Sara Donaldson

Advanced Professional Member
Location HIGHLAND, Scotland
Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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  • copyediting
  • copywriting
  • proofreading
  • manuscript assessment / critique 
  • website editing
  • brand book and style guide creation
  • research

Qualifications, training and experience

  • BA (Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing - First Class
  • BA (Hons) Librarianship & Information Studies - 2:1
  • Copy-editing by distance learning – Merit (Publishing Training Centre)
  • InDesign CC Training (Certitec)
  • Introduction to Fiction Editing – one-day workshop & full online course (SfEP)
  • Design Thinking U101 (OU) 
  • Society of Indexers Accreditation
  • DigitalMarketer Search Marketing Specialist
  • DigitalMarketer Direct-Response Copywriting Specialist
  • Graduate of the Andy Maslen Copywriting Academy (Breakthrough Copywriting)

Freelance since 2001, working with a variety of clients (traditional publishers, self-publishing authors, academics and businesses) to help get their message across while keeping their author's voice intact.


  • historical fiction and non-fiction (history, heritage, genealogy / family history, local history, archaeology, folklore, mythology)
  • historical and modern maritime 
  • art history
  • theatre / film
  • crime fiction and non-fiction

Media & Equipment

  • books
  • travel guides
  • illustrated books
  • multi-author books
  • websites
  • business documentation
  • white papers


  • Microsoft Word
  • Adobe CC (inc. InDesign, Photoshop & Illustrator)
  • Affinity
  • Scrivener
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint


  • Lily Publications
  • Ferry Publications (working with leading worldwide clients, including Cunard, Isle of Man Government, Brittany Ferries and P&O)
  • Whitefox
  • Sandstone Press
  • Dunnet Bay Distillers (Rock Rose Gin, Holy Grass Vodka)
  • Bookmachine
  • self-publishing authors
  • small publishers


We have worked with Sara for the last five years and have found her very professional, with all our work requirements meeting the required deadlines for our leading worldwide clients, which include Cunard, Isle of Man Government, Brittany Ferries and P&O.

Miles Cowsill, Managing Director, Lily Publications, Isle of Man

Sara has been invaluable to our company on this project and other projects.  The work is completed to a very high standard.

Sara has been a great resource for our business.  She gives us the confidence in the quality of our message on our labels.

Martin Murray, Dunnet Bay Distillers

(Rock Rose Gin & Holy Grass Vodka)

Sara Donaldson’s edit was thorough, professional, and illuminating. She spotted logic flaws missed by all other readers. She called out timeline errors and flagged colloquialisms that readers outside of California might not understand. Further, her edits were always in the spirit of clarifying the author’s voice, and she provided just the right amount of explanation for all her suggestions. Sara made it easy to accept the obvious edits and fairly painless to contemplate and repair the harder things (timeline problems!). There were no problems with our “shared language” (English from either side of the pond), and she is just straight up fun to talk to and work with. Oh, and did I mention she provided me with a style sheet and other helpful content?

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier.

Mysti Berry 

Technical writer and award-winning author

We were very glad of your work and thoroughness. I will certainly be using you again

Isobel Montgomery Campbell. 'Sebastian Shaw: The Man Beneath the Mask'

Sara was wonderful both in helping me understand which type of editing I needed and then in the editing process itself. Her feedback was easy to follow, insightful, and concise. I felt I had a great quality critique which clearly showed me what was working and what needed improvement. I will definitely use her again for any future critiques I need.

Carys Mainprize


After drafting my novel umpteen times I could not shake off a niggling feeling that something wasn’t quite right – a hunch which went beyond the familiar doubt writers can experience. By good fortune I found Northern Editorial - Sara Donaldson’s crisp and clear website. After initial consultation it became apparent that my novel would benefit from a manuscript assessment.

Sara sent me a detailed account of what I could expect from her report. Well within the allocated time schedule a concise and very professional twenty-three page report returned.

My concerns with P.O.V. and a saggy middle were reinforced and Sara made constructive suggestions of how I might rectify this i.e. develop a sub-plot through the p.o.v. of a significant character to balance and add credibility to my plot. Her critique of a few of my descriptions of sex was embarrassing, but oh, so right!

Greatly encouraged by Sara’s professional support and adhering to the salient points made, I am writing with a lot more care and more confidence.

Jo Elvery


Sara edited my poems and organised the colour work for Raven Songs; a publication of my first book of poems with some of my own illustrations.

The cover design met all my imagined requirements and beyond. The formatting was precise and sensitive to the content, especially important where poetry is concerned.

I would highly recommend her editing work to anyone who requires patient and diligent support in preparing a piece of writing to the required professional standard, which is her criteria.

Meg Macleod

Raven Songs

Sara was recommended to us by another satisfied customer. She provided us with copy-editing and proofreading our novel. She helped us transcend the cultural barriers of language by providing us with expert insight into subtle dialogue differences between the US and the UK. She recommended style improvements, caught a lot of punctuation errors, and helped us improve our grammar. Beyond all that, we could tell she actually read the book. She provided feedback on fact-checking and potential copyright issues.

Overall, we felt her professionalism was outstanding, and she exceeded all of our expectations. Thank you, Sara. We look forward to working with you on our next novel.

John and Lottie Christian
Isle of Man, Fear Agus Deithe