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Book editing for writers


Royal typewriter graphicItís been said many times that having your manuscript or novel professionally edited makes it just that little bit less un-publishable.

Thereís truth in that statement.

Up to a point.

Not every manuscript is, after all, worth editing. Fact is, some are so poor they ought to be in a workhouse, not a publishing house. Itís no sin, mind. No shame. Itís just that good writing takes time to develop and generally wonít be rushed.

You live, you learn.

So it goes.

Other manuscripts, meanwhile, are good, but not quite good enough. Theyíve got style and substance and are generally sound. But they need that extra edge.

Or polish.

Which is where guys like myself come in.

So welcome to my editing desk.


Editing services


Iím an editor primarily, a ghostwriter secondly, and a novelist too. I fix failing fiction and ailing articles and help bail out sinking books. I donít promise anything except my best, and I offer no guarantees, written or implied, except the promise of a tough road to success.

Or failure.

But if youíre lost for words, stuck for style, or just need a fresh pair of eyes to perk up your prose, youíve come to the right place.

Practically all broken manuscripts can be repaired. All shaky novels can be salvaged, at a price. But if I feel that yours is beyond economically viable help, I'll tell you and will advise on how and where to begin again.

I'm confident enough that my editing services and skills are second to none. But I make no offers to "work within your budget"ówhich is usually a euphemism for a cut price and therefore inadequate service.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for, and the last thing you want to do before submitting your hard-wrought manuscript is to saddle it with a cheap edit.

So shop around and see what else is on offer. There are some good editors out there, and one or two ... well, less than good.

It's a buyer's market.

Buy carefully.


Writer's workshop


Aspiring writers looking for help and advice might care to check out the links on these workshop pages. There are lots of free tips here on how to find a literary agent; how to handle rejection; how to submit a query letter, how to plot a novelóplus monographs on many other subjects pertinent to the tricky business of quality creative writing.

There are also some inspiring words on how to maintain your enthusiasm and how to stay focussed. So check out my Inspiration for writers page, and see what I have to say on the contentious subject of Writer's block.

But if and when you need one-to-one advice and guidance, you might want to consider my Writer's Workshop. It's a telephone service in which we can talk directly about your work and your problems. So far, the feedback on this service is positive, and I've had only satisfied customers.


Literary agent rejection


Iíve made a million mistakes in my time. You can read some of them for yourself on the sample pages from my novels. But maybe you can learn from my errorsóor at least compare notes and console yourself that youíre not alone out there.

Everything I do is handled right here by myself. I donít sub-out work. I donít buy editing services. What you see is what you get; one editor with 25-plus years at the sharp end. I think my services are second to none and reasonably priced. So can I help you with your project?

Having spoken to dozens of literary agents, and having interviewed many of them at length, it's become clearer and clearer about what makes them tick and what makes them reject manuscripts. There's a definite art and skill in writing compelling literary agent query letters query letters. There are tricks and ploys and subtle literary mechanisms. There are writing techniques.

If you can crack the code for yourself, then good luck to you. But if you need support, you're in the right place at the right time.

So whenever you're ready, email for a quote. There's always scope for improvement, and it really can make the difference between acceptance and rejection. Remember that today's literary agents and publishers are flooded with hopeful material and will accept only the absolute best.

If you credit it, edit it.

And in the meantime, keep writing.

Never give up.


Mike O'Neill



Want to check out my own novels?



The Valhalla Quantum. You can buy this eNovel now for just £2.50 from Amazon Kindle. The Valhalla Quantum is an adventure/mystery romp about a highly unusual paranormal investigator and his sidekick exploring some odd things happening at a remote airbase in Norfolk. It was previously called Gideon's Bible, but as much as I like that title, it just wasn't working well enough. So there's a warning there about getting the right title for your own novel. Click the link above, or click on the book cover. Feedback is welcome. If you've learned anything from my website, you can see from my books how I've put my own advice into practice.



Groundspeed. This eNovel is available for just £1.99 from Amazon Kindle. Groundspeed a race-against-time novel about a couple of young aviators who get involved in an aerial rescue that lands them in a lot of murderous trouble. It's brutal, fast, high-flying, exciting, and very dangerous. It's also a tale of betrayal, loyalty and brotherly love. Click the link above, or click on the book cover.




Mr Edit YouTube videos


Meanwhile, here are some of my You Tube videos that might be of interest to you. Hope you enjoy them.


Mr Edit. Let's talk about dialogue





Mr Edit. Pitching fiction to a literary agent.





Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.





Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.




Links for writers


Preditors & Editors. Here's where you can check out the credentials of literary agents and publishers. A must for any writer.


Creative Helps. Helpful resource for the creative community. Articles, links and tips.


Nick Daws' Writing Blog. Lots of useful posts on all aspects of writing, both for print and online, plus a guest post for anyone who wants to make a contribution. Check it out.








Creative writing


Sample writing

Like to read a few examples of my style of writing? Check out the links below. If you like what you read, and have a manuscript of your own that needs a little help, email me. I'll do what I can.


Excerpt 1

Dirty Business

Murder and mayhem following an industrial pollution cover-up.


