Early Diagnosis - save time and save money by getting a professional analysis of your work before you write it.

Early Diagnosis - $147

Once you have started writing your first draft, 
Send me: 
  • The first 5000 words of your book
  • A one page outline of the story
I will send you:
  • An intense edit of your first 5000 words
  • Pointers, suggestions and pitfalls
You will write the rest of your manuscript knowing that you have already addressed and eliminated a variety of issues of style, technique and process that would otherwise have cost you a lot more in editing and redrafting.

I have set aside time to do one of these every week. Book yourself in now, and write your first 5k.

_ _ _ 

Two things come up over and over again when I talk to new writers about the process of self publishing.

1. The biggest delays in the writer's anticipated publication schedule come from the second draft
2. The biggest costs come from content and copy editing

I think both arise from a hangover from pre-self-pub days, which is:

before anyone else sees a manuscript, it should be complete

So whether your work is a 40k novella or a 300k epic, you have to write all 40k or all 300k before you show it to anyone.

In fact, a lot of editors (myself included) insist that your manuscript should be finished, and be at a "best draft" stage before they will even look at it. It should at least have had one round of beta-readers and a couple of self-edits.

If you've already been through that process, pause and think how much time all that takes you.

And how much a content editor charges for a full edit of 100k words. And how much a copy editor charges for 100k words.

If the last 5 years, the last seven million words, have taught me anything, it's that mistakes that you make in the first couple of chapters, you will continue to make throughout the rest of the book.Whatever is worst about your writing, whatever you (and, let's face it, I) will most want to eliminate, will be in those first couple of chapters.

It seems to me that writing an entire manuscript before you let anyone else see your work is rather like setting out on a journey and not checking to see if you have the right map until you reach what you think might be your destination.


India Pale Ale - Kev & Steve's Indie Publishing Adventure

A couple of weeks ago I got a follow on my twitter @densewords (a rare event) from @kevandsteve. Curious as to what their "Indie Publishing Adventure" might be, I checked out their various podcasts via their website.

Kev and Steve are new to fiction and are entering the self-pub world with a spirit of adventure and experimentation. Their magnificent octopus is officially released today.

This is Episode 1 of their serialized zombie apocalypse experiment, Left Behind, which sees a couple of very ordinary blokes coming to realize that all is not well with the world around them.

Left Behind is light-hearted and humourous and distinctively British though apparently this does not mean that it in any way resembles Benny Hill.

Anyway, they let me take a look at the first episode, so I did a sample edit on the first couple of chapters. Issues with POV, character consistency, setting, some vocabulary oddities notwithstanding (of which the best was thermidor as a place to keep cigars), the characters are strong and likeable - remind me in no small way of the work of Ray Kingfisher - and the story is simple and obvious. It's the combination of these factors that makes the story both likeable and readable. As in all Zombie Apocalypses, as a reader you want to watch the characters discovering the changes in the world, trying to understand, come to terms with, and survive them, and the characters are made strongly enough in the first couple of chapters that you can get a pretty shrewd idea of how well (or, more likely, badly) they're going to handle it.

Usually when I do an edit, I like to go through it with the author over Skype, so last night, that's what I did, and Kev and Steve recorded it for the next edition of the IPA Podcast, and you will be able to listen to me trying (and failing) to make them cry by telling them everything that's wrong with their writing, and one or two things that they're getting dead right.

You can listen via iTunes, Spreaker or here! I'll be on episode 006 which airs tomorrow morning.

Find out more about Kev & Steve: