Publication Ready, Special Offer

Authors … I have a new service! Come and take a look #WritingCommunity #AmWriting #AmEditing #CreatingPerfection

I’m delighted to announce my new service: Get Competition Ready

If you’re looking to enter your short story into a writing competition, this is the service for you.

I will edit your manuscript following my Big Difference service, feedback on the plot and characters, and format it as per the needs of the competition host.

This service is for short stories with a maximum of 5000 words.

As a special introductory price, the cost is £50.00 until 31 May 2019, after which it will be £75.00.

For more details and to get in touch, please follow this link.

Author Advice, Manuscript, Publication, Publication Ready, Special Offer

Special Offer! Have your manuscript polished and formatted ready for e-book and paperback publication for just £150 ~ ends 30 April #CreatingPerfection

There’s just under a week left to take advantage of my special offer.

Book my Back to Basics Proofread and E-book Formatting services together for just £150.00 saving a whopping £50!

You can book and pay for this offer now and redeem it at a future date.

Offer ends 30 April 2019.

Author Advice, Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant, Publication, Publication Ready, Punctuation

Creating Perfection has two new author services! #CreatingPerfection #WritingCommunity #AmEditing #AmWriting

Good evening all,

I’m delighted to bring you two new author services this evening.

First, E-book and Paperback Formatting

Second, Back to Basics

Do take a look and let me know if you have any questions.

Have a wonderful week, and keep writing!

Emma x

Author Advice, Beta Reader Questionnaire, Beta Reading, Publication Ready

#BetaReaders ~ what to look for and how to get the best from them #AuthorAdvice #AmWriting #AmReading #AmEditing #CreatingPerfection

In today’s article I’m going to talk about beta readers.

A beta reader is someone who reads your manuscript before it’s sent off for editing. Most likely after you’re happy with the structural and developmental edits but before you go for the final copy/line edits and certainly before you start submitting to agents or publishers.

The idea is they’ll provide feedback from a reader’s point of view on the plot, pacing, and consistency of your manuscript.

They are not proofreaders or editors although some of these professionals will offer this service from a critique partner point of view, so don’t expect them to pick up, or even look for, any mishaps in terms of grammar, punctuation, or spelling.

Beta readers are an excellent resource to authors and when they are used properly, can provide invaluable feedback to strengthen and improve your manuscript.

But what makes a good beta reader? And where do you find them? 

The best place to start is your author friends. If you’re on social media, there are groups on Facebook where you will find people willing to help out, but before you start sourcing them make sure you know what you’re looking for:

  • They should be in your target audience. This way they will know what works – and more importantly, what doesn’t – within that genre and can then apply that knowledge to your manuscript.
  • If they aren’t in your target demographic, they should be experienced in the publishing world and be able to appreciate decent work that doesn’t perhaps appeal to them. They will recognise what creates suspense and what entices the reader to read until the end. They will understand characterisation, plot development, and structure. They will also appreciate that at this stage, a few typos do not a bad first draft make! I’ve heard of manuscripts being torn to pieces by beta readers who didn’t quite understand that this isn’t the final stage of the process and who haven’t appreciated that this is still a work in progress.
  • They should know how to provide constructive feedback. The last thing you need is someone killing your dreams with their harsh words. Constructive criticism allows you to see the areas needing improvement while giving you the hope that it can be fixed.
  • They shouldn’t be too close to you so they are unable to say things you might not want to hear. You may have a best friend who doesn’t hold back on honesty, but others who may shy away from potentially upsetting you and not give their honest opinion.
  • They should be regular readers. There’s no point asking someone who doesn’t enjoy reading.

This is a short list of the ideal characteristics you need to look for and not everyone you select will fall into each category, but that’s fine.

Now let’s look at what you want from them.

What happens if you send your manuscript to ten people with no clear instructions on your expectations? You’ll most likely end up with ten different reports and no idea how to implement all the suggested changes as they’ll probably conflict with each other.

And how do you qualify what each one says?

Perhaps you think a character or sub-plot needs attention but none of the feedback mentions it specifically.

Vague responses can be a nightmare to dissect too.

‘I loved Joe Bloggs.’

‘I hated Jane Doe.’

These might be the reactions you wanted for those characters, but they don’t tell you why or what you’ve done to create those emotions.

Making sure each beta reader has the same ‘instructions’ to guide them is imperative. Outlining your expectations of the feedback isn’t going to be a problem for anyone willing to beta read for you.

Using this Beta Reader Questionnaire, or one similar, will help ensure you’re getting quality and quantifiable feedback that you can make informed decisions about when it comes to editing. If all your betas come back saying the same thing about an element of the manuscript, then you know it’s most likely true; if only one does, then you can put that down to personal preference.

When you do get your feedback, try not to take it to heart if it’s less than complimentary at this stage. This is your opportunity to make your work the best it can be and it’s better to get it perfect now rather than when you’ve re-mortgaged the house to get stock of your paperback into every bookshop in the country!

Let me know what you think in the comments.

How did you choose your team of beta readers? Where did you find them? What else would you add to the questionnaire? Share your tips so other authors have the best chance of getting meaningful feedback.

Have a wonderful day and happy writing x


Author Advice, Editing Assistance, Manuscript, Publication, Publication Ready, Query Letter, Submission Package, Synopsis

Synopsis writing #SynopsisWriting #Synopsis #AmWriting #AmEditing #SynopsisTips #Tips #CreatingPerfection #SynopsisGuide

If there’s one word that unites 99.9% of authors in a collective body shudder, it’s synopsis. Dreaded by authors the world over, it’s a necessary part of getting your manuscript traditionally published or bagging yourself an agent. But what do they want to see in the synopsis and how much information should you give them? And more to the point, what is a synopsis?!

In this article, I’m going to talk about what your synopsis should say and how you should go about putting it together.

So, what is a synopsis?

The Oxford English Dictionary says:

  • a brief summary or general survey of something.
    • an outline of the plot of a play, film, or book.

In essence, your synopsis should detail what your book is about, the reader should be able to determine what type of writer you are and what genre your book is. It isn’t the place to fully outline each and every chapter/sub plot. So basically, you need to tell the reader what happens in your book. Easy, right?

Until you find out you have no more than two pages to do it in – and that’s from a generous publisher! Some want a single sheet – they do typically take it single spaced, but still …

Doesn’t seem so easy now, does it? So, how do you get your eighty thousand word story consolidated into one page?

The late Carole Blake said that the synopsis should answer the following:

  • Whose story is it? Make it clear who the central character is
  • What do they want and what stops them getting it? What is the central character trying to achieve and what are they up against as they try?
  • How do they get it? Is the plot compelling and page-turning?

She recommends describing the action, as the reader experiences it in the book, but without numbering it chapter by chapter. Don’t give the character’s full back-ground, just tell the reader what they need to know about the main plot lines.

Here’s my advice: 

Work through each chapter, pick out the most important parts, and condense it down to two sentences.

The first paragraph should detail the world you’ve created – who is the story about, what are they going through, make the genre clear, and show your writing style. Then, put all your chapter sentences together and make sure the plot lines flow and make sense. You need to expose all the twists and turns and whodunnits. Flesh out the MOST important parts.

Now, read back through it and look at the character/plot arcs. How has your protagonist grown? Did they achieve what they set out to do? How was the plot resolved? Is it clear, concise, and consistent? Will someone reading it, who knows nothing about the book, know exactly what happens to who, when it happens, how it happens, and why it happens?

If you can answer yes to these, then you’re there.

