Literary Editing

What do Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Rita Mae Brown, Terry Pratchett, Alice Walker, Michael Chabon, Agatha Christie, Alan Hollinghurst, Virginia Woolf and Kazuo Ishiguro all have in common?
Right, they all used editors.

I have worked with Kevin Booth from the very beginning. Kevin’s copyediting is sound and reliable, but of even more use to the new writer are his suggestions on structure and plot, which have made sure that I used my material to its best advantage. I continue to use Kevin’s services, and would recommend them not only to new authors but to anyone looking to maximise their creative writing’s impact.

— Orlando Pearson, author of ‘The Redacted Sherlock Holmes’ series.

Are you ready for an editor?

If you don’t know the answer to this one, work through my free booklet Preparing for an Editor which you can download here.
If you answered ‘yes’, read on. Are you planning to approach a literary agent or a publisher directly? Do you want to use a platform like Amazon’s Create Space or Ingram Spark? Getting your book professionally edited is essential before choosing any of these paths.

Do I need an editor?

All good writers use editors, and you are no exception. We are truly experiencing a worldwide Renaissance in high-quality writing and self-publishing. That means the stakes of getting your work out there, published and read by a number of appreciative readers are higher than ever. Quality as always reigns supreme. You owe it to yourself to be the best writer you can possibly be. And that means choosing an editor who can help you take your writing to its fullest potential.

What kind of editing do I need?

Developmental editing. Line editing. Copyediting. Proofreading. What’s the difference?

Developmental editing

Developmental editing means I look at the overall structure, narrative arc, character development including back story, setting and so on. I may suggest rewriting or rearranging chapters or sections. You may want to merge two characters, give another more prominence, delay information to increase suspense, or other suggestions.

Line editing

This is editing at sentence level. Nowadays, and especially in the case of independent authors where budgets are tight, line and copy editing are generally undertaken as one process.


When people say proofreading, they often mean copyediting. Copyediting is the correction that happens when the manuscript is still in the format of a text document. It is the editing that happens at less than sentence level, such as grammar, syntax, word repetition, sentence structure and so on.


Once the text has been laid out in its final format, this is the final check before printing to catch any errors that have slipped through the previous editing rounds. Nowadays it is normally done in PDF format.

How much editing do I need?

That depends. A manuscript published by a big company may have several editors of different kinds each editing the manuscript more than once, including developmental, line and copyediting of the raw text, right up to proofreading once the book has been laid out.
An independent author can generally only afford one or perhaps two rounds of editing. I take that economic factor into account in my editing, trying to give you the absolute best value for money. I therefore combine developmental and copy-editing into one or two editing passes, using the first pass to deal with the bigger issues and the second pass to fine-tune the smaller stuff.

What do I receive from you?

If you have sent your manuscript in text document format such as Word or similar, I will use the track change feature to mark up all changes, posting comments where appropriate. So all changes are reversible. I will also present you with a full editor’s report upon completing the first round of editing, containing a professional style sheet and summarising all the major comments and suggestions. If you prefer, I can also edit in PDF format.

Solid literary editing knowledge

My undergraduate degree is in Literature (Hons, Open, UK) and I have a post-grad in Comparative Literatures (Hons, Auckland, NZ), both awarded First Class Honours. Furthermore, I have trained with both the UK’s Society for Editors and Proofreaders (now CIEP) and the Publishing Training Centre, so I base my editing on solid knowledge. For details, see my Credentials.

I work to your budget

While a large publishing company may commission several editing stages from developmental to proofreading, many independent authors cannot afford this. Depending on your project, you might benefit from one or more editing passes. I will be happy to provide an obligation-free quote.

How much will this cost?

You are in control of your budget spend at all times. When you send me your material, I will prepare you an obligation-free quote and do my utmost to come in within that figure. You make the decision on whether your work will benefit from one or more rounds of editing. If you need to take a few weeks or months to do some reworking, it may be advisable to have a second pass further down the track.
Contact me to talk about your project.

Other publishing services

Since I have a passion for publishing, I have helped authors in these additional areas:

Print layout

A professional book requires a professional layout: well-designed front and back matter, properly adjusted margins, a suitable font, plenty of white space and so on. I will present you with a correctly formatted PDF file ready to be uploaded to your publishing partner.

Ebook formatting

A well-formatted ebook stands out and is a more comfortable reading experience. Rather than relying on the automatic formatting of large publishing platforms it is worthwhile taking the time to format your ebook properly.

Cover design

Readers do judge a book by its cover. I can recommend excellent professional cover designers for your project.
The Poble Sec Books portfolio details projects I have worked on, along with the specific tasks I undertook. Click on the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) to go to an external link.
Contact me to talk about your project.