is my top service for writer's, both amateurs, professionals and
would-be professionals. I'm talking about one-to-one telephone help,
advice, support and encouragement—and at an "affordable" rate. Sound too
good to be true? That's what I thought, but don't say it too often or
I'll raise my rate.
How does my writer's telephone workshop work?
Okay. The idea is simple enough. You''re having problems
developing your writing skills and/or are hoping to break into
journalism or feature writing or copywriting and make a living from
words. Or maybe you've got a novel inside you that's busting to get out,
but you need a little guidance. Or maybe you just want to write for
Either way, I've
got yards of experience as a professional writer, and with this service, you pay me to share
my insights, knowledge, tricks and techniques.
Armed with that, you can then
go forth into the world as a professional journalist, diarist, columnist,
stringer, correspondent or (and I hate this one too) "wordsmith".
To be more specific, you send
me your problem material, or sample material, I read through it, deconstruct
it, make some notes, then call you on the phone and we discuss it word
by word, line by line, paragraph by paragraph.
After an hour of hitting me
with questions and querying my responses, you hang up the phone a lot wiser,
a lot happier, and with a whole lot more insight into your writing skills and
habits. Meanwhile, I hang up £25 richer, because £25 is my fee for an hour's
advice (backed up by around 30 years at the sharp end).
If you then want some follow
up advice, it will cost you another £25 per hour, and so on. But keep in
mind that these prices are based-upon a UK landline. Alternately, we can
hook up across the world via Skype.
So does it really work?
Yes. But I have to admit, when I launched this service,
I had some reservations. It sounded okay on paper, you understand. But a
lot of things in this world simply don't make a smooth and satisfying transition
from the drawing board, as it were, into the real world.
But this one did.
It's not a
get-rich-quick-scheme. That's unrealistic. And if that's what you're
after, try the National Lottery. Writing is slow, hard work. It needs
dedication. Shrewdness. Savvy.
I used to offer (and still
offer) much the same support service in the form of a written report. But it's become
increasingly clear that person-to-person contact is far more efficient
and helpful. I can cover more ground, and help develop themes, and more specifically
tailor advice. Also, I get to understand something of the character of the
writer. And that's very important because we're all different. We don't
process information the same way. And usually, the answers we get in life
require further questions.
You're talking about mentoring?
Pretty much. But I don't much like the word
"mentoring". It implies taking some control from the mentee (great noun,
huh? No, I didn't think so either). I prefer to think of this service
not as mentoring but professional support. The important thing with
developing your writing skills is the ability to discipline yourself. I
don't want to impose anything on anyone. I don't want to steer a writer.
I don't want to oversee. Instead, I want to be in the back seat offering
help and suggestions and tips that have worked for me over and over
And £25 per hour is the fixed charge?
That's it. No extras. No strings. And hey, no salesmen
will call. But check around and see what other's are charging, and compare
their skills—or alleged skills—and see who you feel comfortable with.
My fees are pretty modest.
£25 per hour isn't very much at all for professional advice, and especially
not when it can set you on the road to making a decent income.
And I know it works because
over the years I've made a lot of money writing articles, magazine features, news
reports and web stories. In fact, until I launched Mr Edit, media
writing was my sole
income, and I still "keep my hand in" by penning occasional features for
the publications I enjoy and want to be a part of.
What kind of income is possible for freelance writers?
Not as much as it used to be, that's for sure. Thirty
years ago, I was earning £125 - £150 per 1,000 words, or per page. Therefore, a
news feature spread over two pages, with images that I supplied, earned
me £250 - £300.
Today, editors and publishers
have smaller purses. They're often under huge pressure to cu costs. I
now get between £150-£200 per 1,000 words/per page, but
only for the first page. Extra pages usually earn me around £100 each. It's
still not too shabby, but in real terms it's fallen way behind.
As a freelance writer, I was
earning around £2,000 - £2,500 per month. And because I had other related
marketable skills (photography and graphic design), I was usually earning considerably
So I can earn that kind of money too?
