of the real people in my history are an 1836 diary entry by my second cousin five times removed recording ‘an additional calamity in the shape of another son born today’; a 1637 marriage settlement in which my nine × great-grandmother was effectively traded into marriage by her step-brother in exchange for property rights; and some letters written by my first cousin four times removed, whose astonishing vibrancy makes her life jump off the page some 170 years after her death at the age of 16 in 1849.
Over the past five years, I’ve been working on a project delving into the history of the Andrews branch of my family, mostly based around Oxford, England. I’ve been lucky to uncover the kinds of records genealogists dream of – personal family letters, court cases, lists of property, detailed newspaper articles and even mental health records. Some extracts appear below.
My research and writing have given me a deeper appreciation of the sheer effort authors go to when they decide to see what happens if they write down a word, and then another, and then repeat that tens of thousands of times. The editor’s role should always respect this journey and seek to build on the author or client’s creative process.
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 waste time unpicking your garment to fix your mistake. Similarly, if you dive into an editorial project without heed for the author’s construction process and ‘design’ choices, you may find yourself reversing your edits later – or, worse, making an almighty tangle.
I’ve been sewing since before I can remember. I’m currently most enamoured by the Edwardian era and the 1950s. Recently I completed a dress based on an original 1952 Vogue pattern (created during Dior’s New Look era), and I’m also working on a long-term project to make a full walking outfit from around 1908 based on historically accurate patterns.
Accuracy with whimsy. Discipline with creativity. Stringency with heart. Lessons for editing and life.
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 #StetWalks with my dogs.
When I get a chance, 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 world.
Lifting and gymming
To get stronger, you have to be consistent. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, ‘There are no shortcuts – everything is reps, reps, reps.’ I love my training – I love the mental grounding it gives me and the way the effort I put in is proportional to the progress I make.
I recently hit ten deadlift reps at 150 percent of my bodyweight, and I’m currently working towards my first pull-up. One day I’d love to be able to dumbbell bench-press my own bodyweight.
For me, lifting is good, healthy discipline for life. It supports everything I do.
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.’
Recent reads (in no particular order) include Scott Lynch’s ‘Gentleman Bastards’ series, John Marrs’ Passengers, Gretchen McCulloch’s Because Internet, Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, Bill Bryson’s The Body, Jasper Fforde’s ‘Last Dragonslayer’ series, Ruth Goodman’s How to be a Tudor and How to be a Victorian, Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things, Emily Dean’s Everybody Died, So I Got a Dog, Ed Stafford’s Naked and Marooned, and a re-reading of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in its 20th anniversary Gryffindor edition.