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Honest, reliable advice from Michael Garrett,
editor of 2,000+ book-length manuscripts and hundreds of short stories

If you've been searching for the best manuscript editors, you already know how frustrating the process can be. On this page I offer objective, reliable information to assist you in your search, whether you choose me as your editor or not. I don't use hard sales tactics to solicit new business; honesty, professionalism, and reasonable pricing have provided a steady flow of clients for me over the years. I routinely reject manuscripts because I have more business than I can handle already, so I have no reason to mislead you.

First and foremost, competent book editors provide an important service, but many, if not most, whom you'll contact online fail to have the degree of commercial experience necessary to help you make your manuscript impressive to publishers and readers alike.


The right manuscript editor will help you make a more powerful first impression!


Editorial Services recommended by Preditors & Editors

Michael Garrett, one of many book doctors and manuscript editorsMy name is MICHAEL GARRETT, and I don't want to be everyone's editor.

I cherish my life as an author and editor. It has always defined who I am as a human being, and as such, I've derived great joy in helping other writers, whether I serve as their editor or not. For years I've offered free advice on my web sites and have taught writing workshops across the nation.

This is admittedly a tricky business, and it's easy to make a poor decision. I've served on many occasions as a second editor to writers who paid far more than I charge for an initial edit that ultimately proved disappointing, and even when a manuscript has been previously edited, I typically find just as many problems as with a manuscript that hasn't been edited at all.

I'm selective in choosing clients because I only want to work with those who are serious about improving their skills. Some people want to be published authors, but don't care about the writing itself. I want those "writers" to find another editor. I intend for my edit to be an educational experience; in fact, I've been told many times that more was learned from a single edit from me than from years of previous study and attendance at writing workshops and conferences.

If you truly want to become the best you can be, to improve your skills and reduce your future dependence on editors, I'm the editor you're looking for. You must be agreeable to an extensive rewrite following completion of my edit; in fact, if you only plan to make mindless corrections from the marked up manuscript, I prefer you to find someone else to edit your work.

One thing is for certain -- there are serious problems in your manuscript that must be addressed. No one can possibly get it right the first time. You'll likely be exposed to issues that you've never even heard of because they aren't taught in schools. Even though there are problems in your work, however, it doesn't mean that you're a weak writer; you're just an uninformed writer until you learn the entire scope of what makes commercially successful manuscripts.

I've edited over 2,000 book length manuscripts, and no more than five or so of them were anywhere close to meeting commercial standards, but even they needed additional work. Many, if not most, of my clients have decent writing skills, but there's far more to effective manuscripts than writing skills alone. Be prepared to learn new dimensions of the writing process if you choose me as your editor.

If you're a serious writer, you're a special person. Writer's tend to have a unique perspective on life and have a tendency to see life events and issues differently from the average person.

If you're a serious writer, I urge you to embrace it and constantly strive to get better. There's always room for improvement.

Good luck with your writing!

When it's time to get
professional feedback,
please keep me in mind.

CLICK HERE to apply for my services.

Michael Garrett's editorial services are listed
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The facts about
manuscript editors and

Just as there are good literary agents and bad literary agents, the same applies to manuscript editing. Only a few "A-list" editors are available; the rest are wannabe's. Don't make a crucial mistake. Take your time to find the right manuscript editor for your work.

What does a manuscript edit cost?

I've seen rates vary from as little as one cent per word to as much as five cents per word, and the five-cent editor may not be any better than the one-cent guy. Make your decision based on verifiable commercial experience first, then by cost. My fee is only 1.5 cents per word, and you'll find complete details about securing my services at www.manuscriptcritique.com.

   What types of editorial services are available?

The process of finding the right editor can be confusing and frustrating because there's little uniformity between editors in terms of how they describe and offer their services. They tend to develop their own terminology which can vary from one editor to the next.

I personally find it difficult to turn my brain on and off to offer varying levels of service. I prefer to devote my entire attention to every manuscript and look for all potential problems, so I offer one service only, a full scope edit that includes a line edit with a marked up manuscript and a detailed written report. See www.manuscriptcritique.com for more info.

  What can I expect from manuscript editing?

Book edits are largely misunderstood. Edits alone won't improve your manuscript; only you can do that. A true editor is actually a consultant who identifies and informs you of issues within your manuscript, but it's up to you to address them. Your top choice among book doctors, manuscript editors & other editorial services for writers & publishers An artist would never allow an art critic or consultant to apply a brush to his canvas, and true authors should be equally as protective of their own work. A qualified book editor will tell you where your manuscript falls short of publisher and reader expectations, then it's up to you decide which issues and to what degree they should be addressed in a rewrite. Your manuscript is your work and no one else's. You should be the only one to decide on necessary alterations.


