with Learn Freelancing and The Pocket Book of Proofreading - from 


MAY 2024

Thank you to all readers and in the US

Including UK readers!

A long-term goal has been to write a revised edition of

The Pocket Book of Proofreading. Although change is ongoing everywhere very fast,

you'll still find good, helpful information and advice in the book.


What is onscreen edting/proofreading?

How is it done?


Onscreen proofreading is the process of reviewing and correcting text on a digital screen, such as a computer or tablet, instead of on paper. It is a common practice in today’s digital age, where most documents are created and shared electronically. Onscreen proofreading can be done using various tools, such as PDF editors, word processors, and online proofreading software123.

Proofreading onscreen can be more efficient than proofreading on paper because it allows for quick and easy editing, highlighting, and commenting on text. However, it can also be more challenging because it requires a different set of skills and techniques than traditional proofreading. For example, proofreaders must be familiar with digital markup tools and be able to read text on a screen for extended periods without experiencing eye strain or fatigue1.

There are several tips and tricks that can help make onscreen proofreading more effective. For example, adjusting the brightness and contrast of the screen, using a larger font size, and taking frequent breaks can all help reduce eye strain and improve concentration. Additionally, using custom stamps and symbols, such as those provided by the British Standards Institution (BSI), can help streamline the proofreading process and make it more efficient.

Overall, onscreen proofreading is an essential skill for anyone who works with digital documents, and it requires a unique set of skills and techniques to be done effectively. With the right tools and strategies, however, it can be a highly efficient and effective way to review and correct text.




WELCOME to Learn Freelancing Proofreading & Copy-Editing and The Pocket Book of Proofreading. Beginners welcome too



From 1st March 2024: Suggested minimum freelance hourly rates for Proofreading (£29.85) and Copy-editing (£34.70)



Thank you (all Readers) for your support and interest! And all those in the US and Canada too.

Especially recent reviewers on Amazon. I don't know who you are just now but my best wishes and thanks.


NEW! Thanks to Susan, a reader who is currently taking the Learn Freelancing course.



NEW! Written by someone incapable of being a proof reader or copy-editor!


New: A grammar article you'll find helpful!
Also an expensive but popular read: Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable 


Name change: The SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders) has changed its name to CIEP (the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading. Find a link to CIEP here


A small proofreading exercise: Try it! Twenty errors to find.

And the answers!



Over 600 new titles to be published on September 3rd, 2020. More this year 2022. All of these books will have provided mainly freelance work for copy-editors and proofreaders to get the perfect finish.


New suggested minimum rates to charge: see below.

Possibly of some interest to writers.

New: Here is a great in-depth article about the importance of good editing habits for nonfiction authors.



Published by First English Books (262pp). Since 2007

The place to learn about freelance proofreading and copy-editing from home. It's never too late to start!


Thanks to Nicholas for this: 'Great book. Nice to read a book on this subject with a great deal of humour.'

Thanks to Amelia for this: 'I would like to ask for a PayPal invoice for the download version of the Learn Freelancing Proofreading & Editing Course.'


And to Wendy for this recent review:


'This book covers every aspect of proofreading, and then some. Whilst aimed primarily at those setting out in a career in proofreading, it is also useful to anyone engaged in the writing process. As a writer, I wanted to improve my use of grammar and punctuation and this book has helped me to do [that]. Written in an easy to read style, it still manages to educate and inform in all the relevant areas. It gave the difference between the UK and the USA, which was extremely helpful. I read the book over once to get a general overview. Now I am studying it more intensely. I am sure I will be referring back to it many times over my career. An excellent little book which is worth every penny.'


If you would like to leave a review (positive ones preferred!), you can do so here.


The Kindle version of The Pocket Book of Proofreading works fine too. Thanks again to Readers in the UK, USA and Canada and elsewhere. To proofread successfully you need to know about the three kinds of proofreading/editing. These are:

a) as per normal using proofreading marks on a typescript
b) using Word's 'Track Changes' to make changes to a Word document, and 
c) using the 'yellow note' facility if you are sent a PDF copy. This is very easy to learn.

Note: More detailed descriptions of b) and c) above are given in the Learn Freelancing Course (Download Version), which is a natural 'follow-on' from the proofreading book, if needed.


An old favourite but still good reading, at any time of year!  

What can you expect to get paid for proofreading and copy-editing? The Society for Editors and proofreaders (SFEP) has a page just for this. See here.


--  Thanks to Anita for this review just received:

'Just a few lines to let you know that I’m thoroughly enjoying the above course - its a gem!
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for a great book and course.
Best wishes.'


NEW: Some proofreading quotes. See below

'I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.'

― Oscar Wilde


'It's good to get paid for checking other people's work but more rewarding when a publisher sends you a payment for doing it'.


