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Quick and Dirty - more detailed advice

fell pony mare, carriage and radio interviewer, Winter

Why Are You Writing This? - some thoughts from 2010 when I was admin on a writing forum

Literary Services

I occasionally take on


Literary and Publishing services

Since Scratch came out, I have been surprised at the number of people who are sounding me out about publishing their writing - and even more since lockdown during the COVID pandemic. Here's a run-down of what I can and can't do.

Why Are You Writing This? - some thoughts from 2010 when I was admin on a writing forum.

Quick and Dirty - more detailed advice on self-publishing, printing, and more.

What I do

Copy Editing

E.g., does your story make sense? Are your locations and characters and descriptions consistent?

Proof Reading

Is that the right spelling of that word? Should that mark be a comma, a full stop, or a semi colon? Do quotation marks go inside or outside the punctuation? And should they be single or double?

British idioms

Do your characters need their conversation checking for period usage?


How should you set up your text to send to a publisher, or an agent, for printing or for an e-book?


I haven’t so far taken on publishing anyone else’s work, taking all the risks and costs myself; your book might be the one that changes my mind, or it might not.

I won’t put my imprint on work I don’t think fits my personal “stable”, but I will still help you to get your book out there in the best form it can take.


Do you want copies just for friends and family, or for a local organisation, or to sell to a wider public? Do you want a print run, or to print on demand? How can you tell a genuine publisher / small press from a vanity press that will disappoint you and cost you a  lot of money?

Digital and paper copies

Which setup do you want, and which do you need? Which sells best? How can you find the right cover for it? How do you deal with Amazon? (And do you want to?)


Does your book need an International Standard Book Number, or not?

Setting up a web site

Do you need one? What are the pros and cons of buying a domain name? Should you maintain it yourself, or give someone else the job?

What I don't do

Typing-up your handwritten manuscript.

Advertising - even major publishers will make you do most of your own.

Distributing paper copies - you can do that to some extent by choosing a printer who will catalogue your work and take orders from booksellers.

Books about faith, religion, spirituality or politics.


Now I hate talking money, but you'd better know that I charge £20 an hour for my expertise.

Whether I'm building web sites or editing, I work flat out for most of the day. However, I usually end up estimating the time rather generously in favour of the client (i.e. I charge you for less time rather than more!)

Fiction : Dragon Bait * Against the Odds * Scratch * Coachman * The Forthright Saga * String of Horses * Non-Fiction & Essays : Hoofprints in Eden  * A Century of Fells * One Fell Swoop * Ponies with Wheels * Horses in the Garden * Fell Facts & Fell Fun * Short Stories : The Twisted Stair * Keeping On * Poetry : Ash Tree * Ruby Wedding * Galloway Gate * Samples! * Jackdaw : About the Author * Blog * News & Events * Services * For Overseas Purchasers * Links * Home

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