Introduction to Editorial Skills: Copy-Editing and Proofreading

ies vc

Introduction to Editorial Skills offers new editors the opportunity to learn proofreading and copy-editing skills. You will be given expert editorial advice and the opportunity to practise the key skills of the proofreader and copy-editor across a range of different types of content, for both print and digital output. 

Revised and updated in summer 2020, this flagship course has been converted into a virtual classroom format. The three tutors are all well-respected editors in the industry with a wealth of experience.

Once you have taken this course, you will have the foundations on which to build a successful editorial career.


Who is it for?

Individuals working in book or journal publishing, in-house or freelance, wishing to develop copy-editing and proofreading skills, including editorial assistants, copy-editors, desk editors and production editors.

Students wishing to start a publishing career with formal training in editorial skills and individuals who have to proofread and copy-edit as part of their job.

What will you achieve?

On completing this course you will:

  • have a clear sense of what you are trying to achieve when editing or proofreading a document
  • understand your editorial responsibilities 
  • see how your role fits in with others involved in the publication process
  • comprehend the substance of, and differences between, copy-editing and proofreading


The course promotes active learning through a blended approach of self-study and three online group sessions. 

You will learn through a range of short and longer exercises, on-screen and offline completed independently or in small-groups, supported by group discussion and expert guidance and feedback from our highly experienced PTC tutors.

Introductory materials:

An introductory pack will be sent to delegates before the course. The pack includes a comprehensive self-study module written by Jane Buekett which provides an introduction to:

  • publishing workflows
  • copy-editing and proofreading on-screen and on hard copy
  • BSI standard marks for proof correction.


You will learn to identify and fix:

  • poor structure
  • ambiguity
  • repetition and redundancy
  • poor grammar or punctuation
  • inappropriate or non-inclusive language

You will also learn:

  • why consistency is important
  • what editorial conventions, house style and job-specific style are, and why they matter
  • how to make and record their own style decisions 
  • how to approach copy-editing methodically and strategically
  • how to follow a brief
  • where to to turn for further help and guidance


You will also learn how to proofread effectively:

  • layering
  • slow reading
  • judging how much to change
  • marking proofs clearly and efficiently with BSI and PDF mark-up
  • distinguishing editorial corrections, layout and queries 
  • where to turn for further advice on BSI and PDF mark-


How the course is delivered

The course consists of six x 2.25-hour sessions including breaks, each a mixture of delivery and interaction using Zoom breakout rooms and other online tools. There will be a 45-minute exercise set to complete between the sessions, and a 45-minute break. The course will run on from 9.30am to 2.00pm on each day.

You will need to activate a free Zoom account to join the course. This takes two minutes and does not require any payment. It is purely for administrative purposes.

Any information to be completed beforehand will be sent via email.

If you have any concerns about technical requirements or access please contact us on or telephone (+44) 020 8874 2718.

Delegate feedback

“The course was excellent and Caro did a superb job of managing content and participants online (which from attending other lectures and courses over the past 8 months is certainly not a given). It has helped me understand my skills lie more in the area of developmental editing.” Freelance editor

“Caro was an excellent teacher. Immediate benefits gained include knowledge and confidence. All that was missing was more time!” Freelance musician

“I enjoyed the course and was suitably challenged. There was lots to learn, the tutor was great and the pace just right. My confidence has improved, I’ve acquired specific skills in copyediting and proofreading and have a better understanding of potential career pathways in publishing!" Business owner

“I really enjoyed the course, particularly the proofreading elements and using different mark ups. The quizzes were fun and kept us engaged. I have learnt how to carry out copyediting and proofreading in structured ways, which will allow me to keep on top of each process in the most efficient way.” Delegate from Scholastic

“I enjoyed this excellent course - Sarah was so encouraging and knowledgeable, I felt comfortable asking questions in areas that I didn't feel totally comfortable with. I’ve gained confidence, and a step-by-step guide to thoroughly comb through materials.” Student delegate

"Very much enjoyed the course and Sarah's teaching style. Really tricky to move over to Zoom wholesale so I was surprisingly happy with the course.” Freelance administrator

“The course was excellent. I’ve gained practical ways to revise parts of our website and identify pain points.” Books Marketing Manager, Liverpool University Press

About the tutor(s)

The tutors devised and fully updated the course in 2020. One tutor will deliver all three morning sessions of a course. 

caro drake

In an in-house career that took her to Berlin, London, Oxford and Cambridge, Caroline Drake worked on a wide range of academic books, journals and illustrated trade titles. She was trained at Blackwell and Cambridge University Press, where, as senior subeditor then copy-editorial manager, she in turn trained copy-editors and proofreaders for fifteen years. She updated Butcher’s Copy-editing, with a colleague, for the fourth edition.