  • LEARN freelance proofreading and copy-editing at home at your own pace
  • The Pocket Book of Proofreading is one of the best paperback books on proofreading you can find, with mainly 5-star reviews
  • Completely up-to-date course as well, available as a download as well as hard copy 
  • Learn how to earn extra income from home and read for profit
  • Work from home full or part time as a freelance proofreader and/or copy-editor. Beginners welcome at any level - with reasonable spelling!
  • Advice on finding work and contacts to follow up
  • Money-back guarantee with every Learn Freelancing Proofreading and Copy-editing Course. The proofreading course an optional extra if required
  • The Pocket Book of Proofreading now also available for download as a popular Kindle edition 
  • The Pocket Book of Proofreading provides you with a professional service through Learn Freelancing, with free email advice for any queries, getting started and finding work
  • Spend less money on dubious (and excessively expensive) alternatives
  • Training proofreaders and copy-editors for over 20+ years
  • Current hourly rates for proofreaders are around £28 per hour.
Want to learn about freelance proofreading and copy-editing? Try Learn Freelancing and The Pocket Book of Proofreading (262pp.) Simply 1) Buy the book from, 2) make sure you read the book in full and complete the exercises (works well with the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors), 3) You can try the Learn Freelancing course later, if wished (a download version is available).

"I have been "doing a bit" of proofreading and copy-editing over the years. I have paid over two hundred pounds for a correspondence course and bought several hallowed tomes on the subject... There is a wealth of knowledge from someone who really has been there and done that! I highly recommend this fantastic resource and I shall refer to mine often."


As from 1st March 2024: Suggested minimum freelance hourly rates for Proofreading and Copy-editing as noted by sfep, Society for Editors and Proofreaders, now renamed as CIEP, the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading

                           proofreading £29.85 p/hr         copy-editing £34.70 p/hr



Learn all the real secrets of successful freelancing for publishers. 

Work from home, full or part time. 


NEWS: over 5 million people in Britain now work from home (2023) with more expected next year. 

Entrepreneurs, people running their own businesses -- and some editors, freelance proofreaders, and copy-editors!

Britain leads the world in book publishing (The Times). 'The UK publishes more books per person than any other country in the world...Last year British publishers brought out 184,000 new titles and revised editions.' Plenty of work for freelances.

Good news re work just received!

'I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for your excellent proofreading course. I have been offered work with a publisher that specialises in my favourite field...' Kate T.

Any questions? Please contact the editor. 

Simply send your email to

Here is a useful link re British and American (US) spellings: British (Queen's) versus American English Spelling

English grammar hints and tips about 'proofreader' and 'proof reading'



PS: Welcome endorsement. 'Hi William, I am teaching a session/joint conference in York this year and wondered whether I could use Exercise 2 (pp. 177-8) of the Pocketbook) as a quick test for people who come on my session. Will acknowledge you and the book.'


Brave move: Another freelance takes the plunge. Have a look:

It's called Nature Edit. Have a look. A perfect name for someone specialising in natural history. Well done to Liz. 

Liz is a very talented zoologist who is also an experienced and talented freelance writer, editor, copy-editor and proofreader.

Here she explains the difference between proofreading and copy-editing. (Currently on maternity leave)



If you like the idea of working from home as a freelance proofreader, Learn Freelancing can show you how - beginning with The Pocket Book of Proofreading.

William Critchley originated his editorial/proofreading course many years ago, making it the first course of its kind. His editing experience spans more than two decades. Since then, the course has been continually updated and revised - to the point of perfection! 

You can see for yourself if you read a copy of The Pocket Book of Proofreading. All the essential information is here. Beginners are welcome too.

Proofreading at a deskWorking in publishing is stimulating and rewarding but you need to acquire the right skills. Freelancing can offer you the opportunity, after training, to be sent proofs (typescripts of books) either by post, direct from the publishing house to your home address or online through the Internet.

This skill can pay you around £22-25 an hour, and £29 plus for copy-editing. Rates do vary between publishers and when starting out you may be fortunate to get £18 or £20 per hour. If you find two or three publishers to send you work you’ll be kept busy all the time, and enjoy the freedom of earning extra income from home. Competition can make it tough to get started, however, but Learn Freelancing gives you the best possible start.

The Pocket Book of Proofreading contains 262 pages filled with tips and essential information - knowledge at your fingertips. The book cover is glossy laminated so it will last longer as your reference book.

Learn Freelancing is also the only course provider offering an instant PDF download of a proven course with all the proofreading marks in the correct colours, making the course exceptional value for money. There's no need to spend hundreds of pounds on the old, 'laggard' courses to learn this skill. Distance learning has never been better - with Learn Freelancing!

