Hello from your Editor



Thanks for stopping by. My name is Lee Ronald and I run Smartbird Editorial from my home in the beautiful, medieval city of York in the UK.

My passion is words, and my business provides exemplary word related services for academics and others. I work with clients world-wide, most recently from: The University of Newcastle, The University of Cambridge, The University of Leeds, The University of Manchester, The University of Fort Hare (South Africa), The University of York, The University of Hong Kong and The University of Oxford.  As well as offering high quality editing and proofreading of papers and theses, I also work with clients on books and journal articles.

I graduated with a PhD from The University of York in March 2008, which looked at sensing and language. Prior to this I studied at The University of Leeds, where I gained an MA (Distinction) in Gender Studies (Sociology and Social Policy) and Oxford Brookes University, where I gained a BAhons (First Class) in English Studies and the History of Art. Both my postgraduate degrees were supported by full AHRC scholarships. I have also run small businesses in the areas of travel and holistic therapies and hold the City and Guilds 7301(1) in Teaching Adults.

In order to write, create and edit to the best of my abilities, I try to take a little down time too. I especially like to craft, linger in bookshops, read, walk my dog and travel. I continue to fight a daily addiction to apple and walnut muffins.

Dr Lee Ronald


My aim is to provide friendly, trustworthy and professional attention to all my clients, and at the very highest level.


Editing is a process distinct from proofreading, and one that allows me a more engaged consideration of a text. I offer three levels of editing (light, medium and advanced) depending on how much work is needed.

During the editing process, I will give your work a thorough proofread, but also:

* make comments on the use of language in your work * query your phrasing * identify issues with sentence structure * flag up problem areas of text so they can be rectified * use the ‘comments’ boxes in Wordtracker to bring inconsistencies to your attention.


My passions are for words and people, which means I have a great nose for a good story, and am able to ‘tell tales’ in a way that is empathetic, thoughtful and inspiring whilst also conveying the facts.

My articles have been featured in publications as diverse as The Massage and Bodywork Magazine (US), The European Entrepreneurs’ Journal, British Patchwork and Quilting, Journeywoman, Positive Health, Mary Jane’s Farm (US) and Writer’s Forum, among others. My short stories have won competitions run by the NSPCC and Quarterly Women’s Fiction.  A number of my book reviews have been published in journals and an abridged version of my MA thesis was a winner in the Women’s Network Prize essay competition. I am currently working on a novel and collaborating on a non-fiction (business) book.

If you need an inspired independent words professional to get across your tale, let’s talk.



I have extensive experience working as editor and proofreader on doctoral dissertations. I also have my own personal experience of the doctoral process – I really do understand the pressures you are under and the importance of producing a thesis that is consistent, tightly written and error free.

In the past few months, I have worked on PhDs of 80,000 words plus in length as well as a variety of doctoral chapters. For many students, we begin our relationship in the first year, when I start as their editor, but I am also happy to come in at the end, when you have your submission date and need to finally pull your thesis together.


Over the last few years I have worked directly with a number of universities, including being recommended by The University of York and The University of Cambridge. I have also worked with: The University of Leeds, The University of Hong Kong, The University of Newcastle, The University of Kent, The University of Manchester, The University of Oxford, The University of Brighton, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Teeside, The LSE and many others.


The ability to work with academic documents is touted by a number of proofreading and editing agencies. However, not everyone is qualified to undertake such work because working with academic documentation is a skill that only comes with practice. I have substantial experience of working in an academic environment; three degrees in the humanities and social sciences; substantial experience of academic conventions, including MLA, Harvard, Chicago and APA; and an understanding of what level of English your tutors are seeking.

I understand that your work is hugely important and will work with you to polish your linguistic expression, producing a document that you are proud to submit. I am conscientious and professional, but also friendly enough to encourage a positive working relationship.


Are you a confident user of English who just needs an experienced wordsmith to check over your final draft?  Even if a piece is written with passion and sincerity, and you have taken time to undertake substantial research, small errors will suppress your grades if you are a student, and compromise your chances of being regarded seriously in academic and business related fields.

