Fiction Services

If you have written a novel or short story, and you intend to self-publish it or to submit it to an agent or publisher, I can offer you a thorough copy-editing service; as a published novelist myself I am aware of the standards required in order to achieve publication. As a historian I specialise in historical fiction but am also happy to take on more general fiction work.

This service can include any or all of the following, depending on your exact requirements:

  • Checking your work for errors of spelling, grammar and punctuation;
  • Improving the structure of sentences and paragraphs to enhance clarity and concision;
  • Ensuring consistency of style, fact and formatting;
  • Basic fact-checking;
  • Commenting on consistency of plot, characterisation, point of view, etc.

If you would additionally like me to look at your synopsis or submission cover letter then I am very happy to do this.


What is the difference between developmental editing, copy-editing and proofreading?

Developmental editing is the big-picture work on making sure you have a complete story, believable characters, and so on; it generally involves significant restructuring of the work as a whole. If you do not already have a complete manuscript, you might want to engage the services of a specialist developmental editor before you approach me. If you have a complete manuscript which you’re generally happy with but which needs a bit of a polish, then now is the time to contact me.

Copy-editing means preparing your text for publication or submission by improving its readability and establishing a consistent style throughout the document. I will be able to do this for you, and also to comment on aspects such as scene-setting, characterisation and point of view. I will help you to apply consistently any decisions you have made, so if something doesn’t look right (e.g., someone is acting in a way which seems out of character with the way you have portrayed them elsewhere in the story), I will flag this.

Proofreading means identifying and marking any typographical errors and omissions that remain after your document has been edited or which have crept in when it was typeset. A document is usually proofread several times during the publication process.


How much will it cost?

As each document will vary in content, length and the nature of the work required, I will ask to see a sample and will produce an individual quotation for you. I am very happy to carry out a sample edit of two or three pages of your work if you would find this helpful when deciding whether or not to engage my services.


A couple of things to note

I should probably add that there are a couple of things I can’t do for you. Firstly, I can’t write your book for you: your work needs to have your individual voice, so you should have a complete manuscript before you think about engaging my services. Secondly, I can’t guarantee that your book or story will be accepted for publication. So much in the publishing world is down to the individual preferences of agents and editors that it is impossible to predict what will catch their eye. However, your work will be free of the errors which are the primary cause of many rejections, which should help!


Recent testimonials

“Many thanks for your comments on the book. I’ve had a chance to read through them and I’m really pleased with how thorough they are. It’s good to have had a fresh pair of objective eyes evaluating the text in detail. You’ve picked up on numerous issues I’d overlooked and some I was aware of but hadn’t properly addressed. I found your notes constructive and I appreciated your positive observations on various aspects of the writing and characters.” Author of WWI novel

“Your notes and comments are SO useful – I’m wondering why it’s taken me so long to go through this process! You have picked up things which I really should have noticed before.” Author of historical fiction set in the nineteenth century

“Cath undertook the editing of my first book in a thoroughly professional way. She put me at my ease and it was a pleasure to deal with her. The work was done faster than she had scheduled and the style sheet, notes and edited manuscript made polishing the work easy. I would recommend her.” Author of historical fiction set in the Georgian navy

“A keen eye for detail, Catherine Hanley provides an excellent editing service and can be relied upon to give valuable advice on text content, flagging up inconsistencies in style and any discrepancies within the plot – highly recommended.” Editor (fiction), The Mystery Press