CLICK HERE for further information


                        Beware of Sample Edits

Even the weakest of manuscript editors can appear deceptively strong on the basis of a few marks on pages of text. Inexperienced editors volunteer "sample" edits because it gives them a misleading opportunity to compete with more seasoned editors who don't have to "prove" anything. If an editor has actual experience with major New York publishers, what more could you want from a prospective editor? Why would you feel the need to put him/her to the test when experience speaks for itself? Besides, there is no accurate way to judge the depth of a potential editor's skill based upon the results of a few pages alone. Many major manuscript issues cannot be "marked," but must be explained in a report. Again, when a prospective editor can prove that he/she has actually edited some of the literary giants of the world, what more assurance could you possibly need that this editor can deliver quality professional results?

      Should I copyright my manuscript prior to                      submitting it for an edit?

If you're concerned about the security of your manuscript during the editing process, visit the U.S. Copyright Office's FAQ page. You'll find that your work is protected by law even without formal registration. It's highly unlikely that your manuscript will be plagiarized by anyone.

Could an unscrupulous book editor steal your idea? It's possible, but highly unlikely. Serious writers rarely want to write someone else's idea; in fact, all serious writers whom I know have more ideas of their own than they'll ever have time to write. The theft of an idea is basically a needless fear. Hire an editor whom you trust!

     Will my manuscript be print-ready following                          completion of an edit?

No editor can improve your style; only you can do that through continued practice. Edits alone can't make a manuscript publishable; again, only authors or ghostwriters can do that. Editors are like coaches. They can't play the game for you, but they can prepare you for your best performance. An effective editing experience is not limited to making corrections to your master file from marked up hard copy. That's the least of the process, although its importance is exaggerated on many well-meaning web sites.

A ghostwriter can possibly make your novel print-ready, but only after you pay him/her thousands of dollars to essentially rewrite your entire manuscript, which goes far beyond the scope of an edit. I personally know of an author who paid $20,000 to have his novel made over by a ghostwriter and it still didn't sell to commercial publishers. Making a novel print-ready isn't about making grammatical and punctuation changes only; many critical issues identified by your editor will require sentence-to-sentence reconstruction which, again, is the work of a ghostwriter rather than an editor if you're opposed to doing it yourself; plus, if you choose the ghostwriter route, you run the risk of losing your own author's "voice" in your manuscript.

If you're willing to allow someone else to alter your work, do you truly want to become a professional writer? Why would you allow a stranger, regardless of his/her credentials, to tamper with something as personal as your written word? Why would you not want to learn what it takes to become self-sufficient as an author?

A serious author objects to someone else putting words into his/her mouth. I want clients who have long-term goals of becoming successful authors. I was Stephen King's first editor; if you're the kind of client I'm looking for, perhaps I'll eventually be recognized as your first editor, too.

           Should I get a critique evaluation or
                           a complete edit?

I don't recommend generic critiques or evaluations. Why? Because they are entirely based on opinion. Ask ten editors and you'll likely get ten different opinions. As a result, the feedback is virtually meaningless. Why would you make an important decision regarding your manuscript based only upon opinion? I work with concrete facts when I edit, not opinions. In other words, I identify issues that will prove objectionable to most legitimate publishers. As a result, you get a chance to correct or remove real, identifiable problems prior to submission.

An opinion won't prove helpful in making your manuscript appeal to a majority of publishers, not even mine. What I personally "like" doesn't matter; specific problems that routinely reflect inferior work matter a lot!



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                          Why do writers need editors?

Commercial publishing standards are not taught in schools. You can complete the best fine arts curriculum anywhere and still won't know how commercial publishers evaluate submissions. Even if you self-publish, your manuscript should meet commercial standards or else you run the embarrassing risk of branding yourself as an amateur.

If you plan to submit your manuscript to traditional publishers, you should eliminate all possible errors in advance. Manuscript submissions may be rejected for the simplest of reasons. Likewise, you could be unknowingly committing major errors. You have only one opportunity to make a first impression on agents, publishers, and readers; a professional edit will enable you to maximize the impression you make.

