Vanessa Plaister

Advanced Professional Member
Location STREET, Somerset
Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  • Skilled and sensitive copy-editor working exclusively on-screen in MS Word, leveraging strong capabilities with templates and macros (as well as other advanced Word features) towards outstanding consistency, efficiency and accuracy, with an acute focus on raising quality and lowering subsequent typesetting and proofreading costs
  • Attentive proofreader working most commonly on-screen in Adobe Acrobat, drawing on 15 years’ publishing experience to suggest solutions in the event of problematic proofs
  • Additional skills include project management and legal tabling, as well as Anglicisation/Americanisation and substantive rewriting
  • Media worked on include books (single-author and multi-contributor; print and/or e-books), journals and magazines, learning materials (print and online), reports (business and government), promotional and procedural documents (business), theses and dissertations, and websites, while authors have included renowned legal authorities and users of English as a second or other language
  • Wide range of clients includes academic, non-fiction and children’s publishers, third-party production suppliers and government agencies, as well as independent authors and local/national businesses

Relevant experience

  • Community director, SfEP, Sept 2018–present
  • Local group coordinator (Mid-Somerset), SfEP, Sept 2014–present
  • Freelancer, artisan|editor, Apr 2006–present
  • Production editor (magazines), Institute of Financial Services (now London Institute of Banking & Finance), Mar 2005–Apr 2006
  • Production editor (learning materials), Institute of Financial Services (now London Institute of Banking & Finance), Dec 2003–Mar 2005

Qualifications and CPD

  • BA (Hons) (1st) English and American Literature (University of Kent at Canterbury)
  • SfEP Conference 2019
  • Creating an Inclusive Culture (ALPSP) 2019
  • SfEP South-West Mini-conference 2018
  • Getting Work with Non-publishers (SfEP) 2017
  • SfEP Conference 2017
  • Efficient Copy-editing (SfEP) 2010
  • On-screen Editing 2 (SfEP) 2010
  • On-screen Editing 1 (SfEP) 2010
  • Basic Editing (PTC) 2006
  • Writing for the Web (PMA) 2005
  • News Writing (PMA) 2005
  • Indexing for Editors (PTC) 2004
  • Management of Production (PTC) 2004
  • Managing Editorial Freelances (PTC) 2004
  • Scheduling and Production Control (PTC) 2004
  • Proofreading for Editors (PTC) 2004

Note: ALPSP = Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers; PMA = PMA Media Training; PTC = Publishing Training Centre; SfEP = Society for Editors and Proofreaders

Recent clients

  • Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Gosbrook Professional Publishing
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Oxford University Press (OUP)
  • Parragon
  • Various third-party suppliers (for Routledge and other publishers)
  • Various independent authors and non-publishing businesses


  • More than 350 titles copy-edited, proofread and/or project managed since 2006
  • Extensive experience of law and law-related titles spanning more than 100 titles for a range of publishers and independent authors
  • Subjects most commonly covered (in order of prevalence) include law, law-related, financial services and banking, business and management (including human resources management and marketing), and humanities
  • Additionally regularly work on children’s books, spanning board books aimed at 0 mths upward, through picture books, activity books and brand magazines aimed at various ages between 0 mths and 12 years, to L1/L2 maths qualifications
  • Demonstrated ability to apply skills to wide range of less commonly covered subjects ranging from asthma (causes, symptoms and treatment) to zoo animals (care and management)
  • Keen to work further in areas including feminist and queer commentary, language and creativity, and journalism and public affairs


Law: civil procedure; commercial law; company law; comparative law; competition law; constitutional law / administrative law; contract law; criminal law; criminal litigation; evidence; employment law / labour law; EU law; European law; equity and trusts; human rights law; intellectual property law / patent law; international arbitration; international human rights law; IT law; land law / property law; media law; medical law; mental health law; professional conduct; shipping law / maritime law; tort

Law-related: civil disobedience; feminist perspectives on law; indigenous Australians and the law; just war; law and negotiating power; legal ethics; legality of boxing; medical law and ethics; restorative justice; transitional justice

Finance: banking; banking law / banking regulation; complaints handling; deposit protection and bank resolution; documentary credits; equity release; financial advice; financial capability; financial services; home finance; international financial services; international sale of goods by sea; Islamic banking and finance; mortgage advice; pensions; personal finance; principles of lending; securities operations / securities compliance; sovereign debt management

Business / business studies: corporate social responsibility; directors’ responsibilities; human resources management / personnel management; international human resource management; management development; management and leadership; marketing fundamentals; marketing research; organisational behaviour; public relations

Humanities: child abuse; child development; creative teaching; educational effectiveness; EU institutions; journalism; language and creativity; politics; public affairs


A pleasure to work with, Vanessa has consistently proved a diligent and most reliable freelancer. She is excellent at comfortably tackling complex projects, and she creates excellent working relationships with authors and in-house staff alike. Most of all, upon handing over a title to Vanessa, I find I am able to rest at ease that the title is in highly dependable hands.

Matt Baldwin, Oxford University Press

In 2013, when I wrote the first edition of my book Professional Conduct Casebook, I was fortunate indeed to be introduced to Vanessa by my publisher Oxford University Press (OUP). Vanessa proved a wonderful copy-editor, and I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for her helpful, courteous and supportive advice on my typescript. I am quite sure that the book would not have come to fruition without her careful eye to detail. We worked so well together that, in 2015, I specifically asked OUP to secure Vanessa’s professional help with the second edition. Once again, her support was invaluable and, as I prepare to write a third edition for publication in 2018, there is no doubt that I shall be asking to work with Vanessa again.

Kenneth Hamer, author, Professional Conduct Casebook (OUP, 2013; 2nd edn, 2015)

We asked Vanessa to edit and format some 80+ procedural documents to resolve issues of consistency and quality that had developed over time. Communication and momentum was excellent throughout the project, with Vanessa letting us know well in advance of anything that may become an issue. One thing that really stood out is her attention to detail in ensuring that all quoted matter and references were spot on and up to date, and I really could see the value of the service provided.

We had no idea how much the documents could be improved when we started the project and we’ve been really pleased with the outcome. We can safely say that we now have a complete set of high-quality procedures and recent audits have praised the standard of the work that has been carried out. I would definitely use Vanessa again for document editing and control.

Daren Crosbee, plant manager, UniTech Services Group Ltd

Vanessa is a sensible and sensitive copy-editor, ­with a good grasp of the subject matter of my book (Retail Banking), which allowed us to resolve a number of queries very quickly.  I found Vanessa’s work to be thorough, accurate and consistent throughout the small number of iterations of the editing process.  I am very pleased with the outcome and consider the work to have been truly a team effort – with Vanessa as the remarkably agile goalkeeper.

Keith Pond, author, Retail Banking (4th edn, Gosbrook, 2017)

An exceptionally thorough and conscientious editor, always goes the extra mile, without compromising deadlines. An extremely capable project manager, even on the trickiest projects. Always provides a first-class service.

Marie Smith, freelancer (formerly of Institute of Financial Services)