I began proofreading and copy editing at a young age, correcting my older sister’s spelling when we were still in elementary school and played “School” together during our summer breaks. To be honest, my perfectionist nature did not go over well with her back then. It did, however, bring me great joy to fix her mistakes.
I followed that love of words, correcting errors, clarifying ideas, and making people’s words flow more smoothly throughout my college years.
I then spent more than 20 years in the business world, correcting countless errors in the writings of my employers and co-workers. I was counted on for copy editing, proofreading, and often writing letters, legal documents, policy and procedure manuals, grant proposals, job descriptions, and just about every type of written material a business can produce.
I designed, wrote articles for, and proofread newsletters. I wrote the copy for and created flyers, promotional materials, booklets, and pamphlets. And that was in addition to the day-to-day responsibilities of my positions, which ranged from receptionist to office manager.
In 2013, I decided to change my career path and return to doing what I enjoy most — helping people improve their writing. As a freelance copy editor and proofreader, I have worked on a wide variety of projects, from product descriptions to full-length novels. I soon realized, however, that I could do a better job for my clients if I narrowed my focus to a few specific niches.
When choosing those niches, my background pretty much insisted that I include business documents, from business plans to grant proposals. And while I love the whole storytelling process, I most enjoy having a hand in telling stories that help people or arm them with information they can use either personally or with their businesses.
Content marketing and non-fiction both fit that criteria. They both also allow me to constantly learn about new technologies, business practices, philosophies, and a host of other ideas that I wouldn’t otherwise have ready access to.
Additionally, I love the very specifics of my work. With clients using different style guides, both established ones and client-specific, I have to stay on my toes to make sure every piece is written to the particular style and brand voice that needs to come out.
I also love coffee (a nice dark roast with a touch of cream) and spending time with family and my cat, and taking drives through the beautiful mountains of central Pennsylvania.
If you write blog posts, ebooks, full-length non-fiction, newsletters, marketing brochures, or any kind of business document, I can help your writing shine. Whether you need basic proofreading or extensive copy editing, I can tackle it without tearing you down. What you’ll end up with is your voice, your style, your words — polished to perfection.
Contact me today to discuss your project needs!
I provide three levels of service to meet your needs: basic proofreading, copy editing, and deep editing. Read about each of the services below and let me know which service you’re interested in.
I’d be happy to review your piece, or a section of it (depending on how large it is), so we can discuss your needs and how I can help.
Proofreading is the last step any writing project should go through before being published.
I will eliminate typos, spacing issues, double words, missed words, or misspellings. I will also ensure consistency in style elements, such as the use of en- and/or em-dashes, serial commas, capitalization of terms, etc. I will correct noun/verb agreements and/or grossly incorrect grammatical issues.
I will not make suggestions regarding rewording sentences, optional wording choices, or reorganization of the material.
Proofreading is the final step, after all the writing and editing is completed, and you are happy with the way the piece reads.
Copy editing is typically the service most writers request, and it does include a high level of proofreading.
At this service level, I will go through your document and make sure the wording flows smoothly, is appropriate for your intended audience, and adheres to your chosen style guide as well as your brand voice and image.
Grammar, punctuation, word usage, verb/noun agreement, consistency, syntax — all the mechanics of writing are covered.
If your writing style includes short, choppy partial sentences, I’m not going to change it to make it sound like a properly written English essay. On the other hand, if a piece is being directed to tech company CEOs, I’ll take that into account.
I typically make changes to your Word document, using the track changes feature so you can see every change I make. If you use Google Docs, I can either make the edits directly or make suggestions. We will discuss which process you want me to use before the project begins, to ensure you’re happy with the results.
Writers who create longer pieces, such as full-length manuscripts, often need some help organizing their material. This is when deep editing is appropriate.
I’ve also provided this level of service for companies when they want to revamp their website to provide the same information in a new, fresh way. Deep editing of a website includes copy editing and proofreading so the site is free of errors.
Deep editing of a manuscript is geared more toward getting your material in shape. We will work together to arrange your material into a cohesive written piece, and there will be significant sharing of material back and forth as changes are suggested and made.
A great deal of copy editing is included with deep editing, but manuscripts should still undergo a thorough round of proofreading afterward to ensure the smallest details are corrected.
If you know which level of service you’re interested in, or even if you don’t, contact me today so we can discuss your needs and how I can help!
Barbra Harper's clients say what's on their minds:
I decided to start my own copy editing and proofreading blog because I see so many questions asked time and again, and sharing my knowledge with you is what I’m here for.
Please take a moment to share a comment, thought, or idea for future posts. You can comment on the posts themselves, or shoot me an email. Whatever makes you happy!
I hope you gain some understanding and knowledge, as well as some entertainment along the way.
Welcome to my blog!
Most freelance writers don’t have their own copy editor even though there are serious advantages to having one. Some of your clients have their own editors who will review your work, but it’s more likely that they don’t. Just think about how many articles you’ve seen online with errors in them. Would you want your …