I’ve been working as a self-employed editor of both fiction and non-fiction books since 2002. If you want your book edited by a professional, I can help. I can’t promise you’ll be published, of course, but I can shape your work to give it the best possible chance.

Here are some quotes from new writers with whom I’ve worked recently as an editor, used with their agreement:

“You live up to the legend; very tough but VERY fair! You’re on the money and for that I’m very grateful.” – JW, Leicester, UK

“Once again, thank you very much indeed for the brilliant help and guidance you have given me on my first novel over the last eighteen months or so. Overall, your contribution has been priceless and one of the best investments I have ever made. Even if I don’t get end up getting published, I can now appreciate reading novels on a completely new level, having attempted to write my own and been given the benefit of your enormous experience and expertise.” – RJ, Windsor, UK

“Thanks so much for your feedback! I’m pleased with the results. I’ll be a better writer for it. All of your comments have given me a lot of work to do, and I can’t wait to start revising. And thanks for the scoop on the innards of the publishing world.” – RB, Austin, Texas, USA

To make an enquiry about my editing rates, please use the e-mail address below:

John Jarrold's email address

If you’re seriously seeking publication, take a look at the following Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I present my book to a publisher?

Firstly, get in touch with the publisher. Find their phone number and/or address and ask if they are accepting unsolicited scripts (some publishers simply don’t), and if so, what they would like to see: a synopsis and the first few chapters, or a complete script. Never send chapters from different places in the book. This will result in your script being returned immediately. And if you think ‘Oh, but it gets better later, the opening isn’t my best writing,’ then make it your best writing. Apart from interesting the publisher, your opening has to interest readers. If someone picks up a book and is not interested in the first ten pages, they’ll put it down again, nine times out of ten.

There are also basic presentational matters: Double space your script. Do not print on both sides of the paper. Do not bind the script in any way, chapter by chapter or as a whole. Publishers simply find this irritating. Put a couple of rubber bands around it, and nothing more. Set the first paragraph in each new scene, after a line-break, full out. Do not add a double line-break between paragraphs and set them all full out. Basically, have a look at a finished UK novel and see how it is set out. That’s how you should set your script out, with the exception of double spacing (if you’re in the United States, do the same with a US novel). Expect a four to six week wait for a reply, at least. Typescripts which come from literary agents are taken more seriously than those which arrive out of the blue from unpublished authors, which leads us on to:

How do I present my book to a literary agent?

Everything I said above applies here, too. You can find a list of agents in The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and The Writers’ Handbook, both of which should be available in your nearest Central Reference Library. This will give you an idea of those agents who work in your area. And you should talk to any other writers in your genre who you know. Be prepared to be turned down more than once.

Are there basic rules about getting published?

Keep reading and keep writing. It’s no good writing in an area of your genre which has not sold well for some years, if being published is your goal. You are not writing in a vacuum. Before a publisher gets your book to eager readers, it has to be taken on by the book trade, and the publisher’s sales department have to persuade W H Smiths, Ottakar’s, Waterstone’s and the rest that you, as a new writer, are worth stocking. This is not easy. It’s infinitely less so if your work is so outré as to require a written explanation. Put it this way: both China Miéville and George R R Martin write fantasy. They are very different writers, but they are both interesting and accessible. Keep your own muse, but don’t be wilfully obtuse. You won’t get published if you do.

If you have further questions, you might want to try looking at my discussion forum at SFF Chronicles, which is full of discussion and rumination on genre publishing. Drop by to talk about, or ask advice on, publishing, writing, agents and related matters.