Hi. My name is Beverley Sykes and I’m a professional and trained proofreader and copy-editor. I’m the sole owner of Superscript Proofreading, which I set up in 2009. My first language is British English, but I work in US English and other Englishes from around the world, and about 50% of my clients use English as a second or third language for their written work. I’ve summarised my background in the next three sections.

Education and previous career

  • 1989, 2:1 Bachelor’s honours degree in English Literature and History (University of Kent, Canterbury)
  • 1990 to 1992, studied Law
  • 1992, became a solicitor, specialising in Personal Injury (PI) Law as soon as I qualified, and worked in a specialist civil litigation practice
  • 1998, Postgraduate Diploma in Personal Injury Litigation (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • 1999, became a salaried partner in this same specialist civil litigation practice
  • 2001, voluntarily left the practice to become a full-time mum to my new baby and my toddler
  • 2008, trained to become a proofreader and copy-editor.

Proofreading my own writing, including letters and court documents, was something that I did on a daily basis while I was a solicitor. Sending letters that were easy to understand to clients was essential, and of course court documents had to be accurate, complete and unambiguous.


I am a Professional Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP). This is a professional organisation based in the UK for editors and proofreaders. One of its main aims is to promote high editorial standards. In 2009 I gained a Pass with Merit of the Basic Proofreading course run by the Publishing Training Centre. This organisation is responsible for the development of the UK’s National Occupational Standards in the publishing sector. I also attended the Introduction to Copy-editing course run by the then Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP, now the CIEP) and completed a recognised home study course on copy-editing. I also went to a workshop on macros and a skills swap workshop. Since February 2015, I have been co-running the South Warwickshire and Coventry local CIEP group.

In September 2016 I attended workshops at the SfEP’s annual conference on editing and proofreading legal texts, editing business texts, and editing fiction. I attended the conference again in 2017 and went to several seminars and talks. I wrote a blog post about attending the latter, which you can find here. In September 2019 I went to the conference again and attended the following workshops and talks: ‘Creating effective style sheets’, ‘Linguistic bias in editing and proofreading’, ‘Be bold: create your own opportunities’, and ‘Proofreading2020: what do proofreaders really need to know?’ I attended the hybrid annual conference of the CIEP in 2023 and listened to sessions on topics such as understanding plagiarism, inclusivity editing in children’s fiction, avoiding anachronisms in fiction, communication styles and strategies that may be useful for neurodivergent clients, and freelancers in the publishing industry.

Proofreading and copy-editing career

I started my proofreading and copy-editing business in October 2009 and love my second career. Working with words has always been where my heart and my talent lie, and I take great pride in working on and improving texts of all kinds. I have had several clients for over ten years, and recommendations have been the main way that I’ve grown my business. Repeat work is something I really value, and I thoroughly enjoy building relationships with clients over several years. This has been and continues to be something that makes much of my work even more of a pleasure.

Please visit my Testimonials page to see what some of my clients say about my work.