Proofreading is the last stage in making your manuscript ready for the wider world. It includes checking for correct:

spelling * grammatical usage  * consistency * spacing * punctuation *

If you need more substantial assistance with your text then I suggest that have your work edited.


I am a friendly and approachable editor, so if your question is not answered below, just get in touch via the contact box and I will endeavour to help you.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is the final read through and check of a document before submission – either to an academic panel or publisher. It has become a bit of a ‘catch all’ term to include editing, but editing is a little different, as detailed below. Proofreading concentrates on correct spelling, grammar and consistency. It is used primarily by native English speakers or those international clients who are very confident in their use of English, but who believe they would benefit from a final check of a precious thesis or paper.

I use Wordtracker as my proofreading programme, so all documents must be forwarded to me in Word.

What is editing?

Editing includes proofreading, but also allows me to offer a more detailed engagement with your text. Any edited work will be fully proofread, but will also be checked for sentence structure and phrasing. Comments (on linguistic usage as appropriate) will also be included.

Editing is available at three levels, depending on your fluency in academic English: basic, medium and advanced.

I use Wordtracker as my editing programme, so all documents must be forwarded to me in Word.

Can you write something for me?

That depends. I adhere strictly to plagiarism guidelines when working with academic clients, and so will not be able to actually write anything for you if that is the case. However, what I can do is make suggestions to improve your writing and through editing, assist with linguistic problems. These may include sentence construction and phrasing; I can also offer comments to guide you towards better expression.

I do take on writing projects for non-academic clients. Articles, blog posts, ghost-writing… Contact me with your idea and I’m happy to go from there.

Can you give me some recent examples of your work?

Indeed! Over the last few months, I worked on a number of PhD theses. The students were from the departments of geography, sociology, engineering and international relations. Additionally, I worked with a post-doctoral researcher in philosophy on a variety of journal articles, assisted MA students with theses in art history, management and law, plus, I’ve worked with a commercial client on a children’s book (fiction).

Are you an experienced editor?

Yes, I am. I have been working as a professional editor and proofreader for the past eight years. During this time, I have worked with a huge number of students, post-docs, academic staff and others. I have worked with institutions looking for help with their marketing material and also individuals working on non-fiction books. I have substantial experience of working with clients for whom English is their second, third and sometimes fourth language. You are in capable hands.

How long does it take?

This depends on the length of your work. I can usually proofread around 7000 words a day, editing around 5000. I do get busy, especially in the summer, so it is recommended that you book your work in well in advance. I will try to help if you have an immediate deadline, but having a longer time to work on it will help both of us. You also need to set aside some time to work through my revisions.

What do you charge?

My current (2016) rates are as follows:

Proofreading: £11 per 1000 words

Basic editing: £13 per 1000 words

Medium level editing: £15 per 1000 words

Advanced editing: £17 per 1000 words

There is a 2000 word minimum for both proofreading and editing work. Any work less than 2000 words in length will be charged at the rate for 2000 words.

For other non-academic writing work, I am happy to offer a more individualised quote. Please tell me about your project and I will get in touch.

I don’t offer discounts, so please don’t ask – sorry!

That all sounds great. Now what do I do next?

Fill in the contact form below with your name, contact details and some information about the work you need doing. I will need a title, your discipline, word-count and both your deadline and when you could send the work to me. I aim to reply to enquiries within 24 hours.

My great passion is words.  Words intrigue me, inspire me and drive me. I love to work with them, and the people who rely on them.


Lee is a fast, efficient and patient proofreader who met all our deadlines.

Dr Jody Mellor

University of Cardiff, UK

Lee offers very good editing and proofreading for a range of post graduate students, which she manages well as she has both language skills and academic proficiency. She also has an excellent understanding of the international experiences of the overseas client.

Mattana Gosoomp

Central European University, Bucharest

Lee is the project editor for my PhD and I recommend her highly… She has always tried to understand my needs, such as deadlines, and makes useful suggestions. I would definitely choose to work with her again.

Di-feng Chueh

University of York, UK


Please get in touch, either by email (below) or via my quick contact form. I aim to reply within 24 hours.


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