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From the pages of:

Novel Writing Made Simple 

by Gordon A. Kessler

4.5 Book Doctors, Independent Editors and Ghostwriters.

      Book doctors, independent editors and ghostwriters make livings from writers. So, when do you need them? This answer is as simple as you want to make it, and it’s all up to you. I would recommend you spend as much time as possible polishing your novel before sending it to one of these professionals. Be sure you’ve had friends, acquaintances, teachers, and critique groups read your storyfirst. Then, if you feel you really have something, you might send it to agents and editors to see what kind of response you get. Remember, any response is subjective. So, if you are turned down a number of times, don’t be crushed.
       If you honestly feel your story has promise, consider an independent editor or book doctor.   But don’t go to the back of a magazine to find one. There are two very fine groups of independent editors that I would suggest trying first. The CEA or Consulting Editors Alliance can be reached at http://consulting-editors.com and the IEG or Independent Editors Group can be reached at http://www.bookdocs.com. Both of these groups are in New York and both are made up solely of former, major publishing house editors. These folks have edited bestsellers. Wouldn’t you rather have one of them look over your story than some high school English teacher who advertises in the back of a magazine? The problem is these professionals don’t come cheap. You’ll do well to find one with a proven track record that charges less than eight dollars a page. I’ve heard of cheaper, but many go for as high as twelve dollars or more. Writers seeking such help would be well advised to consider the investment that they are about to make is comparable to trade-school tuition.
       What these editors do for a story will depend on what you want done and how that particular editor works. He might do line editing and check grammar and spelling, or the editor might specialize in plot and character and do little else. Many will read the entire manuscript two or three times and try to improve on all aspects of the story to make it a more commercial product.
       With the help of a good independent editor, a sellable manuscript might be improved to the point that the author will receive a larger advance and more royalties due to a larger volume of sales. The “doctored” work might get better reviews from literary critics and thus sell more copies and perhaps be accepted by a book club and become a featured selection. Perhaps the writing done on the next novel will be more fine-tuned because of what was learned from the doctoring of the first story, and this improvement will help command a much larger advance and generate more sales because of return readers. It is an education. Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t be ashamed of it. If you really want to become a novelist, truly need this kind of service, and can afford it, use it.
       As far as ghostwriters go, you’ll find the legitimate ones are generally even more expensive than book doctors. They do more than line edit and make plot and characterization suggestions. They tear the story apart and revamp it into what they feel will be more commercial. Don’t consider this unless you have a story that must be told, and you don’t think you have the ability to tell it.

  1. *Contest Tune-Up!*
    This is an economical short story or first pages of a novel contest service to improve your story and your chances of doing well in a writing contest. An editing service to improve story elements in order to make your story more attractive to contest judges--as well as agents and editors!
  2. *Novel Mechanix" Manuscript Editing*
    Novel Mechanix is an economical manuscript editing service for writers who wish to improve their manuscript by reducing mechanical errors, tightening plotlines, enhancing imagery and developing characters.
  3. Independent Editors Group
    Independent Editors Group www.bookdocs.com
  4. Consulting Editors Alliance
    Consulting Editors Alliance website
  5. Great Lakes Lit
    Great Lakes Literary Services website
  6. Thank You!
  7. Thank You! Good Luck!
5. Pat Holt go to
www.holtuncensored.com (independent editor).
6. Robyn Conley Weaver, Book Doctor, go to


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