Most people ask me to proofread their first draft. Big mistake.

I’m really good at proofing. Whether you want me to check a paragraph, page, book or website, I’ll ensure your copy or manuscript is error-free and easy to understand.

My first real role – not counting car-washing or the Saturday job in a cake shop – was as a proofreader. I was hired by publisher Book Club Associates, where I was methodically trained by a meticulous, eagle-eyed and irascible editor to mark up text with mysterious hieroglyphic-like squiggles. Fowler's ‘Modern English Usage’ became my bible.

Pedantic to a fault, I can spot an errant typo or literal at a thousand paces. This makes reading the Guardian challenging, but clients like my knowledge about semi-colons and whether they should write discreet or discrete. And proofing isn’t just about errors but covers repetitions, style and continuity. A proper proofer sees the big picture as well as the fine details.

So why won’t I check your first draft? Obvious, really. By the time miscellaneous changes have been made along the line, your copy is likely to be so different that you'll have to ask me have it read through again. Add why pay twice?

Proofreading should take place at the very end of your writing, after copy editing for facts and sense, and when you're 99% sure you're ready to publish or send it to a literary agent.

I'll check your work with a fine-tooth comb for grammar, spelling, punctuation and missing words. Being me, I'm likely to make comments about style too, where necessary, but it'll be up to you as to whether I make any changes to this, because it takes more time, and will add to your bill.