My agent suggested that I should hire a professional editor before she pitched my novel to publishers. It was the best decision she could have made.
Hiring Lesley Jones was the best decision I could have made. You think your novel’s just about perfect when you’ve completed the umpteenth draft, don’t you? You’ve ironed out all the plot flaws, the dodgy bits of characterisation and the implausible bits of dialogue that littered the early drafts and it’s nigh-on perfect, isn’t it? No, it isn’t.
Lesley will improve that ‘perfect’ manuscript in a thousand subtle ways. She’ll iron out the grammatical mistakes and the spelling mistakes; she’ll point out the plot flaws that you’ve overlooked – yup, there’ll be a few; she’ll identify where you’re ‘telling’ the reader what’s happening rather than ‘showing’; she’ll suggest changes when the point of view in a scene isn’t clear enough.
I gave Lesley a book that I hoped publishers would like to buy but I now realise that, had it been offered at that stage, many of them would be irked by hundreds of tiny faults – and a few larger ones.
She returned to me a book that a publisher would at least feel comfortable to read from the word go and that’s got to give it a better chance, hasn’t it?
I was really lucky to find Lesley and even luckier that she squeezed me in to her frighteningly busy schedule – she’s booked up months ahead. So, if you’re nearing the end of your work, drop her a line today so she can fit you in. She’s worth every penny and a delight to work with.Roger Corke, television journalist and director, author of Deadly Protocol
I cannot recommend Lesley Jones highly enough. As an author of fourteen published textbooks I waltzed in thinking I could write a novel, but fiction is a completely different game. I’ve had to learn ‘show, don’t tell’ from scratch, the pitfalls of point of view, head hops, authorial intrusion and info dumps. Without her help, the chances are you will be the only reader of your novel. Lesley has taught me invaluable lessons that I never was aware of.
Do not expect her just to correct punctuation, grammar and spelling, and tell you what a good story you’ve written if you’re as bad as I am. She will ruthlessly and with forensic care take it apart and get you to rewrite whole sections. She will even find inconsistencies in the plot and the timing of events.
On seeing her first edit you will wonder how much of you MS will be left after cutting out the dross, but have no fear, because when you have rewritten the passages incorporating her suggestions, my experience so far is that you end up with a longer MS (although I understand an edit can often result in a lower word count once she’s got rid of the dreaded filler words). But, more importantly, although it is still your story, it reads in a way that is so much better and you will think, with pleasure, did I really write that?
Importantly she carries out her commissions on time, with care, good humour, attention to detail and diligence. She also replies to emails promptly, which is a great bonus if you’re struggling with a query. She really does improve readability and tighten the whole novel.Professor Tony White (writing as James Isaac), author of The Unremarkable Friend and Corruption's Nemesis
Previous experiences and my own lack of confidence meant that fear of the editor was very real for me as a new writer. Lesley Jones has wiped away that fear. She has edited two titles for me to date, and I am delighted that in doing so, Lesley has not stamped her style over my work. Instead, she has tweaked, enhanced, and polished. Better still, Lesley has taught me invaluable lessons in my weakest area… punctuation. For that alone I cannot thank or praise her enough, but that she carried out her commissions on time, with care, and good humour is an additional bonus. I cannot recommend Lesley Jones highly enough, despite knowing I will now have more competition for her valuable time and skills.Joy Dramargon, author of Scarifice – the Prophecy and Salted Wounds
‘Author, you need an editor.
I know, I know. Your book is exceptional. Your book club love it, your best friend loves it and your mother sobbed, she was so proud. The hours you have spent crafting and plotting and working out the dialogue. I tell you now, without the help of a professional, chances are those will be your only readers.
Even if you self-publish, your novel will be sent out into the world without the one investment you cannot afford to miss: Lesley Jones.
Her editing of my novel was swift and surefooted. Even as a broadcaster and journalist, I learnt about the art of writing fiction which even a lifetime of reading and months of writing a novel for the first time had left me floundering.
I needed a signpost. I needed an editor. I needed an editor to make my story good enough to attract an agent. Far from asking for her expert help being an admission your book is in trouble (it probably is), embrace her experience, track record and skill. Relish her ability to shape your story with your voice, only better. I cannot tell you how it feels to look at her work and see your own emerge better, clearer, stronger – I will tell you I danced around my kitchen and felt I was a writer after all.
Just take the decision: your story, your book will be the best it can be so that an agent can see that too. The process is joyful – undivided attention on the one thing that is your glorious obsession: your book. A challenging process when it comes to seeing things differently, deeply satisfying when the story clicks into place.
My journey with Lesley was the best decision I ever made. I am a better writer because of it.