The truth is, I don't know. No one does. Being able to
write well is, after all, only part of the deal. You've still got to have
ideas for features and news stories. You've still got to learn to sell them and develop a relationship with a publisher or editor. You've still got to
discipline yourself to sitting down day after day and getting those fingers
moving (and I can advise on all this too).
But I do know that without
good "inside" advice from a tried-and-tested, cash-in-the-pocket
professional writer, your chances of making a decent income are greatly
But your telephone workshop works for novelists too?
Yes. Unquestionably. Writing is largely about technique
and tricks. That makes it sound terribly contrived.
And to a great extent it is. It's like playing chess. There are certain
well understood opening moves. Certain gambits. Certain "plays".
Certain stratagems. And there's always
a checkmate at the end. Naturally, you still have to have a tactical, devious,
logical and cunning mind to play chess at a serious level. But you also need to know the rudiments.
When it comes to writing, my
experience is that most would-be professional writers simply don't know
the rudiments. They stumble along driven by doggedness (which is a great
quality), desperation, luck and pluck. Most jobbing professionals manage to wangle
a paid news story here and there, or an occasional feature, or even a small
But if you're going to make
more serious money, more regular money, you need to raise your game, and the best way
you can do that is by talking to a "player".
I'm interested. What do I do now?
Just email me, send me some material, and we'll discuss
it. A few thousand words will do fine. If I can't help, I'll tell you straight.
And the fact is, some people really don't have what it takes to make a really
good living from writing. That said, almost anyone can earn a little extra
money from news items and features if they're shrewd.
Interestingly, some of the
best writers are people who didn't even recognise that they had any talent.
They came into journalism or feature writing or novel writing largely by
"accident"; by simply trying something new without any real expectation
of taking it very far.
Maybe that's you. But you ain't
gonna get to know until you try. And if you try it via my service, it will
cost you £25 per hour.
So far, I've never had a dissatisfied
customer, and I plan to keep it that way. But beware; my advice is brutally
honest. You'll get it with both barrels, and I always aim high. However,
you will learn something. You will improve your writing skills. You will
have more confidence. You will learn what works, and what doesn't. You
will learn those crucial opening moves. Moreover, that internal compass that's always going haywire
will give you a better sense of direction.
But go ahead. Check the web.
See what's on offer. Then give me a call if you want to take it any further.
I'm not going anywhere for
Never give up.
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
Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.
Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.
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
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
... more feedback
"Terrific website. Happy to recommend your
services to anyone."
"Dear Mr Edit, I just want to say thanks for your
kind advice and guidance. Am now doing the rounds with my first
manuscript. Fingers crossed for me, please!"
"Your inspiration for writers was exactly the shot
I needed. Thank you so much."
"...well worth the money. Excellent service and
support. The rest, it seems, is up to me now."
"Very interesting website. If anything, your
prices are too low."
[I've no plans to raise them, Sean, but thanks
for the thought - Mike]
"You've got a very good 'voice' and a great eye
for detail. I've borrowed much of your technique. Thank you for showing
me a fresh way to see things."
"Perfect! I knew that I was doing something wrong
[actually, many things], but until you showed me my faults, I couldn't
really move forward. Thank you for your help."
"Your blog is very good. And free too. Isn't the
web a marvellous thing?"
"You're probably getting tired of hearing from me,
but I can't start writing each day until I re-read your wonderful words
"Incisive words of wisdom from a top professional.
You've really saved my life."
"I had my doubts that your
5 Minute Fiction Fix service was really going to be worth the money. But
it certainly was and it opened my eyes to a lot of problems in my
"I think you need to change your name from Mr Edit
to Sir Edit. Yours is a great service for a struggling writer."
"For years I've struggled with dialogue. But after
reading your advice, my characters are now beginning to sound like real
people. Thank you very much."
"I can't really afford to have my entire novel
edited just now [just lost my job], but I'm really grateful for the
advice you've given me! I'm sure it will carry me a long way."
[Never give up, Lindzy - Mike]
top UK literary agent, on books,
publishing and success
Sharp, creator of the action-packed Charlie Fox series of books
New York literary agent, talks shop
Crème de la Crime:
An interview with Lynne Patrick, publisher and managing editor of