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How We Started

Betterwrite was started by Rob Matthews.

"I Studied English at the University of East Anglia where my tutors were Angus Wilson (Anglo-Saxon Attitudes) and Malcolm Bradbury (The History Man) – distinguished novelists in their day. They started the original Creative Writing Course, which produced Booker Prize-winners like Ian McEwan (Atonement) and Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day). I taught English in Africa, got an MA in Linguistics, wrote an English textbook (Language Power), then discovered SfEP, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. There I found lots of people I could learn from. They helped me become an 'Advanced Professional' editor. I'm still learning.

Is that an impressive CV? One thing I didn't mention, I failed all my 'O' levels! Except English. That was a wake-up call. It taught me to prepare well, and work effectively."

How We Work

All our Betterwrite editors are SfEP members. To improve your novel, two hand-picked SfEP editors work together. We do a development edit, you do the rewriting, then we do a copy-edit.

First we read the whole ms and do a development edit. That means a standalone editorial report, or illustrated critique. The report/critique makes general points about your novel, praising the good aspects and also identifying the weaknesses. It’s a macro, big-picture view which highlights elements like structure, theme, plot, characters, narrative, pace and dialogue. It’s an illustrated critique because the general comments are illustrated by particular points in your ms that need rewriting.

You put those faults right by rewriting the weak parts of the ms.

Then we do a complete copy-edit.

When you do the rewriting, you’re following detailed guidance in the critique. That way, you as the author stay in control of your text. It’s a partnership between author and editor. The editor suggests specific changes in the critique, but doesn’t do the rewriting herself – you, the author, do the rewriting, so it’s still totally your book.

We as editors guide and encourage you through the rewriting process. You’ve already got a good novel: it just needs shaping, chopping and trimming to bring out its potential, and that’s what you’re doing when you rewrite the selected passages – following your development editor’s guidance.

After you’ve finished rewriting, your editor is still on hand to read your revised version, tightened up and improved. The excess has been trimmed away, the dodgy bits improved, and the essential quality of the novel is revealed. When you and your development editor are both satisfied with the overall shape and structure of your text, we do a copy-edit from start to finish.

So the development edit deals with the macro weaknesses of your novel, and the copy-edit weeds out mistakes of grammar, punctuation and spelling, and improves the flow and clarity of your writing.
Now, you’ve got an excellent novel! You can send it to an agent, or publish it yourself. Either way, we’ll publicise it on our Betterwrite website.

Who We Work With

Most indie writers are ordinary people. They aren’t full-time professional authors, and they don’t have the backing of a commercial publisher.

But they say: ‘Everyone has a book inside them.’

What’s the book inside you: a thriller, a romantic saga, or a memoir based on your own life-story?

These days, lots of ordinary people self-publish their books on the internet. If you do that, you can find readers who enjoy your writing. If you write a follow-up novel, you’ll already have a fan-base of readers who want to buy it. But your first draft always needs knocking into shape with a big-picture development edit, and your mistakes need weeding out with a line-by-line copy-edit. That’s what Betterwrite can do for you.

What We Charge

The cost of editing varies, depending on the time needed to improve a text. Some writers say ‘I can’t afford to get my novel edited.’ But if you want anyone to read your book, you can’t afford not to have it edited.

Some writers say ‘I can afford a copy-edit, but not a development edit.’ Or vice versa. The reality is that your first draft has macro faults at whole-book and paragraph level, and micro faults at word and sentence level. And all the faults need correcting. That’s why you need a development edit and a copy-edit. Betterwrite offers you both, at a reasonable cost. Click on CHARGES for more details.