Freelance Editorial Services


I don't like to send a job back unless I feel satisfied that I have made some material improvement -- normally by drawing lapses to the authors' attention rather than hacking their work to bits unasked, though if you want a hatchet job my blade is always ready sharpened. And if you really only want copymarking for the typesetter, you can have that [yawn].

Feedback is hard come by in this game, but I get enough to reassure me that my work is first-class. When an author phones you at home on a Saturday [from Sweden] to say thank you, or specifically asks that a subsequent book be copyedited by whoever did his last one, you have to be doing something right. When an author asked to re-hash some garbled, if fairly elementary, physics replies "Please will you do it: you will do it better than I would", you can be fairly confident that you are delivering the goods.

A few comments by publishers and authors

I was previously remiss in not telling you that I have never come across such professionalism as you have shown. I am sure there were times when you were deeply frustrated (to use a mild word!) at all the chaos you saw in my write up. It was a gigantic task and yet you were incredibly polite in dealing with all those issues. Many, many thanks for it.

Thank you for putting considerable effort into improving the clarity of the text. I particularly appreciated the alternatives you offered on many occasions.

Thank you for sending me the comments of the copyeditor, and I would be glad if you would thank him for his careful reading of the manuscript.

Len, just a brief note before I leave the office to let you know that you have done an absolutely marvelous [sic] job on the [author] ms!!!!!

I just wanted to let you know that Professor [name] was very impressed with the work you did on his manuscript and asked us to pass on his thanks.

The authors have said that they are really pleased with how the copy-editing process went they say you picked up on a number of issues which they missed, and they felt they had an open channel of communication with you throughout.

Repeatedly Ive noticed how you have improved the text; that is greatly appreciated.

I think Len did an exquisite job and found several things which we missed.

It was a pleasure working with you. I am very happy that got someone as experienced and expert as you to do the editing.

I had Prof. ____ on the phone earlier today going through the author queries with us. He was very impressed with the questions you were asking and with your editing. {smiley face}

[The author] is really delighted with the result. He praised all our team... The cooperation between us was excellent all the way through, and special thanks go to Len Cegielka, whose great copy editing added immensely to the quality of the book.

[Relating to a review that had said "The third notable feature is the written style. While retaining a high degree of scientific precision, the book makes for very pleasant reading." The publisher wrote:]

And as we all know what the original language looked like, the style is what we have to thank you for ... Congratulations.

I was very impressed with the thorough job you did on the proofs. As was my Director. Have you ever considered doing any text development work?

[From a non-UK researcher who sends me his (biomedical) papers for copyediting before submission:]

I don't think at all that your comments might be superfluous! Contrariwise in my work group no manuscript is submitted any more before it is seen by you.

[From various Acknowledgements pages:]

Len Cegielka, my eagle-eyed copy-editor. This book has greatly benefited from Len's experienced and professional critique. I'm sure he is well aware of the considerable extent of his contribution, and doesn't need me to tell him that he really has made a material improvement. So instead of that I will just express thanks for a job very well done.

In the last stages of this project, I received help from, and would like to thank, Len Cegielka Len was of immeasurable help, copyediting the final text with good humour and in record time. An author could not dream of a more painstaking or sensitive copy editor.

Once again, the diligent copy-editing and challenging questions asked by Len Cegielka helped the authors and editors, we hope, to express their thoughts clearly, concisely, and accurately.

Len Cegielka, copyeditor, for tackling the onerous task of copyediting with such care and humour.

[From an Acknowledgements page of a (very odd) book I worked on before becoming freelance:]

No small part of the reason for the assured success of the book is owed to the well-informed and sympathetic guidance of Len Cegielka and the willingness of the staff of [publisher] and of [typesetter] to adapt to the idiosyncrasies of the authors, who grasped every opportunity to modify grammar, strain semantics, pervert punctuation, alter orthography, tamper with traditional typography and commit outrageous puns and inside jokes.

Pre-Freelance experience

I have been in publishing for 40 years [see my CV] in copyediting, production, editorial and managerial roles, dealing with journals, books, professional publications and colour magazines, so I understand the interdependent needs and problems of my clients and their authors -- not just the basic formalities of "mark-up".

Freelance experience

I have worked on a wide range of topics including mathematics, mathematical economics, physics, chemistry, computer science, mechanical, civil and electronic engineering, philosophy, medicine of all types, nursing, mental health, biochemistry, molecular biology [plus birdwatching and Accident Prevention for Hotels, Motels, and Restaurants!]. Types of book handled include standard research texts, lower-level text books [graduate to GCSE], handbooks, encyclopedias, and laboratory manuals. I have also edited theses and pre-submission papers as well as working "privately" for authors on books before submission. List of book titles.

I am fully familiar with US style, having worked on many books for US publishers or specified for US style. I am also familiar with several clients' XML-first systems -- and their oddities -- and am happy to work that way as well as on good old-fashioned "raw" files.

I work largely on books but have copyedited and proofread several journals for over a decade and at various times have worked on a number of journals on an ad hoc basis. List of journal titles.

I edit both books and journals on-screen [of course] but I still do occasional jobs on good old paper.

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