I provide an honest, encouraging, insightful editing service for authors. It may be your first book or your tenth. You may be published traditionally or looking to do it independently. I will help you create a work you are proud of, and challenge you to write the very best version of your book.
I am interested in many kinds of non-fiction or fiction books, for adults or younger readers. This includes travel, nature, history, memoir, self-help, fiction, and children’s books.
You don’t need to do everything alone. I will support you if you feel stuck, if your manuscript needs untangling and tightening, or if you are ready to raise your writing to the next level. I will encourage you to tell the story you want to tell, steer you to the correct audience for your ideas, and dare you to dismiss the easy options. And I’ll cheer almost as loudly as you on the day you unwrap the first copy of your book.
What I Do
In my experience as a writer, the developmental edit is the hardest, the most important, and the most satisfying part of writing a book.
A Manuscript Critique is similar to a Developmental Edit, but with an overall editorial report rather than detailed commentary.
Sometimes writers need support. I will sympathise, challenge you, reinvigorate your enthusiasm, and clarify the purpose of your narrative.
In my experience as a writer, the developmental edit is the hardest, the most important, and the most satisfying part of writing a book. It is why I focused on this aspect for my editing work.
A developmental edit doesn’t spot your speling mistakes (that’s proof-reading), and it won’t expertly unsplit your infinitives (that’s line-editing). Those processes come further down the line. This stage tackles bigger issues.
The main effort of the developmental edit is the overall structure of your writing. It is an in-depth analysis to untangle themes, bring two-dimensional characters to life, purge boring ones, strengthen your arguments, and clarify ideas. It identifies holes in the plot, inconsistencies in your argument or tone of voice, and specific areas that require work.
A developmental edit will be useful if you feel stuck with your writing, or if you have taken your manuscript as far as you can and need guidance to take it to the next level. It is up to you whether you choose to do this when your manuscript is nearly complete or after your very first draft.
When you write a book, you inevitably get so drawn in to your story that it is hard to see the overall picture. You do not realise that what seems clear to your expert eye is foggy without your inside knowledge. And it is uncomfortable to accept that parts which excite you are boring or irrelevant to readers.
Because I am a step removed from your story and your writing, I can deal with these weaker areas, as well as urging you to dig deeper into the parts which are already strong. Together, we examine what works well, and what isn’t good enough yet.
For the developmental edit, I read your manuscript carefully and then:
- Tell you whether your first section hooks readers in and makes them care enough to read on.
- Question who you are writing for and how to connect better with them.
- Consider your natural strengths and tone of voice, and offer suggestions to strengthen them.
- Flag up boring, turgid parts, and ask you to keep the action flowing.
- Remind you when to slow down and immerse the reader in your wonderful narrative.
- Challenge you to bring your characters and their motivations to life.
- Think hard about the structure of your work, helping you construct a solid beginning, middle and end that allows the arc of your story to shine brightly.
- Dare you to be more honest, urge you to be vulnerable, and demand that you dig deeper for the true essence of your story.
I will give comments and suggestions throughout your manuscript, using Track Changes in Word, or Pages for Mac. I won’t correct every missing comma, but I’ll get cross at clichés (red rag to a bull), urge you to improve on lazy sentences, and flag up tedious info dumps and anecdotes where you tell me how it felt rather than showing me. Usually, I will complete my edit within two weeks, but please let me know if it is time-sensitive. If you want to get a better idea of whether I’m right for your book, you can send me a sample chapter to edit first. This will help you make an informed decision.
I will provide thorough commentary and actionable feedback to guide you and inspire you to work towards a more polished draft of your manuscript.
1.2p per word, plus one signed copy of your finished book, so that I can put it on my shelf and say to people, “I was there! I was part of this journey!
(Total cost in £ = 0.012 x number of words in your document. For example, a 60,000 word book costs £720.)
(I require a £300 upfront payment, with the rest due upon delivery of my review.)
A Manuscript Critique is similar to a Developmental Edit, but with an overall editorial report rather than line-by-line commentary. It is less extensive, and less expensive. This is a big-picture analysis that unlocks the major issues in your manuscript, focussing on plot structure, consistency of tone, character development, and clarity of message.
This process will clarify the goals of your book, strengthen your narrative voice, re-order chapters, cut irrelevant sections, and highlight key areas to explore more thoroughly.
You might choose a Manuscript Critique if you don’t feel ready for a comprehensive edit, but still want feedback. I’ll celebrate the powerful parts of your story and bolster your confidence, but also highlight what is hindering the book from fulfilling its potential.
A Manuscript Critique is useful if you want advice on whether to submit to an agent, pitch to a mainstream publisher, or prepare for independent publishing. Each approach has pros and cons, and I’m familiar with them all from my own books.
If you’ve got a bloated, unwieldy first draft, a Manuscript Critique can clarify what steps your next round of editing should involve. If your manuscript is nearly finished, I’ll highlight the areas that need polishing and re-working. And if you’re feeling stuck creatively, my critique may focus more on getting you moving again.
I will read your manuscript carefully and then provide you with a thorough report that includes:
- An overview of my response to your book, its structure, themes and style. I highlight what is working, and what isn’t good enough yet.
- More detailed specific advice about sections and pages that need particular work.
Usually, I will complete my edit within two weeks, but please let me know if it is time-sensitive. If you want to get a better idea of whether I’m right for your book, you can send me a sample chapter to edit first. This will help you make an informed decision.
1p per word, plus one signed copy of your finished book, so that I can put it on my shelf and say to people, “I was there! I was part of this journey!
(Total cost in £ = 0.01 x number of words in your document. For example, a 60,000 word book costs £600.)
(I require a £300 upfront payment, with the rest due upon delivery of my review.)
One-hour Phone Consultation
Writing books is a lonely business. You become immersed in the world you are creating, the story you are sharing, and the message you hope will captivate readers. When it’s going well, this feels magnificent! But I know only too well that writers also get stuck. Lost in the forest, tangled in ideas, with no sense of which direction to travel.
Sometimes you need support. I am both a writer who can sympathise, and an editor who can get you unstuck, reinvigorate your enthusiasm, and clarify the purpose of your narrative.
My twenty years of experience of writing and publishing books will help you create a better book. I can sympathise with your writer’s block, procrastination, or inability to turn your pages of notes into a coherent structure. I’ve been there myself (and still wrestle with all these challenges!)
We’ll sit down on a video call with a coffee to discuss your challenges, your options, and next steps. You can be more honest with an editor than friends or family about your fears and frustrations, your ability not keeping up with your ambition, or whatever else is blocking your progress.
It always surprises me how difficult but useful it is to articulate your ideas, particularly to someone new to the story. Collaborative, brainstorming discussions show you the strengths and weaknesses of your arguments, and push you to order and simplify your thoughts.
Perhaps you haven’t written a book yet, but have ideas galore and can’t decide where to start. Maybe you have written yourself into a dead end after months of work and don’t know what to do next. Or you might be looking for advice on how to publish and market your finished work.
Our open conversation will urge you to be honest about your manuscript and your hopes and fears. I’ll give you feedback on your ideas that is gentle or challenging, as you prefer – but always constructive and encouraging.
Writing books is a lonely business. Talking to someone about it helps. I’ll encourage you and build your confidence, be your confidant or cheerleader, and help you keep moving forward with publishing the very best book you can write.