Now freelance, Caroline enjoys helping authors to get things right, first time. She has created and taught courses for a variety of clients, including publishers, educational organisations, the CIEP and the reporters of the Scottish Parliament.



sarah sodhiSince 1999, Sarah Sodhi has proofed, tagged, bound, corrected, edited, managed, commissioned, subbed, scheduled, estimated and produced a great deal of content – from interactive, multi-media resources to marketing leaflets, from monthly magazines to 900-page medical tomes.

Starting her career at a small medical publisher in Oxford, Sarah produced medical textbooks, journals and a bi-monthly magazine. She then moved into the public sector to work for an adult education charity, introducing formal scheduling procedures, progress-chasing systems and detailed budgets. After this, she immersed herself in the education sector, editing and managing digital and print resources for primary, secondary and adult education publishers.


caroline knightCaroline Knight began her career in publishing at Penguin Books in 1989, when she joined Editorial 2, the department dedicated to copy-editing. She has been a PTC tutor since 1996 and a freelancer since 2010.

Caroline became managing editor of Allen Lane The Penguin Press in 1995 before moving to Weidenfeld & Nicolson Illustrated in 1997. She lived in Greece, working freelance and tutoring at the PTC, from 2000 to 2003, when she became managing editorial director at William Heinemann, an imprint of the Random House group. Five years later, she moved to Atlantic Books, where she stayed until 2010 when she moved to rural Kent and rejoined the freelance community.

She has worked with Alastair Campbell, Vince Cable, David Willetts, Margaret Drabble and the late Herman Leonard, as well as a wide variety of others less famous. She enjoys editing both fiction and non-fiction, with a leaning towards history and politics. She lives on the edge of the North Downs with her husband, three children, a dog, six hens and tens of thousands of bees.

For more information about any of these courses, please email or sign up to receive our newsletter for updates on these and our other offerings. 

Please read our Terms & Conditions
Session 1: 18 January (9.30am-2pm) | Session 2: 20 January (9.30am-2pm) | Session 3: 22 January (9.30am-2pm)

Monday, 07 December 2020

Monday, 18 January 2021

Monday, 08 February 2021

Monday, 01 March 2021

Monday, 19 April 2021

Monday, 17 May 2021

Monday, 14 June 2021

A number of discounts are available

Date information for future sessions

January 2021

  • Dates: 18, 20 & 22 January 2021
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.30am-2.00pm (GMT)
  • Tutor: Caro Drake

February 2021

  • Dates: 08, 10 & 12 February 2021
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.30am-2.00pm (GMT)
  • Tutor: Caroline Knight

March 2021

  •  Dates: 01, 03, 05 March 2021
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.30am-2.00pm (GMT)
  • Tutor: Caroline Knight

April 2021

  •  Dates: 19, 21 & 23 April 2021
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.30am-2.00pm (BST)
  • Tutor: Caro Drake

May 2021

  •  Dates: 17, 19, 21 May 2021
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.30am-2.00pm (BST)
  • Tutor: Sarah Sodhi

June 2021

  •  Dates: 14, 16, 18 June 2021
  • Times: Each session will run from 9.30am-2.00pm (BST)
  • Tutor: Sarah Sodhi

 Course format

  • Virtual classroom
  • 9.30am to 2.00pm (BST)
  • Six x 1.5 hour sessions plus breaks, comprising three half-day sessions on three days

 A number of discounts are available

 Enrol on this course

 What you will need

To join the course, you will need access to a computer, tablet or laptop with a camera and microphone. You will need to activate a free Zoom account to join the course. This takes two minutes and does not require any payment. It is purely for administrative purposes.





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