Excerpt 2


A light hearted tale about a holiday venture, with a difference.


Excerpt 3

Exit Point

An aviator becomes embroiled in a terrorist murder plot.


Excerpt 4

The Grace of God

A tale of blackmail following a hit-and-run incident.


Excerpt 5

Exclusion Zone

A middle-aged man takes a couple of suitcase bombs onto a London underground train.





David Hall

"Great site. Have picked up a lot of helpful information. Thanks. And thanks again."


Karen Smith

"You're the first person who's properly explained the active-passive voice."


T.P. Preston

"I am in your debt. My novel writing skills have improved no end thanks to yourself."


Peter Watts

"Lots to think about here. Very helpful workshop for aspiring writers and novelists."


Marik Gireux

"Thank you for the edit you recently did on my novel. Am still getting rejections, but agents are certainly asking to see more of my work. As you warned, there's no quick route to success."


Tanya Cole

"You're the man! Love and kisses."


Aneta French

"My dialogue was weak until I took your advice [he said]. I still haven't quite got the voices I want, but your help is much appreciated."


I.M. Flecther

"Great site, Mr Edit. I have learned a lot. Thanks."


Jim Baley

"Helpful. Informative. And well presented. Lucky I stumbled upon your website. Will be back many times, for sure."


Hopeful Sam

"You were right. The novel was too long. I've cut almost 40,000 words, and it's better for it. Now I have to [groan] re-edit it. But no pain, no gain, etc. Thanks for your advice and help."


Timothy Berry

"I am truly impressed with the scope of your advice. Well worth the £20 fee I paid."


Betty Ling

"I can't believe how bad my agent query letters were. Still, you've perfectly explained what I was doing wrong. I've now got two agent asking for the full MSS. Fingers crossed."


Quentin Groos

"Thank you very much. You just might have saved my novel."


Trisha Arkell

"Oh dear, I can see that I need to go back to basics. I wish I'd found your website 72,574 words ago."


Mr Trottman




"I see you've had quite a few beers already. But here's another one for coming to my rescue."


Siobahn Cavendish

"Yours is an entertaining website and beautifully written. By far, it's the best one I've found."


Eleanor Knell

"I used to be afraid of rejection letters for my novels, and I still am. But you've taught me how to cope with them and have given lots of hope and encouragement. Best regards to you, and thank you."


Gayle Burman

"I downloaded a copy of your GIDEON'S BIBLE. It really ought to be in print. Very enjoyable, and great characters. I especially like the cow that talks French."


Greg Wickens

"Started rewriting my novel as you suggested. So far so good. Am enjoying it again. Thanks for a great site. I've sent you two beers and a barrel full of thanks."


Marcia Blanchard

"I was going to give up until I found your website. What an amazing amount of free advice. Hope you enjoy that beer."


Peta Horovice

"Your manuscript critique service was just what I needed. But ouch! You warned it would be brutal, and II needed that. Great advice."


Saul Morrison

"GIDEON'S BIBLE is an excellent novel. Why aren't you in print, Sir? Looking forward to the movie!"


Keith Boucher

"I found your videos on YouTube and have watched them about ten times each. Truly great advice and encouragement. Keep it up please."


Ricki Hodgkin

"Plotting my novels was always my weakness, and still is. But I've learned some valuable lessons, Mike. I'll be sending you the finished [latest] novel for a full edit."


Mrs May Ogden

"You've got a wonderful knack of making complicated things easy to understand, and very amusing. Am very pleased with your service."


Gina Padgett

"Your website is very handy and informative. Thank you for highlighting the literary errors of my ways."



"Thank you. It's all useful stuff. I keep dipping into your site and learning new tricks."


Sasha Osborn

"Fantastic learning experience. My query letters are so much better. Cheers!"



"I work as a professional writer, but fiction is a new departure. You've certainly explained a lot. I'll be using your service again, and I'm happy to recommend you to my friends."


Daniel Orcutt

"Best writing advice website I've EVER seen. I've just bought your Kindle book, GIDEON'S BIBLE, and I'm hooked on it."

[Thanks for saying that, Daniel - Mike]


Mark Prinz

"For a guy who doesn't claim to be a proof reader, you did a wonderful edit on my articles. I sold both to the first [magazine] editor I sent them too. They don't pay much, I might add. But it's a promising start. Thank you."


Naffy Begum

"You did a great job on my brochures We'll be doing business again.".


Darley Anderson

"Yes, you've got a nice and helpful website."

















Special features


Darley Anderson, literary agent

Darley Anderson, top UK literary agent, on books,
publishing and success

ZoŽ Sharp, thriller writer

ZoŽ Sharp, creator of the action-packed Charlie Fox series of books

Jeff Kleinman, literary agent

Jeff Kleinman, New York literary agent, talks shop

Creme de la Crime logo

CrŤme de la Crime:
An interview with Lynne Patrick, publisher and managing editor of a smalleróbut essentialóBritish publishing house.

Michael O'Neill fiction home page

Click the image above
to see more excerpts from
my novels. All feedback,  whether good, bad or indifferent, is welcomed and appreciated.




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