Angie Baxter, copy-editor/proofreader

“Angie is a brilliant proofreader.  Her immense talent is matched only by her dedication.  She does not miss a beat.”   
John Baird - Chair, New Writers UK

Welcome to Angie Baxter, a freelance copy-editor and proofreader.

Tell us about yourself?

I was born in Dublin but moved to the UK in 1978.

How did you get into the world of publishing?

Quite by accident! A friend – an author and editor who had considerable experience with some of the big publishing houses – set up her own publishing company and asked me to help on the admin side. One day, she asked me to do some proofreading. A daunting task, I thought, but I found I had a flair for it. I learnt a huge amount from her. After a couple of years, I got a job as a desk editor with Croner Publications, where I honed my skills. Two years later, I went freelance.

How long have you been working freelance as a copy-editor/proofreader?

For over 14 years.

How would you describe copy-editing?

For me, copy-editing is about helping the text to flow, so that it can be understood on the first reading. A reader shouldn’t have to reread a sentence to figure out the meaning.

How does copy-editing differ from proofreading?

Traditionally, proofreading involved checking the typeset work (the proofs) against the copy-edited manuscript to ensure that all the changes and instructions have been picked up. Nowadays, proofreading is often done ‘blind’ (without the original manuscript) – checking spelling, grammar and consistency within the text, and page numbering, etc in the typeset book. Think of it as “quality control” – a vital part of production. Copy-editing is far more involved, and could include restructuring as well as rewriting.

Do you prefer to edit non-fiction (manuals and reports) or fiction? And is there a different approach to editing these?

I don’t have a preference. It’s all about crafting with words and helping to get a message across, whether it’s a financial forecast or a who-dunnit! But the approach is very different. Business reports are factual documents; the reader needs to be able to extract the required information quickly, without having to wade through too much waffle and over-long sentences. There’s no emotion involved. A novel, however, is someone’s baby and must be handled with care! Here, it’s essential to maintain the author’s voice when editing. It’s important that the author knows that any changes I make are merely suggestions to improve readability. I’ll sometimes just highlight sentences/paragraphs that don’t work for me, but leave it to the author to rewrite if he or she thinks it necessary. “But you haven’t understood!” Well, yes, but if I haven’t understood, maybe other readers won’t either.

Do you read the manuscript first, before you can provide a quote? Or do you have a set fee per 1000 words?

My standard fee for copy-editing is based on the assumption that a work will require a certain amount of rewriting. Of course, some may need little more than a general tidy-up and consistency check. If that became clear after a few chapters, I’d be happy to renegotiate.

If an author has a manuscript that they need editing or proofreading how should they contact you?

I don’t care how they contact me, as long as they contact me! But it’s probably best to phone me on 07988 699 073 or email me at I find Skype very useful for discussing work with clients.

What is the most common mistake that you notice?

It’s mostly mundane: misused commas and apostrophes. But I often see ‘only’ in the wrong place, and ‘not only…but also’ used incorrectly.

What are your favourite books?

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks has been at the top of my list for years. I’d no interest in the First World War until I read this, but it brought it all so vividly to life. As a result, I visited the Somme. Walking through the trenches and fields, and those vast ordered graveyards, was very moving. I find it impossible to come up with words to describe the feeling when I first saw the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, inscribed with over 70,000 names.

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is another must-read.

I’ve tried – and failed (for now) – to read Ulysses.

Do you have any pet hates?

Indeed I do: the use of ‘impact’ when ‘affect’ or ‘influence’ (and many others) would be more appropriate. We hear about companies being impacted by the recession. Why not damaged or hurt? Or X having a great impact on Y. Why not say that X influenced Y? Although such uses of ‘impact’ are widespread and accepted, I feel they weaken the word. What happens when we want to describe a car crash? We need to keep ‘impact’ for when something forcefully hits something else…or to refer to those wisdom teeth that refuse to emerge!

Any final words of advice for authors?

Once the editing process has begun, work on just one version of a file (whether it’s a chapter, a set of chapters, or the whole book), which goes back and forth between you and your editor. Continuing to work on one version of your manuscript while your editor is working on another is a recipe for disaster. It’s also essential to proofread (preferably more than once) after copy-editing. Minor errors can slip through the copy-editing process, as the emphasis is on readability and content rather than on the minutiae of commas and colons. My heart sank when an author once said to me, “It’s OK, I proofread it myself; it’s gone to the printers!” Yes, my worst fears were realised. Believe me, quality control is worth the extra outlay.

