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I have worked with words throughout my career. My degree is in English, and during thirteen years in marketing I was responsible for direct mail copy and the company's collectors' club magazine, which enabled me to develop excellent attention to detail before I went freelance in 2004.
I believe that effective editing and proofreading require proper engagement with the text, and that a good understanding and working knowledge of the subject matter can make a real difference. It is also vital to ensure that the writer's voice is maintained while being aware at all times of the needs of the reader.
In recent years I have especially enjoyed working with first-time authors and self-publishers, helping them to ensure that their work is in the best possible shape for publication. Literature, popular music, art and architecture are areas of particular interest, to which I can bring a good level of knowledge and familiarity.
Copy-editing, copywriting, on-screen editing, proofreading, rewriting
Books, e-books, sleeve notes, company literature, illustrated books, magazines, multi-author books, newsletters, travel guides, websites
Qualifications and awards
BA English Language & Literature, PGCE (Secondary English), City & Guilds Licentiateship (LCGI) in Editorial Skills
Freelance since 2004
Tutor for the Publishing Training Centre's Basic Proofreading distance learning course since 2009
Introduction to fiction editing (SfEP) 2019, Efficient editing (SfEP) 2018, Practical mark-up of PDFs (SfEP) 2017, On-screen editing 2 (SfEP) 2011, On-screen editing 1 (SfEP) 2010, Basic proofreading by distance learning (Publishing Training Centre) 2006, Proofreading for accreditation (SfEP) 2005, Basic editing (PTC) 2005
Arvon Foundation, Bitter Lemon Press, Bloomsbury Academic, Bradwell Books, HarperCollins, The Literary Consultancy, Medieval Institute Publications, IB Tauris, Tale Trails, Taylor & Francis, Tetragon Publishing Services, University of Cumbria
Architecture, art, biography, education (secondary), English language, English literature, fiction, history (heritage, local), literary studies, literature in translation, manufacturing (ceramics), music (general, popular), marketing, politics (British), sports (general, motor, soccer), tourism/travel (general, UK), transport (general, canals)
Ian is an astute and reliable copy-editor and proofreader. He always delivers on time and I’m happy to recommend his services to others looking for a talented freelancer.
Alex Billington, Tetragon Publishing Services
Checking back through my records I realise that Ian and I have been working together for over 15 years. During this time Ian has taken in his stride British dialect, ghost stories, murder stories, family walks, specialist local history and visitor guides, providing timely responses to manuscripts of varying lengths, returning thoroughly checked work along with constructive comments. In an age when people rely (way too much) on spellchecking software, a 'proper' book is proofread and copy-edited; it is money well invested and can save some embarrassment after it is too late to make any changes.
Ian has also been generous with his grammatical knowledge when I am trying to untangle a particularly tricky bit of text, or when I have a bee in my bonnet about something I have read or heard.
Chris Gilbert, Marketing Manager, Landmark Publishing; Production Coordinator, Bradwell Books
As a first-time author I originally thought the editing and proofreading was going to be painful. Fortunately, working with Ian it turned out to be a great experience! I found him to be extremely knowledgeable, he did a great job guiding and teaching me, and most importantly he delivers exactly what he says. I genuinely can’t thank him enough for his exceptional work, I know my book is much better for it. I’ll be using him for all future work!
Liam Eves, author
After four books, I can attest to Ian Howe’s thoroughness as a proofreader. Ian hunts mistakes in pursuit of the perfect manuscript. He’s obsessed with accuracy. Besides punctuation and grammar, Ian applies his experience and knowledge to fact-checking and word choice. His timely response, clear communication, and straightforward manner almost make receiving a “red marked” manuscript enjoyable. He responds to questions with friendly, educational emails, sometimes peppered with humor. Ian provides clear instructions on an ms submission and creates a style sheet tailored to an author’s preferences. His query list before he completes the final version is easy to follow. Ian’s a master of grammar and words and inspires confidence that his final copy is of the highest quality.
Charles Puccia, author
Ian’s changes made the text in my novel more accessible to the reader, and his instincts for clarifying the English language are well honed. In terms of picking up anachronisms, I couldn’t fault him. His proposed time frame to carry out the work was two weeks, which he delivered on. Overall, Ian is thorough and professional in his work, and as a copy-editor, I can’t recommend him enough.
Nick Sanders, novelist
Ian's input is accurate, sympathetic and helpfully creative. Turnaround is quick too. Within only a few days texts were clearer and more complete, so that I felt far better prepared for the next stage. A hugely valuable part of the process.
A. Smith, fiction