Louise Harnby | Fiction proofreading and copy-editing

Advanced Professional Member
Location West Cottage, South Walsham Road, Panxworth, NORWICH, Norfolk NR13 6JG
Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Mobile 07767 028 976
Web louiseharnbyproofreader.com
Twitter @Louise Harnby
Facebook /LouiseHarnbyProofreader


Proofreading and copy-editing for crime fiction, thriller, mystery and suspense writers

A Visit from the Goon Squad Burnt Island Cool Hand Luke Dot Dash Dracula Three Moments of an Explosion The Stepford Wives The Rats 

Supporting the independent author's right to write
Do you need help preparing your novel for publication? Got a question about self-publishing? Wondering which level of editing you need or what the different levels of editing are? No problem – just call or email me for an initial chat.

Then, if you think I can help you on your self-publishing journey, we can talk further about what you need from me. If I don't know the answer to your question, chances are I know a person or organization who does and I'll do my best to point you in the right direction.

No-strings resources for indie authors
I've created a hub of resources specifically designed for independent writers. They're available instantly – no email signups, no fee, no strings. Just useful stuff to make your life easier and put your mind at rest: Louise's Writing Library.

A little bit about me
I've completed over 570 proofreading and copy-editing projects for independent authors and mainstream publishers, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad and an anniversary facsimile edition of Dracula.

I've self-published myself, too – four times – so I know what it's like to walk in your shoes.

Edit with elegance, honour the style, mimic the voice(s), and respect the journey ... 
Those are my promises to you. I’ll help smooth your novel at sentence level while implementing standard grammar, punctuation and spelling. All the while, I'll respect style and voice, the world you've built and the characters who live within it.

I look forward to hearing from you!


  • Proofreading
  • Proof-editing
  • Light editing
  • Copy-editing
  • Line editing

Subjects and genres


  • Mystery, thriller, espionage, suspense and crime fiction
  • Fantasy, science-fiction, horror, supernatural and speculative fiction
  • General contemporary and literary fiction
  • Historical romance and saga
  • Historical crime fiction
  • Erotica, pornography and adult fiction

For a comprehensive list of completed works, take a look at my fiction portfolio.

You can also view my extensive academic and commercial non-fiction portfolios.

Qualifications, training and experience

​Professional affiliation and experience

  • Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP)
  • Over 25 years of publishing experience, including in-house roles with Williams & Wilkins and SAGE Publications 
  • Proofread or copyedited over 500 books for independent authors and publishing houses, including a Pulitzer Prize winner, A Visit from the Goon Squad, and an anniversary facsimile edition of probably the most famous Gothic horror novel ever published, Dracula

Training and CPD

  • Basic Proofreading – distinction awarded (Publishing Training Centre)
  • Editing Digital Products (Publishing Training Centre)
  • Fiction Editing (Copyediting master class)
  • Fiction Editing (SfEP conference workshop)
  • Indexing for Proofreaders (Society of Indexers)
  • Macros for Editors (SfEP conference workshop)
  • Sense and Sensitivity: Polishing Grammar while Preserving the Author's Voice (SfEP conference workshop)
  • Style Sheets (SfEP conference workshop)

Awards, nominations and speaking engagements

  • Nominated for 2015 Judith Butcher Award​
  • Speaker: Society for Editors and Proofreaders Conferences 2016 and 2017
  • Joint winner: Unsung Heroes of Publishing 2017
  • BA (Hons) Politics​


  • Content Marketing Primer for Editors & Proofreaders
  • Omnibus: Editorial Business Planning & Marketing Plus
  • Business Planning for Editorial Freelancers
  • Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business
  • Guidelines for New Authors: Introductory Advice for Independent Writers
  • The Mechanics of ​Self-Publishing Ebooks: 10 guidelines in 10 minutes
  • The Mechanics of ​Self-Publishing Print Books: 10 guidelines in 10 minutes
  • Student Proofreading Toolkit: Document-polishing tips & tools
  • The Author's Proofreading Companion: Document-polishing tips & tools

More information about each of these publications is available on my website.


  • Independent authors from England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, China and Australia
  • Ashgate
  • Constable & Robinson/Little, Brown
  • Edward Elgar
  • Hardie Grant
  • Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • Kogan Page
  • Out of House Publishing (for Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis)
  • Pan Macmillan
  • Polity Press
  • Quid Publishing
  • SAGE Publications
  • The King's Fund
  • Yale University Press


  • Books
  • Illustrated books
  • Short stories and articles

Equipment and software

  • Adobe Acrobat
  • PDF-XChange
  • Microsoft Office 365


I hired Louise to copyedit my entire series (ten books). I'd used multiple editors in the past, and every time they'd fallen short of my expectations. So I dipped my toe in and started by hiring her for book one, and from the first day I felt I was working with a level of professional I had never encountered before. Then when she delivered the book back to me, I rushed to book her for the rest of my series.

