My name is Hannah McCall, that’s an image of my face, and I am the person behind Black Cat Editorial Services. I’m a freelance proofreader and copy-editor based in the UK.
In a previous life I was an administrator (IT and vehicle services) and service desk analyst (IT). I’ve also worked for one of the UK’s largest supermarkets as a stock controller. I hold a BA (Hons) in Politics, which I gained from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Today, I have the immense pleasure of working on and with words.
I’ve been a professional proofreader, and later a copy-editor, since 2015. In that time I’ve worked on more than 220 projects, most of which were books. To put that in perspective, as of January 2023, the texts I have edited come in at a combined length of more than fifteen million words.
Training and qualifications
I take training and continuing professional development very seriously. Here are some of the courses I have completed:
- An Editor’s Guide to Editing Fiction (Publishing Training Centre), 2021
- Copyright for Editorial Professionals (Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading), 2020
- Introduction to Fiction Editing (Society for Editors and Proofreaders), 2019
- Basic Editing by Distance Learning (PTC), 2018
- Basic Proofreading: Digital Skills (PTC), 2017
- Mentoring scheme (SfEP), 2016
- P2: Proofreading Progress (SfEP), 2015
- Grammar at Work (PTC), 2015
- Basic Proofreading by Distance Learning (PTC), 2015
In addition to the above, I have passed the SfEP’s Basic Editorial Test, and I am an Advanced Professional Member of the organisation (now the CIEP), meaning I have demonstrated a high level of professional competence and substantial experience to an expert panel. I now serve as a tutor on the CIEP’s Proofreading Headway and Progress training courses. You can read more about the CIEP here.
Specialisms and interests
My fiction editing work with publishers is predominantly on general commercial fiction, particularly British contemporary fiction. However, I do work across many other genres, including historical, fantasy and crime fiction.
My personal interest is in speculative and fantasy fiction and I read widely within and around these genres. The works of authors such as Becky Chambers, Natasha Pulley, and Martha Wells are among my favourites.
I am not your go-to editor for romance or erotica; I don’t tend to read novels in those categories and I would not be well placed on advise on genre expectations or quirks.
When I’m not working
If I’m not editing, I’m likely to be catering to my cat’s latest demand, making my way through my to-be-read pile, walking the dogs, or thinking about what to have for dinner. Some of my time is also spent writing book reviews for the CIEP. You can read my latest reviews here:
- Blurb Your Enthusiasm: An A–Z of literary persuasion by Louise Willder
- Strange to Say: Etymology as serious entertainment by Deborah Warren
- A Very Sweary Dictionary by Kia Thomas
- Law and Authors: A legal handbook for writers by Jacqueline D. Lipton
- What’s Your Pronoun: Beyond He & She by Dennis Baron
- On Editing: How to edit your novel the professional way by Helen Corner-Bryant and Kathryn Price
My recent reads
If you’d like a flavour of the sort of thing I read for fun, here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed recently:
- The Half Life of Valery K, Natasha Pulley
- The House in the Cerulean Sea, T. J. Klune
- Legends & Lattes, Travis Baldree
- Space Opera, Catherynne M. Valente
- The Haunting Season: Eight Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights
- The Cat Who Saved Books, Sosuke Natsukawa
- The Man Who Died Twice, Richard Osman
- The Kingdoms, Natasha Pulley
- Fugitive Telemetry, Martha Wells
- The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, Becky Chambers
- Chilling Effect, Valerie Valdes