About

The short version

Experience

  • Full-time freelance copyeditor and proofreader since early 2021

  • Over two years of experience across different editorial roles in-house

  • Professional Member of the CIEP

Education and courses

  • Introduction to Fiction Editing, CIEP (2022)

  • Adobe Tools for Editors, PTC (2021)

  • Essential Copy-Editing: Editorial Skills Two, Distinction, PTC (2021)

  • MA (Honours) Classics and English, First Class, University of St Andrews (2018)

The long version

Educational and professional background

 

I have an MA (Honours) in Classics and English, First Class, from the University of St Andrews.

In 2015 I did an editing internship in the publications department of Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. I’ve always loved art and art history, so it was a wonderful context in which to develop my editorial skills. I got to learn about the entire editorial process in practice, not just theory, and helped to proofread the exhibition catalogue Munch: Archetypes. I have also done editorial work for Fernando Villaverde Ediciones as a result of contacts I made at the museum.

After graduation I worked for Birmingham-based charity The Vegan Society as Communications Assistant. After some months I also became Assistant Editor of the charity magazine, The Vegan. I was the in-house copyeditor and proofreader for all sorts of publications, both print and digital. I wrote the style guide that the entire organisation continues to use, and I was frequently asked to review documents and provide advice on matters of style beyond grammar.

Even though I already had significant professional experience and a relevant academic background, I wanted to consolidate my knowledge and make sure that there weren’t any gaps in my editorial skills, so I got in touch with the Publishing Training Centre (PTC). The PTC offers thorough, assessed distance-learning courses with the support of a tutor who is an established editorial professional. Based on my background and experience, I was advised to jump straight into ‘Essential Copy-Editing: Editorial Skills Two’. I completed this course in 2021 with a distinction (apparently one of two people to get one since the course started!), as well as the ‘Adobe Tools for Editors’ course. In 2022 I completed the CIEP’s ‘Introduction to Fiction Editing’ course.

 

I am a Professional Member of the CIEP. You can find out more about what this means here.

I have now been freelancing full-time for about a year, and I would love to help you make your words the best they can be.

About me

Over the past few years I’ve lived in Spain, Scotland and England, and I am now based in Bergen, Norway. When I’m not reading for work (or for fun), I like listening to music, cooking, birdwatching (not just sanderlings) and hiking.

 
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About the name

How did I end up with a slightly unusual name for my copyediting and proofreading business? I didn’t want to tie my personal name to my professional brand, and yet another play on words about writing and books seemed a bit unoriginal at this point.

So, why Sanderling Editorial? Sanderlings (Calidris alba) are tiny and absurdly cute wading birds found all over the world’s coasts. Their name possibly comes from the Old English for ‘sand ploughman’. But more importantly, editorial work reminds me of the way sanderlings behave. Sanderlings feed by running up and down sandy beaches with the ebb and flow of waves, picking at seemingly empty spots in the sand that actually contain a wealth of small invertebrates buried in there. Likewise, copyeditors and proofreaders spend their time combing through texts, often picking at tiny things that you might not even realise are there, like extra spacing, inconsistent spellings and unnecessary punctuation. Although we aren’t able to feed on misplaced commas, ultimately this is what allows us to eat in a way, so maybe it’s an even more apt metaphor than I originally realised!

Like any metaphor, the similarities stop at some point – the way copyeditors and proofreaders work is a lot more logical and organised than just running up and down your text all day long picking at small things. We also add things when necessary and look at the big picture, structure, organisation and many other important features of your text, which sanderlings aren’t known for. (Most copyeditors and proofreaders also don’t need to go to the Arctic circle to have copyeditor and proofreader babies, don’t change plumage colours depending on the season and can’t do rhynchokinesis, just to name a few other differences.)

Finally, look at how cute my logo and illustrations are – an upper-case letter in a fancy-looking serif font or some red proofreading marks simply couldn’t compete. All illustrations by Adam Duncan.

 
Black and white illustration of a sanderling feeding