If you plan to self-publish, you'll want your printed book to compare favorably with commercially published books, all of which are subjected to thorough edits; you could be seriously embarrassed if your published book is riddled with amateurish mistakes. A careful edit is just as important for self-publication as it is for commercial works.

    How can I trust someone whom I know so little about?

Obviously, you can't completely trust a stranger. For your own protection and peace of mind you should verify a prospective editor's credentials. Check Preditors & Editors for any possible complaints lodged against an editor you're considering, and give major consideration to the editors this site recommends.

             Why is total payment in advance necessary?

When paid half up front and the remainder on completion, editors have a tendency to sugar-coat their comments to assure receipt of the final payment. To get the best, most honest evaluation of your work, an editor can't be at risk for payment in full.
Remember, you're paying for criticism. You may not agree with everything your editor says about your work. Sometimes the truth hurts, but only total honesty from your editor will prove helpful. Editors who allow payment plans can't be as forthcoming in their comments as those who receive total payment up front.

             Is there a down side to an electronic edit?

Hiring an editor to work directly with your electronic file actually excludes you from the valuable learning experience you would otherwise gain by making the corrections to the manuscript yourself. If you're serious about a career as a professional writer, you should take the time to learn what your editor points out to you so that you won't make those same mistakes in the future. I no longer work with electronic files, as I feel they serve an injustice to my clients. I want clients who seek to become professional writers, and you won't get there by allowing someone else to do the work for you.
Also, many manuscript problems such as viewpoint, show don't tell, and others require extensive rewriting, which an editor will rarely do. That's the job of a ghostwriter, so you will likely still need to address major issues yourself, even with an electronic edit.


                                  Criticism of competitors

Legitimate professionals attract business based upon their own impressive credentials, not by attempting to destroy the competition. Jealousy exists in all walks of life, but it shouldn't interfere with the way one does business.

                             False / misleading credentials

Don't take anyone's word for his or her credentials. Verify it in black-and-white.
Your top choice among book doctors, manuscript editors & other editorial services for writers & publishersFor instance, to verify my credentials, go to
AMAZON.COM and search for Michael Garrett. I'm not the only editor/ author by that name, but you'll readily find the internationally published HOT BLOOD anthologies that I've edited for Pocket Books and Kensington Publishing. (I'm credited as co-editor right on the covers.) You'll also find my written works, KEEPER, my novel, now available in Kindle and audio formats, as well as my non-fiction book on the writing profession, THE PROSE PROFESSIONAL.

Any legitimate professional should make it similarly easy for you to verify his/her qualifications.

                       Emphasis on academic credentials

Academic background carries little weight in the editing of manuscripts intended for commercial publication. For instance, a high school or college English professor could examine the grammar and spelling of your manuscript, but entirely miss commercial issues important to the publisher. If academic credentials were essential to commercial publishing success, most English teachers would be best-selling authors. Instead, best-selling authors generally come from all walks of life, such as John Grisham's academic education as an attorney. Punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure are important, but they alone fall far short of making a novel publishable.


Watch out for editors who attract business based upon their own impressive credentials, but then sub-contract the actual editing to less qualified manuscript editors. Ask any editor whom you're considering if he/she personally edits everything he/she accepts. I'm not affiliated in any way with other editors.

                                Heavy-handed referrals

It's not unusual for P.O.D. publishers or literary agents to recommend that you writing equipment for writers seeking book doctors and manuscript editors to learn how to be publishedseek the help of an editor; however, if this same person insists that you work with one particular editor, there could be a kick-back financial arrangement going on, the result of which could mean that the recommended editor isn't the best/most qualified professional to edit your manuscript. Use caution; it's typically best to find your own editor. I receive no referral fees from any source.

Likewise, publishers are in the business of publishing and agents are in the business of agenting. If either urges you to pay for their editorial services, go elsewhere to someone who specializes in editing.

                                Universal qualifications

As is the case with all other professions, manuscript editors typically specialize within a few specific categories. No one is qualified to professionally edit everything. Someone who claims to be universally qualified is likely desperate for business. If an editor isn't selective as to the type of manuscripts to be edited, how honest can he/she be? I often turn business away when I don't feel that I'm the best fit for someone's manuscript. In such cases I urge potential clients to investigate other editors before deciding on me.

The Prose Professional by Manuscript Editor and Book Doctor Michael Garrett


Strange Bedfellows by Manuscript Editor and Book Doctor Michael Garrett


To consider the editorial services of Michael Garrett, CLICK HERE.