I agree. The other one is when they say, “My friend proof read it.” This makes about as much sense as letting your uncle write your final chapter.

Thanks, Angie.

Angie Baxter will be attending the New Writers UK, Festival & Fayre, in October. Details on the website

Asking the questions was John Baird, who adds, I don’t care how experienced or skilled the author may be, every novel needs to be edited and proofread. In the hands of an expert, like Angie Baxter, this can make all the difference to the final book. I have recently been fortunate enough to work with Angie, and I have been VERY impressed with her input.

Angie Baxter
Angie Baxter
Freelance copy-editor and proofreader
Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders
Tel. 07988 699 073


Keepers Lock - A Cut Through Time: Reviewed

As regular theatre/concert goers (at least twice a week) and boat owners, my wife and I were pleased to see the advertisement in New Writers UK for the new musical, ‘A cut through time,’ written by NWUK member, Suzie Litton-Wood.
We booked our tickets and travelled over to Chesterfield for the afternoon performance on Saturday July 23rd. As we had just spent a week at the beginning of the month cruising on the beautiful Chesterfield Canal we were quite excited about the prospect of the show. We were not disappointed. The performance was at the lovely Pomegranate Theatre and was an absolute triumph. ‘A cut through time’ is an illustrated musical journey back in time to the great era of canals. With a highly accomplished cast of five, which included a narrator, we were treated to a musical feast that transported us back 200 years then took us forward to the demise of the canal network in the 1960’s. The show included original songs and poetry written and performed by the cast which told the story of the greatest transport revolution of its time. Our enjoyment was substantially enhanced when the excellent singing and poetry reading was backed by original photographs showing the history of the canal network and the people who worked on it. The cast wore authentic costumes (with numerous costume changes) and delivered their songs, poems and lines in a highly professional way.  The show was nostalgic, interesting, fast paced and highly informative.  At times it was also very poignant and upsetting.  Even this battle scarred writer had a tear in his eye when the story of Billy the horse was told.‘
A cut through time’ is a veritable delight and Suzie-Litton Wood is to be congratulated on both her writing and singing skills. I urge you to find when the next performance is and book your tickets.

David Zelder
July 25th 2011


New Writers UK in the news

NWUK member: The new J.K. Rowling and the next Harry Potter?

Could a retired school teacher from Shropshire really be on the cusp of taking up J.K. Rowling’s mantle? The final Harry film is released this week, leaving fans searching for a new literary thrill, and Catherine Cooper’s series of books looks set to fill the void for both booksellers and Hollywood .

Catherine’s first book, The Golden Acorn, was the overall winner at the inaugural Brit Writers’Awards in July 2010. Full of twists and turns, it sees the hero, Jack Brenin encountering talking ravens, mystical prophecies and magical creatures and exploring mythical landscapes. The book is an entertaining and exciting tale from a very talented new author and has been a huge hit on Amazon’s Kindle with nearly 100,000 downloads this year. The sequel, Glasruhen Gate, was published in March 2011. Readers, especially in the USA , are lapping Cooper’s work up and praise for her books is abundant.

Infinite Ideas has recently signed a five-book deal with Cooper to publish the entire Jack Brenin series and has optioned movie rights for The Golden Acorn with Los Angeles based Delve Films.

David Grant of Infinite Ideas says, “We’re thrilled by this partnership with Delve. It’s a testament to the word-of-mouth interest that this book has gained as well as the increasing awareness of the Brit Writers’ Awards. Our own online and e-book campaigns have proved incredibly effective. The Golden Acorn, with its beautiful mix of mythology and magic, has really struck a chord as the outstanding Amazon reviews demonstrate.”

So maybe with the boy wizard disappearing into the distance, it’s time for JKR to step aside and let Catherine Cooper and Jack Brenin take centre stage.

Infinite Ideas will publish three more Jack Brenin titles in 2011 and 2012, Silver Hill, The Lost Treasure of Annwn and The Oak Lord.

