JONATHAN FARR, PHD
Proofreading is the final stage of the editing process. It involves checking text for typographical, grammatical, and formatting errors. Book manuscripts are typically supplied in the form of pdf proofs, but I am happy to proofread other texts, formal or informal, in Word document form. If you need another set of eyes to look over the final draft of your resume, blog post, or dissertation for minor, indisputable errors, this is the kind of editing for you.
Copyediting includes checking for style, grammar, usage, and consistency. In the humanities, this typically means following the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), but different presses and journals often have their own house styles. This is the type of editing you need if you want to ensure that your writing is free from errors and consistent in style but do not want extensive feedback. The text should have already gone through any necessary developmental or line editing, since any additions or alterations will necessitate another round of copyediting to ensure consistency.
Indexing can be time-consuming and often requires technical skills that authors may lack. A good indexer must understand the major arguments of a text and know what subjects readers might search for, how to phrase and organize subentries, and how to cross-reference effectively.
Publishers often expect a swift turnaround on indexes, giving authors as little as two weeks to both proofread their manuscript and provide an index. Make sure you contact an indexer—or familiarize yourself with best practices for indexing—in advance of this stage of the publishing process.
I can produce indexes as separate Word files from pdf page proofs or embedded within the manuscript using XE fields in Microsoft Word.
"I can’t thank Jon enough for excellent edits and suggestions. I feel confident now that I am putting the best version of my work forward."
University of Oxford
"Jon is skilled, fast, and unusually attentive to detail. . . . It is clear from his work that he reads holistically—not just mechanically correcting page-by-page, but taking in the whole piece and thinking across sections or chapters. I spent three years as a copyeditor for the top journal in my field, and I still pride myself on how carefully I edit, but Jon's just better at it than I am."
University of Michigan
"My architectural portfolio isn’t just a collection of my visual work—it’s also my writing sample. Jon did an excellent job catching errors and greatly improved the clarity of my design narratives."
I am an editor and indexer based in northern California. Trained as a medievalist, I hold a PhD in History from the University of Michigan (2016), an MA in Medieval Studies from University College London (2008), and a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis (2005).
I welcome projects from the full range of humanities disciplines, but I specialize in history, literature, religious and biblical studies, and art history. My own academic work focused on high and late medieval Europe, examining issues of space and place in the context of urban expansion, state consolidation, and spiritual reform. Other interests include the history of the book and related fields in manuscript studies, such as paleography and codicology. I also have experience as an instructor in history and writing, having taught lecture and seminar courses at the university level and prepared high school students for standardized tests.
When not typing furiously at my computer, I am often rock climbing, reading comics, or imagining fantasy worlds in tabletop role-playing games.
Feel free to get in touch about editing, history, or anything else you’re curious about, such as this twelfth-century marginal drawing of a scribe from a manuscript in the British Library.
If you are inquiring about a specific project, please include as much information about the project as you can, including any pertinent deadlines, level of editing or indexing required, estimated size (page length or word count), preferred style guide, any guidelines from publishers or journals, and budget.