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. I’m still linked to the university as one of their approved proofreaders.
Today, I have the immense pleasure of working on and with words. I also have the honour of being the coordinator for the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading’s West Surrey and North Hampshire local group.
I’ve been a professional proofreader, and later a copy-editor, since 2015. In that time I’ve worked on more than 130 projects, approximately three quarters of which were books. To put that in perspective, as of August 2020, the texts I have edited come in at a combined length of nearly eight million words.
Training and qualifications
I take training and continuing professional development very seriously. Here are some of the courses I have completed:
- 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 (Publishing Training Centre), 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. 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 Samantha Shannon 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 on book reviews for the CIEP. You can read my latest reviews here:
- 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:
- Seven Devils, Elizabeth May & Laura Lam
- The Black Hawks, David Wragg
- Artificial Condition, Martha Wells
- A Death in the Woods, M. B. Vincent
- Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
- The Lost Future of Pepperharrow, Natasha Pulley
- The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective, Susannah Stapleton
- A Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab
- The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern
- The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon