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I work predominantly with postgraduate textbooks in the social sciences and humanities, but also work directly with first-time and more experienced independent authors on things such as memoirs, thrillers and speculative fiction. I have been a full-time freelance since 2007.
Prior to becoming freelance, I always ended up being the local word doctor wherever I worked in central government and the private sector. I checked, wrote and fixed everything from letters full of arithmetic answering payroll complaints, to technical manuals for the staff, to information leaflets for the public, to contracts. In the end I made the decision to copy-edit full-time, without the distractions of managing staff and the day job. That depth of experience in making the complex simple is of huge benefit. (And I learned how essential it is to meet deadlines.)
Recent books now published include: It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship 3e (Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger R. Hock); The Outlaw Biker Legacy of Violence (Thomas Barker); The Mindbrain and Dreams: An Exploration of Dreaming, Thinking, and Artistic Creation (Mark J. Blechner); Neo-Tories: The Revolt of British Conservatives against Democracy and Political Modernity (1929-1939) (Bernhard Dietz); Not Doing: The Art of Effortless Action (Diana Renner and Steven D'Souza); Irish Scholarly Presence at St Gall (Sven Meeder); A New Health and Care System (Alex Fox); The Publishing Business: A Guide to Starting Out and Getting On 2e (Kelvin Smith and Melanie Ramdarshan Bold); Young, Muslim and Criminal (Mohammed Qasim); Much Ado About Nothing - A Critical Reader (Deborah Cartmell and Peter J. Smith (eds)); China's International Transboundary Rivers (Lei Xie and Jia Shaofeng); Assessing Prostitution Policies in Europe (Synnøve Økland Jahnsen and Hendrik Wagenaar (eds)); Naked Banking: The Truth About Banks and You (Stephen Hogg, Paul Riseborough and Karolina Morys); Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts 4e (David Goldblatt, Lee B. Brown and Stephanie Patridge (eds)); and Reparations for Slavery and the Slave Trade (Ana Lucia Araujo).
On-screen editing, copy-editing, editing non-native English, anglicizing, copy-editing in US English.
Practical markup of PDFs (SfEP, 2019), Adobe tools for editors (Publishing Training Centre, 2019), Brush up your grammar (SfEP, 2017), Editing with Word (SfEP, 2017), References (SfEP, 2016), Advanced copy-editing (Publishing Training Centre, 2014), Editing digital products (Publishing Training Centre, 2013), Professional copy-editing (SfEP, 2013), Indexing for editors and proofreaders (Society of Indexers, 2012), Efficient copy-editing (SfEP, 2012), Introduction to web editorial skills (SfEP, 2012), On-screen editing I & II (SfEP, 2012).
Bristol University Press/Policy Press, LID Media, RefineCatch (for Bloomsbury), Wearset (for Taylor & Francis), the Shakespeare journal for the British Shakespeare Society and the Longitudinal and Life Course Studies journal for Bristol University Press.
Qualifications and awards
BA (Hons) (Lond.) in Geography with English Literature. Mensa member since 2005.
Books, including multi-author volumes, and journal articles.
I am the author of the SfEP Guide Going Solo: Creating Your Freelance Editorial Business, published in September 2016, and I spoke on the subject of finance for freelances at the 2016 SfEP Conference.
For BookMachine, I wrote a pair of posts on tricksy authors and how to deal with them:
17 Ways to Annoy an Editor (9 April 2017)
Difficult Authors: 14 Tips for Editors (11 April 2017)
I'm a member of the SfEP's parliament of wise owls who blog with advice for our fellow editors and proofreaders.
Separately, I've published a number of guest posts on the SfEP blog:
Transferable skills and life lessons (26 June 2015)
Democratisation of English series:
Democratisation of English Pt 1: Power to the people (10 October 2014)
Democratisation of English Pt 2: Tear up the rule book? (21 October 2014)
(4 November 2014)
Democratisation of English Pt 4: And, finally, (13 November 2014)
Humanities and Social Sciences, including
- international relations
- geography - economic, transport, demographics and so on
- theatre and film
- media studies
I also occasionally work on fiction (thrillers and speculative fiction) and memoirs.
You’re brilliant - these look amazing and your attention to detail scares me a little! They’re much nicer to read now, and the style suggestions and style guide are really helpful.
Dr Matthew Whalley, author of resources for practitioners and self-help on the Psychology Tools website: www.psychologytools.com (May 2019)
Sue Littleford has been the best copy editor I’ve worked with in a long career of publishing. She is assiduous, resourceful, intelligent, detailed and efficient and undoubtedly improved the quality of our work. (Professor Deborah Cartmell, Associate Dean, Research, De Montfort University).