Not only does she catch errors and/or places that trip up the reader, but also, time after time, she gives a concrete example of how to more clearly communicate the atrocity I’ve put on the page. ‘Jeff, this is tripping me up because of this … how about trying [sentence X] or [sentence Y]?' This is invaluable to me, and I think my books now have an elevated quality I couldn't have achieved without her.

I like working with people who have strong work ethics, and they don’t get stronger than Louise’s responsiveness, thoroughness, patience, skill, and professionalism. I can’t imagine publishing another work without Louise scouring it first. I wholeheartedly recommend her services ... Just don’t hire her when I need her.

Jeff Carson, mystery & thriller writer

Working with Louise is a delight. The attention, the super quick copy-editing turnaround of the first chapters of my new book – she made sure it was in perfect condition for my agent to submit. This is the third time I’ve worked with her and she’s terrific. Highly recommended. ​[Book three]

​Impeccable again. Sincere thanks for your all your terrific work. [Book two]

Sincere thanks for a beautiful and elegant piece of work. First class. You are a delight to work with. [Book one]

J B Turner, crime & thriller writer

Louise is a delight to work with and has an incredible eye for detail.
[Book one}

Excellent work again. Many thanks!
​[Book two]

Andrew Langley, supernatural thriller​ writer

Louise is a reliable and diligent proofreader. She consistently delivers on time and to budget and, moreover, understands the sometimes-conflicting requirements of in-house staff and authors. A true professional!

Ian Antcliff, managing senior editor, SAGE Publications

We have been using Louise as a regular proofreader for around nine years, and have always found her diligent in her attitude, accurate in her work and utterly reliable on her dates.

Neil de Cort, production manager, Polity

Louise is always one of the first I will check for availability when I need to place a job. Her onscreen mark up is especially meticulous and I trust her to always do a thorough proofread. Her work is always delivered to deadline and she is a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend her.
Rebecca Hastie, senior desk editor

Louise is a highly reliable, enthusiastic and trusted proofreader. She always delivers on time, on budget and to a consistently high standard. It is a pleasure to work with her.
Suzanne Giles, deputy managing editor

Louise is my trusted go-to proofreader for the most gnarly projects that land on my desk. These, quite often, tend to be law books, where the necessarily complex subject matter is often accompanied by densely populated footnotes which need the high level of attention to detail and consistency that Louise brings to project after project. She never misses a deadline (she usually beats them), and is an absolute pleasure to work with.
Madhubanti Bhattacharyya, desk editor

Edward Elgar Publishing

Louise is an excellent proofreader. She’s extremely reliable and always delivers on time.
Nicola Lovick, former managing editor

Louise Harnby consistently provides top-quality work, and she is punctual, reliable and a pleasure to work with. I have no hesitation in recommending her.
Clive Hebard, former senior desk editor

Constable & Robinson/Little, Brown

I want to thank you again for the outstanding work. You were a rare find for me. Not only did you complete the work within the time-frame promised, but the quality exceeded my expectations considerably.

Ron Brock, independent author

Thanks so much for the fantastic work! Delighted with it.

Rob Aspinall, independent author (three-book commission)

As a proofreader, Louise was great to work with. It was easy to establish a trusting professional relationship with her and she was always 100% professional in all she did, including meeting deadlines. She is clearly very experienced and knowledgeable about publishing standards and I also found real value added in her occasional copyediting suggestions. I also found her flexible and responsive to an emergency situation I found myself in, and greatly appreciated her willingness to go the extra mile. I recommend her without hesitation.

Alexander Murray, independent author

Louise is an extremely dependable proofreader. She has been a key supplier to us for many years and her flexible and friendly approach make her a joy to work with. Top qualities: great results, personable, high integrity.

Jo Bottrill, managing director, Out of House Publishing

Louise is an absolute pleasure to work with. She always completes work on time, is extremely thorough, and her proofreading skills are second to none.

Richard Mark Smith, independent author

A million thanks – your mark-up is perfect, as always.

Jen Hamilton-Emery, co-director, Salt Publishing

Louise provides an excellent proofreading service. She is helpful, friendly and provides additional support to aspiring authors. I am happy to recommend her proofreading services and I look forward to working with her again.

Mary Fraser, independent author

Just wanted to let you know that I'm delighted with what you have done. The difference truly feels like night and day.

Kevin Duncan, independent author