For any enquiries or interviews please contact:
Tim Moore at Infinite Ideas on 01865 514 888 or email


New Book. Good Cause. BUY IT!

If you like true stories, inspirational biographies that will charge up your positivity batteries or even inside gossip on what it's like to be on the BBC's What Not to Wear programme then this book has all three, and more.  It tells of an ordinary woman who made an extraordinary impact on those around her, raising thousands for cancer charities during her short life.  After her death in 2009 from a secondary diagnosis of cancer, Fiona Crompton's diaries tell how she gained the strength to cope, fight and be happy.   All proceeds go to Cancer Research UK (Fi appeared on the TV ad campaign) and Walk the Walk (Fi took this challenge many times, including during her final treatment of chemotherapy).  Buy it and feel all warm and fuzzy that you have donated to charity.

Choosing to be happy when life tells you otherwise

To find out more visit


Hucknall Book Day

We had over 30 stalls at our Hucknall Book & Craft Day. A big THANK YOU to you all. Especially LIA GINNO, DAVID BOWMAN (BlueWood Publishing), GLORIA MORGAN, MAUREEN NEWTON, DENIS ROBINSON, PETE DAVIS (Storytellers of Nottingham), NIGEL PICKARD, MEGAN TAYLOR, GINGERNUT BOOKS, DIANNE PHILLIPS and the staff at the John Godber Centre.


For a year now they have been producing a monthly e-newsletter that features authors from NY Best Sellers to the rising stars of today.
Each issue has a fun theme to tickle your imagination: British authors, exotic locations, Murder at Work, Paranormal Police Procedurals & PI’s, Historical Mysteries, and Romantic Suspense.
Each feature includes the following:
  • Colorful book covers with click through to the author website
  • Book description
  • Reviews
  • Buy Now click-throughs to Amazon for zippy fast purchase
  • Want to read more about the featured authors, or revisit one you read about last month?  A left hand column has all of this year’s author websites.
They have come a long way in one year, from the first issue of five authors willing to take a chance on a brand new entry into an industry full of internet information to almost a hundred authors in the 2011 line up.
There is also an interactive yahoo group where you can talk to the authors, ask questions, post reviews, opinions, and just talk about books!  To Sign up for this group, find out more about All Mystery! or receive your free monthly newsletter visit 


Hucknall Book & Craft Day

Event: The Hucknall Book & Craft Day 2011
Date:  Saturday, July 9th, 11am – 4pm
Where:  The John Godber Centre, Hucknall NG15 7FQ

Craft stalls, Publishers, Authors and much more...

This free event is will appeal to crafters, readers, and writers alike.

Throughout the day the Lovelace Theatre will feature a variety of book and craft stalls where visitors can chat to authors, writers’ groups and local crafters. Whilst there will be a series of talks and workshops (in the Byron Suite) designed to bring out your creative side. Craft lovers can make bracelets, create fabric hearts, or discover how jewellery can be made from plastic. Book lovers have the unique opportunity to hear from different publishers (including Weathervane Press), learn the secrets of story-writing, or listen to Pete Davis (Storytellers of Nottingham) discussing ‘imagination with organisation’.
Children are also welcome as there will be an activity table and face-painter on hand. There is even a story-hour for the under 7s (taking place at the Sure Start centre).
Local interest comes in the form of the historian, Maureen Newton, who is giving a talk: ‘Hucknall in Print: a wander through the pages of books written about Hucknall, with a look at the lives of the authors’.
Refreshments and parking will be available at the centre.

This event is being run by New Writers UK with support from Nottinghamshire County Council.

2QT Publishing’s Second Authors’ Day

Saturday 30th July 2011
Following on from the success of their Authors Day last year they are running another event. Their second Annual Authors Day will be held on July 30th 2011 from 1.30 – 4.30pm at their offices (4 The Stable Yard, Dalton Hall, Dalton lane, Burton in Kendal LA6 1NJ).
It is open for anyone interested in self publishing their work, what is involved, and how it all works. So whether you have already written your manuscript or are just thinking about it you would be very welcome. They will have some of their authors there who have made the journey to share their experiences. There will also be cover designers, typesetters, editors and proofreaders in attendance, as well as some marketing experts to help with any questions you may have. 
To find out more about this event contact 2QT via their website.