Proofreader in search of bestseller

From international books and website copy to PhD theses and brochures, Corten Editorial, in Branston, helps individuals and businesses to get seen in the best light. Spotting errors and tidying up grammatical mishaps, owner Lindsay Corten is passionate about helping people get their message across and preventing unfortunate typos that create embarrassing errors.

Burton Small Business takes five minutes to find out more about the sci-fi-loving bookworm on a one-woman mission to rid the world of rogue apostrophes!

What does Corten Editorial do?

My business, Corten Editorial, provides copy-editing and proofreading services to authors (fiction and non-fiction), businesses and students (undergraduate to PhD). I am particularly passionate about helping authors who are self-publishing their book and also helping small businesses to make the best possible first impression to their clients from all their written material (website, marketing brochures, case studies, presentations, etc.).

There is quite a lot more to editing and proofreading copy than just checking spellings, grammar and punctuation, though I do that too, of course (and no, you can’t just use a spellchecker – though that’s a great place to start!). As the business networking group I attend (Business Focus Burton) would tell you, I am always on a one-woman mission to rid the world of rogue apostrophes, unfortunate typos and all those grammatical errors that stop you getting your message across clearly (and drive me slightly bonkers).

Proofreading also involves a lot of consistency checks, from basic ones such as using a consistent spelling for words that can be spelled more than one way (e.g. ‘organise’ vs ’organize’), through the middle ground of ensuring you’ve used a consistent voice throughout your work (e.g. first person ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘our’, etc. or third person ‘they’, ‘their’ or using the business name), and to the more complex ones that make sure you don’t have any contradictory facts or that your main character’s eye colour doesn’t change half way through the novel. I will also check to make sure what you’ve written actually makes sense and clearly conveys the message you are trying to get across. My website explains in more detail about the other types of checking proofreading involves.

Where proofreading gives a final polish to a piece of copy, copy-editing is a little more in depth; not only are changes made to correct errors, but I’ll also be making changes to improve the flow of the sentences to make them easier to read and understand.

In both cases, I recognise the importance of maintaining the author’s voice – whether they are a business owner, book author or student – as it still needs to sound like the person who wrote it when I’m done (and not like I wrote it).

I’m also able to help with formatting documents in MS Word, where needed, and I’ll check for consistent formatting when I’m doing a proofread too.

For book proofreading, I’m able to work using either the standard BSI proofreading symbols (one of which has made its way into my logo – the delete symbol, in case you were wondering) or layman’s terms appropriate to the document type used (MS Word, MS PowerPoint, PDF, etc.).

Disclaimer: You can virtually guarantee that there will be a typo or some sort of grammatical error in here somewhere (Muphry’s law), as you can never successfully proofread your own work – no matter how good a writer you are. And that’s why you always need a proofreader (proofreaders still need other proofreaders too!). No need to tell me about them if you find any, though!

Why did you choose to set up here in Burton?

I was born and bred in Burton, came back here after I graduated from university and have stayed since then. Although I do work with several local businesses and a few local authors, as most of my work is done remotely from home (though I will occasionally do some on site work for a client), my clients’ location doesn’t impact me being able to help them. I’ve even had several international clients.

So, what makes you different?

Between graduating from university and setting up Corten Editorial in 2015, I actually had a successful 20-year career in IT as a systems analyst, business analyst and bid manager. This has given me a couple of USPs. Firstly, as you would expect, I’m perfectly comfortable with copy-editing and proofreading quite technical documents (and not just IT ones), and I’ve had several clients who work in that area.

Also, I think the many years I spent as a business analyst, helping clients to define their business requirements, has really honed my skills in terms of working out what someone really meant to say as opposed to what they have actually written, which often aren’t the same thing!

Something else that is often useful is my sponge-like memory that is full of random facts; this really comes in handy when I’m editing/proofreading, as I can often spot things that one of my authors hasn’t quite got right, factually speaking. This most often happens with fiction books, but sometimes non-fiction ones or business documents too. However, I actively don’t employ this skill when I’m proofreading students’ work that is going to be marked (I don’t copy-edit those), as it absolutely must be their ideas that are being given and not mine; I only help them to express those ideas clearly.

Finally, although I’m certainly no web developer, I know enough to be able to edit a WordPress website directly (providing the owner of the website is happy for me to do that), so it can save time for my client on a website edit as I can simply make the necessary changes rather than having to tell the client what changes they then need to make themselves. Of course, I am also happy to work the indirect way if that’s my clients preference.

 What is next for Corten Editorial?

One thing I would love to do is to copy-edit a book that goes on to be a best seller– or even a prize winner! Even better if it’s sci-fi or fantasy, which is what I mostly read for pleasure – and yes, I do still read for pleasure! I’ve not got there yet, but there are a couple of books I’ve worked on recently that definitely have best-seller potential.

Can you tell us one thing that you love about being a business owner?

I love the freedom that it gives me to achieve a healthy work-life balance (my boss is great for letting me have the odd sneaky Friday afternoon off, now and again) and also that I can now, to an extent, pick and choose which projects I want to work on. I also love that now I get paid to do one of my favourite things – reading! OK, so that’s three things to love, but who’s counting?

And finally, what is your favourite place to visit in Burton?

I am very grateful for the fact that we have so many green spaces to go for a walk (particularly in pandemic times), such as the Washlands and Branston Water Park, not to mention all the surrounding countryside. We’re also very blessed with several great restaurants (to balance all that walking!), but Pascal’s at the Old Vicarage is a particular favourite.

For more information about Corten Editorial go to https://www.corteneditorial.co.uk/ or contact Lindsay by emailing enquiries@corteneditorial.co.uk  or calling 07841 017539.

If you would like to have your business featured in the Business Spotlight then you can find out more details here including an application form and detailed questions to make it easier for you to apply.

Business Spotlight is the chance for local independent businesses to get some free publicity and share their story with the town.

From cake makers to accountants, we are looking at the people behind the business and what makes them so different and special.

Each month we will feature a different business on our website and socials giving you great exposure for your firm.

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