Professional Book Editing

A Note from Charles

Besides writing this blog, I work as a professional freelance book editor. I’ve been editing books both for individual writers and for Christian publishers for 25 years. If you are writing a book or have finished one that is not yet published, I may be just the person to help you get it into better editorial shape for your readers.

old booksA frequent comment from publishers is that many writers submit their book manuscripts in terrible editorial shape, even though the writers assume that their manuscripts are in good shape. This blind spot among writers is more common than you may think, and it comes with a huge downside. Even if you have a great idea for a book, a publisher may turn yours down and offer the contract to a writer who has a similarly great idea but whose manuscript is in better editorial shape. Why is this? For one thing, publishers have become increasingly fussy the past two decades about the editorial quality of submissions. Writers who want to get published with traditional publishers need to be increasingly knowledgeable about editing processes.

On the other hand, you can self-publish, as many today are. After having seven books (one a co-author project) published by major traditional publishers, I tried my hand at self-publishing my eighth book in January, 2017. That experience was in some ways beneficial and in others ways not so much. And I learned a lot for the time and effort it took.

The jury is still out in my mind as to whether I will self-publish again. The wisdom I have gained so far from self-publishing, I offer you here. One, I don’t suggest self-publishing unless you have had a professional editor go over your book first. You may think that taking the extra time and spending some money for that is a waste of time. Believe me, it’s not. The process will make your book stronger by making your ideas clearer. It will save you a lot of embarrassing moments with your readers. And it will help increase sales. Two, if you want to sell more than a few hundred books I don’t suggest self-publishing unless you already have what traditional publishers and literary agents call a large “platform.” Without that, most people who self-publish don’t get very far marketing and selling a book. Sorry for the tough love, but I’ve been in the industry since 1986, and its made be a realist.

Here is another, not uncommon, wrong-foot-forward. Some years ago I heard that a friend had written a book and was having it edited by an English teacher. That can certainly tidy up the grammar, but if that is all that is being done to the MS, it falls far short what is typically needed. So I explained why to my friend. But he elected to have English teacher “go over the book” anyway. “Besides,” he said, “it’s not costing me anything!” Later, after the book was published (by a tiny imprint that did not include having it properly copy edited), my friend confessed to me, “You were right. I should have paid to have it copy edited. Readers have pointed out many mistakes.” Now, I love English teachers, but if they are not also editors . . . .

Also, many editors are not also writers. But I am also a writer. So you would get the experience of both worlds if I edit your book. And since I’m a freelancer (institutionally independent), there’s no middleman, so I’m able to offer moderate rates, probably one that fits your budget.

human eyeIf you, or if anyone you know, wants to find a seasoned, trusted book editor to go over the punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, and related editing issues, let’s talk. I offer copyediting, line editing (sometimes called developmental or substantive editing), and proofreading services. If you are unsure which of these services is currently the one for your book, I can easily help you to determine that. Also, if I work with you on your MS, I would do that as a teacher, so you will come away having gained more skills to become a better writer.

Anyway, enough of the sales pitch! I hope I have said enough to spark your interest. I’m happy to send you my editing history resume, which lists all the titles I have worked on and what kind of work I was hired to do on each one.

To get in touch, use the Contact link, below. I usually reply within a day or two, if not a few hours. But whatever you do, take this to heart. Whether you want to self-publish or publish traditionally, find an editor, and do your due diligence when selecting one. It doesn’t have to me me. But I hope to hear from you.

Click here to email me about your book project. You can send me email confident that I will never disclose your details to a third party and that no commercial use will be made of your personal information.