Susi Bailey

Freelance editor and proofreader

natural history • environmental science • social sciences

    I can help you by …

  • polishing your manuscript to a professional level 

  • ensuring your writing style is suitable for your audience and your message is clear

  • improving the structure of your manuscript

  • correcting grammar, spelling and style

  • tailoring services to suit your needs, whether you are an author or publisher.


I specialise in editing and proofreading environmental science, natural history and social sciences books and papers, and have extensive experience working on a wide range of publications.​


I provide two types of editing services: structural editing and copy-editing.

During a structural edit I will:

  • ensure the overall structure, tone and content are suitable for your purpose and audience

  • check the arrangement and balance of sections

  • establish that all the necessary parts of the manuscript have been provided and are relevant

  • check that headings are clear and appropriate

  • apply consistency in tone and style of language across the whole work

  • ensure the text flows logically and clearly

  • remove repetition and contradiction, and improve phrasing.​​

During a copy-edit I will:

  • check grammar, sentence construction, spelling, punctuation, consistency and clarity

  • verify names, dates and other facts for accuracy

  • format and style references and ensure they are complete

  • check tables, captions, headings, figures and cross-references

  • flag any copyright or libel issues.

  • style the text in UK, US, Australian or New Zealand English as required

  • correct spellings and format to match the publisher’s house style.



If your manuscript has already been edited and the pages designed, but you need a final check by a fresh pair of eyes, then you require a proofread.

During a proofread I will:

  • check that all the elements of your document or book are present and in the correct order

  • check the contents page against the text and correct any discrepancies

  • check all cross-references

  • check for discrepancies between the edited text and the proofs

  • check all headings and page numbers

  • check layouts and word breaks

  • make cuts and fills as required to improve page layout

  • correct spelling, punctuation and typographical errors

  • ensure the text conforms to the publisher’s house style.

Manuscript assessment

Are you an author who would like a professional opinion of your manuscript before you submit it for publication? Or perhaps you are an in-house editor who needs a reader’s report on a manuscript but don’t have the time to do it yourself?

I can help you by providing a manuscript assessment in the form of a detailed written report. I will:

  • look at the structure of the manuscript to assess whether it works cohesively as a whole

  • establish whether the different sections follow a logical order

  • ascertain whether the manuscript would benefit from the addition of further elements

  • highlight any gaps and problem areas, and make suggestions for improvements

  • advise on the tone and style of the manuscript, and whether it is suitable for your target readership.


The amount I charge per project depends on the word count and the type of service required. To discuss your specific needs, or for a quote, please contact me today. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.


Susi is always a joy to work with. Shes professional in what she does, displays a deep understanding of the skills of editing and proofreading, gets on well with and is respected by authors, and presents work of an outstanding quality.

– Dr David Price-Goodfellow, D & N Publishing

– Professor Stephen Blackmore, CBE, VMH, FRSE, Queen's Botanist and Honorary Fellow, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh​

Working with Susi Bailey as an editor was a delight. Not only is Susi fast and precise, she has the expertise needed to work with scientific terminology and the arcane complexities of botanical nomenclature. I can recommend her with confidence.

– Professor Graeme Ruxton, University of St Andrews

Susi Bailey was a dream copy editor: meticulous but also creative. Her ideas and gentle humour have hugely enhanced the whole text.

Robbie Burton, Publisher and Managing Director, Potton & Burton

I have been using Susi Bailey as a freelance editor for over 16 years. She is, in my view, one of the most experienced and skilled editors working in New Zealand, and her editing is always of the highest quality. She has very high standards, and is also adept at working with authors to bring their work up to meet these standards.

Susi has worked on a number of titles for Bloomsbury Wildlife and has consistently impressed me with her knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail, along with her excellent communication skills and ability to meet deadlines.

– Jenny Campbell, Editor,
Bloomsbury Wildlife

I have worked with Susi Bailey for several years, both through her copy-editing my own articles and, more recently, copy-editing Te Papa’s refereed journal Tuhinga. She is thoroughly professional and a pleasure to deal with, and I know the contributors felt similarly.

– Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Susi is one of the best editors I’ve worked with. She balances impeccable accuracy with speed. The research she edits for us is testament to her ability to handle technical jargon and complex topics. Susi is also responsive and communicative, so I always know the status of the work and can manage deadlines easily.

Ceridwyn Roberts, Communications Director/Kaiwhakahaere Whakapā, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Thank you so much for your exceptional ability and for your guidance in pulling together The World Atlas of Trees and Forests of the World. You were a wonderful person with whom to work. Your talent to make sense from the sometimes garbled writing I manage to produce is particularly appreciated.

– Herman H. Shugart, W.W. Corcoran Professor of Natural History (Emeritus),

 University of Virginia


I am a professional freelance editor and proofreader with more than 30 years’ experience in the publishing industry. I love working alongside authors to help them ensure their message is clear, effective and accurate.


After graduating with an honours degree in environmental science, I worked initially in-house as an editor and publishing manager, before establishing my freelance business in 1991.


Since that time I have worked with a range of international clients, from not-for-profit organisations and academics to trade publishers and self-publishing writers. While I specialise in life sciences publications, I have worked on hundreds of projects covering all manner of subjects, from sports and travel guides to cookery books and craft manuals, and from government reports to lifestyle magazines and corporate websites.


Clients past and present include HarperCollins, Princeton University Press, Yale University Press, Penguin (NZ), Potton & Burton, Te Papa Press, Massey University Press, Allen & Unwin (NZ), Bloomsbury Wildlife, Quarto, Ivy Press, UniPress, Environmental Defense Fund and Motu Economic Public Policy and Research. I am a professional member of the Institute of Professional Editors Ltd.

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Memorable editing projects include Pōhutukawa and Rātā (Philip Simpson, Te Papa Press, 2005; Montana New Zealand Book Awards Medal for Non-fiction 2006), British Wildlife (Paul Sterry, Collins, 2008) and Zealandia (Hamish Campbell and Nick Mortimer, Penguin (NZ), 2014). More recent, equally enjoyable commissions include the Environmental Defense Fund Economics Discussion Paper series (2020 to date); Tuhinga: Records of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (2007–21); Life in the Shallows: The Wetlands of Aotearoa New Zealand (Karen Denyer and Monica Peters, Massey University Press, 2022), Adapt and Thrive: Building a Climate-resilient New Zealand – New Zealand's First National Adaptation Plan (Ministry for the Environment, 2022) and The World Atlas of Trees and Forests: Exploring Earth's Forest Ecosystems (Herman Shugart et al., UniPress and Princeton University Press, 2022).

Thanks to my extensive experience, clients can rest assured that I will provide a professional and reliable service for any editing or proofreading project.