Once you’ve got it nailed, you need to format it in a certain way. Most publishers and agents will detail their preferences on their websites but the general rule of thumb is:

  • Times New Roman 12pt
  • 1.5 spacing
  • Max two pages
  • Capitalise and bold type the first introduction of a character’s name

What NOT to put in a synopsis:

There are some big, huge, absolutely-no-way-not-ever things you need to bear in mind:

  • It is not a chapter by chapter break down of the manuscript
  • It is not a blurb that will fit on the back of the book cover
  • It is not a marketing tool for you
  • It is not your CV
  • Do not use bullet points
  • Do not use it to compare yourself to other authors

Following these tips will give you the best possible start to making your synopsis practically perfect but it’s not a guarantee you’ll get a response.

Hopefully in a better position to tackle your synopsis than you were before you started reading this. Many agents and publishers suggest practising writing the synopsis for a book you know and love, maybe one of the classics. Practising pulling the information down to its rawest form and making it make sense to someone who knows nothing about the plot isn’t easy, but once you start doing it, it gets easier and easier!

If you’re still struggling, I offer a unique service to edit and critique your Submission Package, just click the link for details.

Next week I’ll be talking about the dreaded query letter so let me know if you have any specific questions before then and I’ll try to answer them for you.

Best of luck with your synopsis!

Emma x

Author Advice, Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant, Manuscript, Publication Ready, Punctuation

#Punctuation #Apostrophe use in #fiction #writing #amwriting #amediting #CreatingPerfection

One of the most commonly misused punctuation marks is the apostrophe.

In this article I’ll be talking about, and sharing examples of, how to correctly use one.


In writing, we use ‘s to show possession after singular nouns and indefinite pronouns:

the girl’s hair the man’s beard anyone’s guess

For plural nouns ending in s, we just add the apostrophe:

the neighbours’ cat

And we punctuate time periods in the same way:

the days’ takings three weeks’ time

For compounds and of phrases, use ‘s after the last noun:

my mother-in-law’s cake the Queen of England’s swans

The double possessive making use of both of and ‘s can be used with nouns and pronouns:

a play of Shakespeare’s that car of her father’s

But not with buildings or companies:

a friend of the Smiling Mule the window of the hotel

This one’s a little tricky to remember but we don’t use an apostrophe for the possessive its (belonging to it) but we do for the it contractions (it is / it has):

the dog ate its bone it’s too warm today


The apostrophe is also used to indicate a missing letter or letters from a word. The apostrophe should ‘face’ the way the missing letters should be:

how you doin’ just you wait ’til


The apostrophe is NOT used for plurals. Nor is it used for the following:

Decades: 1960s / 60s

Names: keeping up with the Joneses / sixteen Hail Marys

Abbreviations: CDs / ABCs / DVDs

Other: dos and don’ts

These are just a few of the basics and if you learn these rules, you’ll be in a much better position to polish your own manuscript while going through your edits.

I follow the Oxford Style Guide and you can find more information in New Hart’s Rules.

Best of luck, have a great day, and keep writing!

Competition, Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant, Publication Ready

And the #Winner is … #LittleTweaks #AmEditing #AmWriting #IndieAuthor #SelfPub #IndiePub #Proofreading

I am over the moon to announce that, after very careful consideration of all the brilliant entries, the winner of my Little Tweaks Proofreading competition is …

Hannah Lynn!

Congratulations, Hannah.

Hannah’s debut novel, Amendments is out now and I can’t wait to start working with her on her next book.

Hugest thanks to all who entered the competition, it was a VERY tough decision and I wish you all the very best with your projects. Don’t forget, should you wish to book me for this service within the next six months, you will receive a 25% discount.

Congratulations again, Hannah!


Author Advice, Editing Assistance, Publication Ready, Submission Package

I’m giving one lucky #author the chance to #Win a #SubmissionCritique #AmEditing #AmWriting

It’s competition time!

I’m giving one lucky author the chance to have their submission package critiqued and edited as detailed in my new service.

All you need to do is email me and tell me, in no more than 500 words, why you should win.

That’s it.