Save money in October 2023 too, with the extra discount on the Download Version, saving £24.90 on the full cost of the Learn Freelancing Course! (You can also pay with PayPal.) The course provides much more practice! And you can follow your own progress.

To order your course (the Download Version) with the discount, when you have finished reading the book and completed the exercises in it, please click here. NB: You have to read the book first to learn 'the nuts and bolts', so to speak, so start with this first, and decide on taking the course later.

Read the Pocket Book of Proofreading on your Kindle. Available on 

Re Kindles: Nice quote: 'Every morning and evening of my commuting life, I lug to and from work three dictionaries, two encyclopaedias, the complete works of Shakespeare, Dickens, Trollope, Austen, Tolstoy and Eliot (George, not T.S.) and a growing library of modern bestsellers.

   Of course, as recently as a decade ago, any such admission would have raised serious concerns about my sanity, not to mention questions about back strain.

   But as readers will have guessed, I carry these dozens of volumes around with me not in paper and ink, but in miracle form.

   Thanks to the miracle of the Kindle...the whole lot fit neatly into my raincoat pocket, weighing in at grand total of 7.5. oz - or slightly less than a typical paperback.

(Source: Tom Utley, Daily Mail)


New Book Corner


 1. The Margaux Memory: A Persian Love Story (First English Books, 2019). Author is William Critchley, writing under the name 'Mohammad Reza Erfani'.

 2. The perfect escape read. Lost Horizon by James Hilton (Vintage, London, 2015). First published in 1933!

 3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (Jonathan Cape, London, 2018). also recommend his two other books: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.

 4. The Overstory by Richard Powers (William Heinemann, 2018). A superbly wonderful book about trees. 'The time  is ripe for a big novel that tells us as much about trees as Moby-Dick does about whales … The Overstory is that  novel and it is very nearly a masterpiece ... The encyclopaedic powers of Powers extend from the sciences to the  literary classics. On almost every page of The Overstory you will find sentences that combine precision and vision.  You will learn new facts about trees ... [An] exhilarating read.' (The Times)

 5. A Carlo Rovelli book. The Order of Time (Allen Lane, London, 2018). The physicist who is also a poet.

'We are time. We are this space, this plain opened by the traces of memory inside the connections between our neurons. We are memory. We are nostalgia. We are longing for a future that will not come.'

‘The physicist transforming how we see the universe’ - Financial Times. I didn't manage to understand the physics in some places but this book is a really wonderful read.

6. A new book worth reading by Gaia Vince: Transcendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time (Allen Lane, London, 2019)

7. Intelligence in Nature by Jeremy Narby (Penguin, London, 2006). Subtitled An Enquiry into Knowledge. Best read so far in 2022! 


Two more: Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens. In the current Ukraine-Russia crisis, you can never go wrong with 1984 by George Orwell.


To read more about The Pocket Book of Proofreading, click here

Job profiles: Proofreading

Best UK magazine for publishing news: The Bookseller

US magazine: Publishers Weekly

US proofreading job description

Take a little time to watch this video about 79 common mispronunciations. Amusing and quite good.


Note: You can order your copy of The Pocket Book of Proofreading with free p&p in the UK. Here's the link.

Wishing you every success and Good Reading!

William Critchley

Managing Editor



A new clinic specialising in Botox, fillers, various enhancements, etc. If visiting London and in need of repair, or dear mother-in-law! Run entirely by young highly qualified doctors. Actually, if you look closely, you will see a connection (runs in the family).


'Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add but then there is nothing to take away.'

'It's said that there's no such thing as a free lunch. But the universe is the ultimate free lunch.' Stephen Hawking

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900-1944)

'Intelligence is quickness to apprehend as distinct from ability, which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended.'

- Anon

'If nothing is written, why have you not yet written it?' 

William Critchley

'Today is the only day that ever really matters.'

- Anon


© Learn Freelancing 2007-2023



  • Proofreading marks

    Easy to learn but still absolutely necessary if you want to master the subject of proofreading. Find out more, and see what they look like.

  • Sample pages

    Check out these sample pages from The Pocket Book of Proofreading, the course and the extra exercises.

  • Santorini

    The proofs of the story about the Greek island. Where is it? Why is it so famous? A few answers for you on this page, including a view over the bay (caldera) plus a wonderful fresco of two boxing boys.

  • Why Learn Freelancing?

    You’ll be glad you did. For a quick overview read more here, find out how many pages you should read per hour, and how much would you get paid for proofreading 330+ pages?

  • Recommended books

    These are essential – just two to read about here. The New Oxford Dictionary for Writers & Editors, and The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. The other essential book? You need The Pocket Book of Proofreading!

  • Free extra exercises

    These are included in the course download – two extracts from a new novel for you to practise on. Try these two first before starting on the main set of proofs, where you need to find at least 250 errors!