Thursday 17 March 2016


The Problem

We're all familiar with the advice given to emerging writers. You cannot dispense with an editor for your work, the pundits say, and of course they are absolutely right.

However, it's a sad fact that the emerging writer often cannot afford the fees of a professional editor. You can't get blood out of a stone, and if your income is already fully accounted for, and there's no money for editing, you can hardly skip paying your rent, or send your children to school in too-small shoes. Over and over again I've seen writers bemoaning this fact, and sadly, the resort is often to go without editing and hope for the best, or to source a cut-price service on sites such as Fiverr, or to rely on the unskilled services of 'beta readers'. 

None of these options is really satisfactory, and we see the truth of this in the huge number of unedited manuscripts self-published by independent authors: manuscripts which often have a terrific story, and a really original idea, but are let down by the writer's lack of facility in his language. It is the poverty of English most of all that distinguishes the poorest quality self-published books that I have seen from their traditionally published counterparts.

To this end, I am proposing to offer a cut-price service, designed to be affordable by even the most impecunious client.

How It Works

1. The client will send me a representative sample of the work, this sample not to exceed 10,000 words. Note that this can be the beginning of a completed manuscript, but it can also be from a book that is not yet finished. 

2. I will analyse the sample and provide client with a list of corrections to be made to the whole work. The reason I can do this is that infelicities, and outright errors, in language are matters of habit. Whatever problems appear in the language of the sample are sure to recur throughout the work, because these are largely matters of misunderstanding of rules of grammar that the writer needs to address.  To this end, every grammatical issue that is highlighted for correction will be fully explained.


This service in no way replaces a full and comprehensive edit of the manuscript. Because the whole manuscript is not read, issues around plot, continuity, and to some extent, character development cannot form part of the process. The focus of the service is upon use of language only.

The service should be treated by the client as a learning experience, and should be backed up, at the very least, with at least three beta readers who will give feedback on issues around the story as a whole. Generally, beta readers are people who read widely in the subject genre and can therefore be considered as representative of a market. They do not customarily receive any payment, but neither should they be confused with editors.

I will be introducing this service forthwith at the flat rate of $50.

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