Author, just trust your story, your novel, your writing to a great editor with a proven track record. Think of it as an investment in your future as a writer. You want to be read, don’t you? Commit. Your mother can even sob some more when she holds your published book in her hand.
Go to it.’ Rose Zolock, broadcaster, journalist and author of Medium Wave
‘Lesley has been part of our extensive pool of freelance copy-editors and proofreaders since January 2014. As one of the UK’s largest trade publishers, Pan Macmillan only commission freelancers who have extensive industry experience and/or who have scored highly in our proofreading test – both criteria were easily met by Lesley. Myself and the rest of the Editorial Services team have been greatly impressed by Lesley’s attention-to-detail and diligence. She has engaged excellently with the books she’s worked on for us and is always sensitive to the varied styles of our authors. Given her confidence and professionalism, we’ve had no hesitation in commissioning her to work on books by both brand-name commercial authors and literary stars (among them a Pulitzer-winner). She is personable, flexible and great to work with.’ Fraser Crichton, Editorial Services Assistant, Pan Macmillan
‘Very careful, detailed work.’ The book: Children of TimeAdrian Tchaikovsky, author of Children of Time; Winner of the 30th anniversary Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel
‘As a novice author reaching out from India, opting for Lesley’s editing services was the best decision I could have made. Lesley not only returned the edited manuscript well before schedule, but also ‘vaporised’ my errors and tightened my words to make my book a compelling read. It was indeed an investment, especially when you consider that every Indian Rupee gets factored by eighty in currency exchange, but worth it! ‘Daggers of Treason’ is a historical novel based on the life and reign of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, and must have challenged Lesley’s comfort zone, as the characters, terrain, plot weave, and the heavy usage of Persian words are naturally alien to a British editor. Lesley just waded in with her ‘Arghun’ (an eighty-six-barrelled elephant-mounted Mughal firearm) and cleansed my novel of its several irritants. Lesley is a wonderful editor to work with – meticulous, hardworking, dedicated, and she edits in the author’s voice. I am looking forward to her edit of my sequel ‘The Jhelum Betrayal’, this year. Thank you, Lesley, for making a better writer out of me!’ Niraj Srivastava, India, author of Daggers of Treason; Winner, 5th Annual Beverly Hills Book Awards - Multicultural Fiction
‘My message to all budding writers is: if you want your manuscript to be polished and your words to have a beautiful fluency, then Lesley Jones is the copy editor for you! She simply has a way with words that helps the writer’s message come across without sacrificing the author’s original voice. She is meticulous, professional, and caring with any project she undertakes.’ Mehrdad Noorani, spiritualist author
‘It’s like me, only better.’ Fran Clark, author of The Long Way Home
‘Lesley is fantastic at what she does. She has proofread and edited two of my epic fantasy books, Lesley always keeps me up to date with what she is doing with regards to my stories and will always ask when she needs to make a change. She’s very thorough and a pleasure to work with. I plan to use her for my next few titles because of her consistency and her fair prices.’ H J Cronin, author of Wilmurin, Land of the Druids and Land of Darkness
‘I wish to express how delighted I’ve been with the work Lesley has done on the first book in my quadrilogy, Silicon Hell. Lesley completed the work on time and on budget to a high standard. Her editing style met my requirements exactly and comments on suggested revisions were always constructive. Almost all of Lesley’s suggested revisions were accepted without altering the tone and outcome of the book. Her input most certainly improved its readability and tightened the whole book up. I’m especially grateful to her for picking up on a hole in the plot regarding the timing of a series of events. ‘Good Profit to you’ Lesley!’ R J Ford, author of Silicon Hell
‘Lesley… has been working as a freelancer for Black Library since September 2013. During that time, she has proven to be skilful as copy-editor and proof reader and has continued to improve with time. Lesley has a good eye for detail and is dedicated to the tasks that are asked of her in addition to thoroughly researching the style guides and resources provided for our books. Lesley has always delivered her projects on time and takes suggestions and tips by our editorial staff with enthusiasm and care. I would highly recommend Lesley as a freelancer for her impeccable work ethic, quality of work and attention to deadlines.’ Sarah Greene, Desk Editor, Black Library
‘In her capacity as a freelance proof-reader, Lesley Jones perfected around 15 titles for my publishing house, including novels of all genres, autobiographies and books by well-known actors, including former Doctor Who Colin Baker. She is meticulous in her approach and has an eye for detail not only concerning grammar and spelling but also for factual accuracy and narrative continuity. She presents her work in a concise yet comprehensive format, enabling authors and editors to quickly incorporate her corrections and suggestions. She’s a pleasure to work with and is efficient and professional at all times. It’s no exaggeration to say that Lesley has enhanced the quality of all the books she has worked on for me, and I would have no hesitation in recommending her services to author, editors and publishers.’ Tim Hirst, former owner of Hirst Books