No successful book is published from a first draft.
It takes a lot of work to finish a book manuscript, and a lot more to publish one. My goal is to support your journey to publication and help make your book a success.
I work with book authors and/or their publishers and designers to produce the best book possible within the constraints of time, purpose and budget.
(And no, I do not ‘take over your writing’! It’s your book. My edits are suggestions and recommendations, but accepting them – or not – is your choice.)
Maybe the book is being published for your family to treasure, your profession to learn from, or the book-buying public to enjoy. You might be planning to self-publish it, or you might have decided to pitch it to an agent or traditional publisher.
Whatever your plan is, a quality publication starts with a quality manuscript. And I can help you produce one.
Your purpose and your budget should guide your production decisions. I will work with you to determine the level of editorial support that best suits your project and circumstances. I may also be able to recommend other professionals – such as designers and proofreaders – to play a part in your book’s publishing journey.
What can an editor do for my book?
There are different levels of editing that I can provide to support your book’s publication journey.
(You don’t need to worry about which one to choose: that’s why we have a chat about what you’d like to achieve and how I can help you achieve it.)
Are these questions familiar?
“I don’t know if my book is any good …”
Very good question to ask!
If you’re writing for your own enjoyment – maybe to capture memories for the family, or simply to tick ‘write a book’ off your bucket list – that’s an excellent reason to write. And if you’re happy with what you’ve written, you might not even be asking this question.
However, if your dream is for your book to sell, then you’ll need it to be something good. There’s so much – SO MUCH – writing being published now in any given genre or topic that yours will face some stiff competition for sales.
Solution: a manuscript appraisal. A wise investment in your book’s future, a manuscript appraisal is where I read the manuscript, analyse its strengths and weaknesses, and provide you with a written report.
Armed with that analysis, you can continue working on the next draft.
“Does it make any sense?”
This is super-important. Even for a family memoir.
If you expect people to read what you’ve written, make what you’ve written readable. Even better – make it something they’ll want to read.
A readable book, whether fiction or non-fiction, has an order to it. Each event flows on to something else. The people in it are interesting, and their escapades are interesting. There’s a journey from beginning to end (usually with some twists and turns along the way).
Solution: a structural edit. This will home in on the book’s completeness, cohesion, order, navigation (that means, things like chapter breaks and heading levels) and narrative logic to make sure the reader will be able to ‘get into’ the text, connect with it, and flow along with it.
“Can you fix up my spelling?” (or, “Where do the commas go?”)
Aha! This is what most people think of when they think about editing: the close-up, finely detailed, red-pen work.
Solution: a copyedit. Here, I undertake a detailed review of the language, form and grammar in the manuscript to find and correct any typographical errors, lapses in appropriate grammar or word usage, spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, general factual inaccuracies and style inconsistencies.
This service often includes line editing, which puts the language under the microscope, line by line to look at the order and logical flow of the sentences and paragraphs.
“Can you just check this over before I send it off?”
If you’re ready to send your manuscript off to the publisher, agent, book designer or self-publishing service, you want the book to be ready, too. Publishers, agents and readers aren’t impressed by typos, missing words, dodgy spelling and other less-than-professional errors in a manuscript.
Has the book already been professionally edited? Have you worked on multiple drafts, each one better than the last, until you’ve produced the best writing you possibly can?
Good! But by now, you probably won’t notice if the text was upside-down. (Sad, but true! That’s how our brains work. They get tired and lazy.) A fresh pair of eyes will notice, though.
Solution: a proofread. This is a final check over the whole book, looking for anything that slipped through (or was introduced after the professional edit was done). A proofread doesn’t get involved in making text improvements, suggesting plot changes or rearranging paragraphs or chapters.
(Newsflash: proofreading is not copyediting! It’s a quality control step, not a polishing step. If your manuscript hasn’t yet been professionally copyedited, proofreading will not be what’s needed.)
“Do I need a cover blurb and author bio?”
Pick up any book and you’ll find a blurb on the back cover and an author bio somewhere (it may be inside the book).
These two simple texts are there to help sell your book. They need to catch the browsing reader’s interest immediately and hook them into buying the book. So they’re pretty important. And there’s a bit of a trick to it.
I can write that catchy blurb and bio for you. Or, if you prefer, help you write really effective ones yourself.
“Can I use this picture from the internet?”
Probably not. Do you know why? And when you can? And whether you can quote from this great blog you found? Or include a whole slab of someone’s private letters? Or …?
Solution: an editor. Editors are not lawyers, nor are we qualified to provide legal advice. But I can help you by flagging potential issues and guiding you to appropriate resources, such as information on Australian copyright law and examples of how to seek permission.
I understand the basics of Australian copyright law, moral rights and fair dealing provisions; when to seek permission to use an image or to reproduce others’ writing; and how to go about getting those permissions. These matters are your responsibility, but I can assist you with them.
(Here’s a freebie: stuff on the internet is not necessarily ‘in the public domain’. And no, it doesn’t matter if your book is ‘not for sale’: generally, by law you will still need permission to use someone else’s work.)