Sue Littleford was an excellent copy editor, meticulous, detailed and efficient. She was also extremely quick. Working with her made a potentially agonising process quite painless. (Peter J Smith, Reader in Renaissance Literature, Nottingham Trent University)
Co-editors of Much Ado About Nothing: A Critical Reader (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2018)
It is good to see that the end of the intensive editing is expected next week, but it also makes me a little sad, as I have enjoyed the process despite the late nights and occasional exhaustion.
Many thanks for the hard and thorough work, which can be seen from the attached documents. It feels like a great step towards publishing this book, but also it feels like I am into slightly unknown territory, unhinged from the safety of collaboration with you.
What a great collaboration we have had! It has felt from the start that the job is in very safe hands. I have asked myself a few times “How did I deserve to get this editor for my book?” Honestly.
Ljubomir Jankovic, Professor of Zero Carbon Design at Birmingham City University, author of Designing Zero Carbon Buildings: Using Dynamic Simulation Methods (2nd edition, Routledge, June 2017)
Brilliant. All safely received .... And all immaculately presented as ever. I like getting jobs back from you as it makes my life so easy.
Merv Honeywood, Client Manager (for Bloomsbury), RefineCatch Ltd (June 2018)
You are one of the most professional and cheery copyeditors I’ve ever worked with and it makes me feel like our book is in the best of hands.
Prof. Christoph Lindner, Professor of Media and Culture at the University of Amsterdam and volume co-editor of Global Garbage (Routledge, 2016)
It's been a pleasure working with you. Your editing is a model of precision and concision! I know you’ve made our festschrift hugely better than when you first laid eyes on the computer files!!
Bill Hickman, former Associate Professor of Turkish Language and Literature at the University of California (Berkeley), now retired and volume co-editor of Turkish Language, Literature, and History (Routledge, 2016)
Many thanks for your attention to deal and your good humour throughout the process, thanks too for the word list – I haven’t seen one of those before!
Dr Lisa Webley SFHEA, Professor of Empirical Legal Studies, Westminster Law School, University of Westminster, author of Legal Writing (4th edition, Routledge, 2016)
I wanted to let you know how much I’ve appreciated – and enjoyed – working together with you on the copy editing of our new book with Routledge, Banking Systems in the Crisis: The Faces of Liberal Capitalism. Although I’ve worked with copy editors in the preparation of academic journal articles for publication, this was my first experience with a book project; and it has been a truly rewarding one. I’ll certainly request you as a copy editor for future book projects.
From our first point of contact, you kept me informed about the process. You let me know about your availability and when I might expect each set of queries on successive chapters. And you were fantastic in liaising with others within the production chain when necessary. This helped me manage my expectations and workload in such a way that – despite the hectic time of year from an academic’s perspective – the task of progressing the book from the original manuscript to final edited copy was a smooth and painless one.
You were extremely efficient; but at no stage did I feel hurried or rushed. The clarity of your queries made it easy to respond; and you were swift in following-up on questions along the way. When I was unsure about best practice in referencing, formatting or expression, you were always able to offer advice. I was especially impressed by your attention to detail – and your surprising breadth of knowledge and understanding of our area of research. You picked up things in a manuscript that I could have sworn was clean; and you were able to query things that only someone tuned-in to the research topic would have been able to catch. You also retained the various chapter authors’ voices whilst ensuring that the book reads as a unified piece of work. All of this gives me added confidence that our book will present itself as well as it possibly can when it appears in print.
It has been great to work together on this and I look forward to the possibility of future collaboration.
Dr Suzanne J. Konzelmann, Birkbeck, University of London, Director, London Centre for Corporate Governance and Ethics, Director, Postgraduate Programmes in Corporate Governance and Business Ethics, co-editor of Banking Systems in the Crisis: The Faces of Liberal Capitalism (Routledge, 2013)
…you are the best copy editor we use and there are over 30 of them! I would like to have used you more over the last couple of years but when you are good at your job that’s how it goes…
Rob Brown, Project Manager (now retired) at Saxon Graphics, Derby on T&F and Continuum jobs, December 2015
In an email to the publisher:
Normally I don't fill out these kinds of surveys, I really don’t like them. But I took some time to fill this one out because I found the experience with the team Routledge had assembled to be so positive. … Sue Littleford was quick, careful, and very pleasant to work with as our copy editor…
And in the survey:
It was a pleasure to work with the copy editor. Sue Littleford did a fabulous job in a very timely manner. She was very easy to work, and her queries and messages were always very clear.
Dr Greg Halseth, Professor in the Geography Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada Research Chair in Rural and Small Town Studies and Co-Director of UNBC’s Community Development Institute, Canada, volume editor of Transformation of Resource Towns and Peripheries (Routledge, 2017)