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Nobody's perfect

Even the best editors have their limits

I strive for the highest standards in every editing job I undertake and am proud of the results I achieve. Despite this, it would be wrong for me to promise that I will achieve perfection with your manuscript.

There are two reasons for this.

Human error

Any editor or proofreader, no matter how experienced and well trained, is still only human and there is a limit to how many errors they can spot in one read of a novel.


When carrying out a line- and copyedit, for example, I may well be making over 1,000 amends. In this context it is simply not possible to guarantee that a small number of errors will not slip through the net.

This issue is recognised by book publishers, who typically invest significant resources in implementing multiple editorial stages for novels in order to reduce the number of mistakes. Even so, it is not uncommon for errors to appear in published novels.


Perfection is itself a subjective term. There are sometimes no hard and fast rules over issues such as grammar, punctuation, capitalisation and hyphenation. This can be a particular issue with dialogue where there may be a need to diverge from Standard English in order to accurately portray dialects. I will always edit your novel in a professional manner and take what I believe to be the most appropriate course of action. It is possible, however, that another editor would make a different choice over some occasions.

Likewise, in a development edit I will provide my professional judgement on how issues such as plot, theme and characterisation can be strengthened – I cannot guarantee that others would not recommend an alternative approach.

My promise to clients

I cannot promise perfection for the reasons outlined above – but I can promise the following:

  • I will use my dedication, training and experience to edit your book to an extremely high standard.

  • Your chances of achieving your writing ambitions will be much greater after my involvement with your novel.​

  • I will always be honest with you and never make unrealistic claims about what can be achieved.

Make the most of your budget

The more editorial stages a novel goes through, the fewer mistakes it is likely to contain by the end of the process.

Ideally, a book should undergo a development edit, line-and copyedit, and a proofread. For authors operating on a budget, however, I recognise that this may be unrealistic.

It is for this reason that I have provided a Knowledge Centre on my website – packed with practical advice on how to improve your novel.

Reading through it and applying my advice to your own work may give you the confidence to carry out one of the editorial processes yourself and so save yourself some money.

What’s more, many editors (including myself) ask to see a sample of a novel before providing a quote.


This means that even if you are planning to hire a professional, getting your manuscript into the best shape you can beforehand can reduce the fee you will be charged.

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