Editing services FAQ
your editing specialty?
For fiction, I prefer adventure
stories, thrillers, crime dramas, humour and general fiction.
I'm not the best person to ask about chicklit, romance stories,
medical dramas, or fantasy, but I can help out occasionally.
So feel free to ask. Having written and sold many sci-fi short-stories,
I've got some experience of this genre. Also, I can deal with
to a point. But broadly speaking, I don't like anything sick
For non-fiction, I'll look at most
projects, with special interest in the automotive, aviation,
nautical and military sectors. I also handle travel books, how-to
books, legal books, social commentary works, biographies, art
and photography projects, and history and science books. I prefer
not to handle religion, cookery or fashion.
Do you give manuscript appraisals?
Yes I do. I'll write a comprehensive
report on both fiction and non-fiction, and, where applicable
can advise on photography matters. My advice is always frank,
so be sure you want to hear an honest opinion before submission—but
keep in mind that any editor's advice is merely opinion and
may differ considerably from the opinion of other professionals.
Prices for details of costs.
How do you want to receive material?
By email attachment—but
initially I would prefer to receive an ordinary query email
outlining the project together with a telephone number if a
verbal response is needed. Attachments should be in any of the
major word processing programs.
Are you connected with any literary
agency or publisher?
Not in any professional or business
way. But I have a few contacts, mostly for private submission
of my own work. To help preserve editing integrity, I prefer
not to make any recommendations.
Can you guarantee that my manuscript,
once edited, will be published?
Unfortunately no. No editor can
do that unless he or she has direct involvement with a publisher
is not always a healthy arrangement from the point of view of
a writer. The best an editor can do is to polish and prepare
a manuscript and give general advice on submission. However,
good editing will almost always increase the prominence of a
Will you write my query letter for
Yes, I can handle this. A solid
query 'pitch' is crucial to a successful book submission. It's
often your first and only chance at getting your manuscript,
or sample chapters, read. In the early days of my own manuscript
submissions I made many mistakes, and still make mistakes.
Writing a book, remember, isn't the same as selling a
book. And keep in mind that query letters are as subjective
as anything else. Not every agent will respond in the same way.
Some want personal details at the outset. Some don't. Some want
only a synopsis. Some want sample chapters too. Some like a
little flattery. Some hate it. There is no one-size-fits-all
formula, but there are certain tricks and devices that appear
to work. See
Query Letters for more details.
Do you use other editors?
No. Never. Everything is a personal
one-on-one service. Manuscripts that come to me, stay with me.
I may, however, suggest that your manuscript is better handled
by someone else, or that a specialist editor/expert should take
a look at your project after I have done all that I can. But
I can't and won't make any personal recommendations. Writers
should always make their own enquiries regarding the professionals
Can I meet you personally to discuss
Yes, in principle. But keep in mind
that it won't always be very practical. I'm based in London,
England, and generally travel around the home counties. But
please keep in mind that face-to-face meetings may not make
sense from a cost point of view unless the project is reasonably
substantial. But we can discuss this and see if we can reach
I have a book idea. Can you write
it for me?
Possibly. See the section on
Ghostwriting and keep in mind
that a ghostwriting commission can be very expensive, with prices
ranging from around £3000 to £15000—or
even higher depending on the amount of research required. Good
writing is intensive work. It usually takes between 3 months
and 6 months to complete a novel of 100,000 words. A 50,000
word automotive book, meanwhile, might take take a similar amount
of time, largely because of "research lag". Ideally, you're
best advised to try and write your own book. It can be tremendously
rewarding and will almost always be cheaper.
Will you steal my ideas?
No. See the section on
for more on this. But generally speaking, there are no guarantees
with any professional that your information will be safe. It's
a hard truth, but that's how it is. That said, there may be
one or two other options to help mitigate the risks. If you
have serious concerns regarding your project, email me.
Are you a published writer?
Yes. Over a 25 year period I've
written millions of words, mostly in the automotive sector.
I've also written and sold many short stories, and have written
13 novels. However, I'm still looking for a publisher for my
own books which tend to be fairly low-key crime adventures that,
by their nature, are not always a very attractive publishing
deal. See the
Samples section and judge for
yourself if I'm suitable for your own project.
Do you handle short stories?
Yes. The market for short stories,
however, isn't huge. Which means that unless you're established,
it might be difficult to get a publishing deal. But if you've
been given a magazine commission and need some help "breaking
through" or polishing a draft, I might be able to help. Email
with details for a more considered response.
I'm an American writer. Would you
be able to edit my work?
Possibly. You might have a novel
that's partly, or entirely, set in the UK and need a local editor
to handle a given section or chapter. I can handle that easily
enough. British writers are generally better at writing in an
American "voice" than vice versa (as evidenced by, say, Lee
Child's successful Jack Reacher series). I suspect that that's
largely because in Britain we have greater exposure to US TV
and movies. I can handle editing projects from most of the English
understandably there will always be scope for error, so a thorough
proof reading and re-read will be required.
What other experiences do you have
that might help me make a decision about your suitability?
Writing and editing are my core
skills. But I've got experience in engineering, welding, public
relations, social & community work and photography. I also worked
for many years as a private investigator. My personal interests
include playing the guitar, reading, poetry, art and travelling.
Do you work on a commission basis?
least, not on pure commission. But I will consider
a mix of straight fee and commission if it makes sense to both
parties. Editing projects can be expensive, so I'll do what
I can to accommodate all offers.
Mr Edit YouTube videos
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
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
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.
Back to the top
Plotting a novel
Finding a literary agent
Choosing a literary agent
Agent query letters
Inspiration for writers
5 minute fiction fix
How to get published
Active & passive voice
top UK literary
agent, on books,
publishing and success
Charlie Fox series of books
New York literary agent,
Crème de la Crime:
managing editor of a smaller—but
Try and find an editor with direct experience of the subject
and/or scope of your project—but
keep in mind that occasionally a fresh perspective can pay dividends.
What you really need is an editor who is at least "sensitive"
to your requirements. There are plenty of commercial editors
to choose from. Pick slowly.
Edit your editor, which means always question your editor's
judgement. And opinion. Broadly speaking, professional editors
have useful and reliable insights into literary projects and
can work wonders with manuscripts. But editors are fallible
too and may not handle a project exactly the way you
want it handled. So don't be coerced. Be advised, but don't
Don't pay 100% up-front for editing work. Instead, work-out
an incremental deal with your editor and be prepared to negotiate.
Most editors will give you pricing guidelines, but projects
Avoid sending your manuscript to an "editing pool" where your
work will be handled by unidentified editors. You may well get
an excellent service from such companies, some of whom promise
to track your various projects and use the same editor each
time. But it's impossible to be certain of what you're getting
without some form of one-on-one communication. So unless it's
a relatively small and straightforward project, insist
on personal contact.
Always ask for samples of your editor's work and study them
carefully. A few lines here or there is insufficient to make
a judgement. Ask for substantive excerpts. I suggest at least
a couple of thousand words. That doesn't, however, guarantee
you've got a good editor. So do some research and trust your
You may want to consider the sex of your editor. Male editors
can handle projects by female writers, and vice versa. But the
question of "sensitivity" arises again. So think carefully on
this question and be confident with whoever you employ to work
on your manuscript.
Can an editor also be a proof reader? My experience is that
proof reading is generally a very different skill which requires
a very different mindset. Editors tends to be more creative
(no disrespect to proofreaders), whereas proof reading is a
more mechanical skill. There is some crossover. But most publishing
houses will have a dedicated proof reader somewhere in the chain,
which supports my view.