Writing advice services

One of the things I do besides write is advise other people on it – I’ll assess manuscripts, offer ways to fix them and so on. I also edit, and have done that professionally for many years. And I know the publishing industry. I actually worked as a corporate publisher where, among other things, I … More Writing advice services

Blocking out the WordPress future… and it’s Gutenberg

I took the plunge a couple of weeks back and dived in to the new WordPress block-editor, which they’ve called Gutenberg, after Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (1400 – 1468) who invented the printing press for the west. This post is written using the new system. I didn’t do this lightly. My main irritation … More Blocking out the WordPress future… and it’s Gutenberg

The real difference between editors and authors

I am often intrigued by the number of authors who, for various reasons, believe they can also be good editors – and market themselves as such. Sometimes it works. More often it doesn’t. Several times, now, I’ve had manuscripts butchered during the publishing process by contract editors who, in fact, were obviously writers. One of them … More The real difference between editors and authors

Five things that make a good proof-editor

An experienced writer that I know told me a little while ago that he’d given up writing books. Mainly because he got sick of labouring at a manuscript, only to then spend more hours undoing the heavy-handed botch-ups that over-zealous proof-editors were making of his work during the publishing process, as if he were an inexperienced or … More Five things that make a good proof-editor

Essential writing skills: knowing when to stop writing and start publishing

One of the biggest challenges for writers is knowing when to stop. When to let the book go and move on to the next. But it’s tricky. Even hard publisher deadlines don’t stop some authors from tinkering. Or even re-casting. That’s why contracts carry amendment clauses. Once a manuscript’s been proofed, everything that changes adds … More Essential writing skills: knowing when to stop writing and start publishing

Essential writing skills: the ten-step tick list for finishing your manuscript

Whether you’ve got a publishing contract or intend to self-pub, there’s no getting around the need for quality assurance. And there’s only one way to get it – system, process, and a lot of elbow-grease. In recent weeks I’ve been outlining approaches to editing. But the process doesn’t end when you’ve got the last line-edit … More Essential writing skills: the ten-step tick list for finishing your manuscript

Essential writing skills: avoiding ‘ftumch’ and line-editing for quality instead

Line editing – the painstaking, detailed process of checking every single letter, space and piece of punctuation in a manuscript – is by far the most crucial part of any publishing process. A piece filled with typos is annoying. It smacks of sloppiness. A sloppy manuscript delivered to a potential agent or publisher won’t fare … More Essential writing skills: avoiding ‘ftumch’ and line-editing for quality instead

Essential writing skills: key tricks for proof-editing

In the past few weeks I’ve been exploring the ins and outs of editing – a skill of many facets that authors have to master. This week: proof editing. Proof-editing is an essential part of the quality assurance process for writers. It involves an editor going through the work looking for consistency of content, consistency … More Essential writing skills: key tricks for proof-editing

Essential writing skills: tricks for better content editing

Content editing is the part of writing that takes an author from their ‘bad first draft’ to their ‘good final version’. It’s also called ‘polishing’, sometimes ‘crafting’. But it’s all the same thing – it’s about taking that raw draft and reviewing the material. For me it’s the fun part of writing. But it’s also … More Essential writing skills: tricks for better content editing

Essential writing skills: introducing the three sorts of editing

I’m often asked how it is that I manage to write so much in such a short time. The key word here is ‘process’ – and when it comes to process, one of the biggest time pay-offs is editing. It’s a process, like any other – and a system can pay dividends. Editing falls into … More Essential writing skills: introducing the three sorts of editing