Entries must be emailed to: with the subject: Why I Should Win by [YOUR NAME] and your entry must be sent as a MS Word attachment. In the body of the email, tell me a little about you and where you are on your writing journey.

The competition closes at twelve noon on Friday, 20 April 2018 and the winner will be announced on Monday, 23 April 2018.

Your manuscript doesn’t need to be complete, but you must be in a position to claim the prize within three months. 

All entrants will be eligible to a 50% discount on this service if booked and paid for within six months of the competition closing.

Here’s the small print:

  • The competition is open to any fiction author looking to submit a complete (novel, novella, or short story collection) manuscript to agents and publishers.
  • The manuscript must be written in English (British or American English).
  • The author must have their submission package (cover letter, synopsis, and sample chapters) ready to be critiqued within three months of winning.
  • The author understands that the advice and editing will not guarantee that their manuscript is accepted by any agent or publisher.
  • Entrants wishing to take advantage of the 50% discount must do so within six months of the competition closing.
  • Entrants will receive a confirmation email which must be kept as proof of entry for the discount to be applied.
  • Entrants received after the closing time will not be entered into the competition nor will they be eligible for the discount.

Feel free to share this far and wide!

Good luck!

Author Advice, Case Study, Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant, Manuscript, Publication, Publication Ready, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#70% of self-published authors advise using professional editing #IndieAuthor #SelfPublishing #IndiePub #AmWriting #AmEditing

Regular readers of this blog will know that for the last few months I have been sharing the journeys of some self-published, indie authors.

They have shared with us the highs and lows of their experiences, from having to learn new skills and discovering a whole new world of online marketing.

Although all have shared that there are low points, the majority are success stories, maybe not in that they are all multi-award winners with a case of bestsellers under their belts, but every one has overcome something to achieve their dream of being a published author.

I asked all the authors involved if they had any advice for others looking to start their journey and a staggering 70% said that the main thing to do before you publish your manuscript is to ensure you have a great editor:

Pauline Barclay, author of six self-published novels says, ‘Always use a professional editor, never assume you can do it yourself.’ 

Stephen Enger, who self-published his first six books and is now traditionally published for his last five (Endeavour Press and now Bookouture), says, ‘I wish I’d spent more time seeking professional editing support for those early books. The stories are good, but the quality of writing is not as strong as it perhaps could have been.’

Conrad Jones, who has self-published seventeen novels told me, ‘Editing is king! Finding a good editor/ proofreader is everything.’

You can read their full interviews by clicking on their names, and search #SelfPublishingCaseStudy to find more advice from other authors.

There was lots of other advice given too, when I asked Rachel Amphlett, self-published author of fifteen crime thrillers, what she wished she’d known before she started on her journey, she told me, ‘You really need to sit down and prepare a business and marketing plan rather than leave everything to chance. In fact, if you’ve only got one book available, I’d wait until the second one is ready to go before you publish, simply because that way you can maintain your visibility on the retailers’ websites.’

While Alan Jones credits his success to date to the help of book bloggers, stating, ‘I wish I’d known about Book Bloggers and Facebook book clubs. The limited success I’ve had so far is almost entirely down to them.’

What I have seen from this #casestudy so far is that self-publishing isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a solo journey. Although you may have spent hours and hours locked away with your manuscript, getting it out into the world isn’t something you should attempt on your own. There are a whole host of people who can help you ensure that your manuscript is practically perfect, that your cover is current and eye-catching, that you get the exposure online you need to reach potential readers. But you have to put in the effort.

Don’t hit the publish button until you have built up an online presence and made sure that your book is the best it possibly can be.

Make a start on these while you’re writing. Start chatting to people in Facebook groups or on Twitter. Start researching editors and finding out what you are going to need to save to pay for their services. Start saving now so that when you are ready you are in a positon to hire the editor you want.

Take a look through the other case studies, they are filled with some invaluable advice! And, if you’re an indie author who would like to share their journey, click here for the questions.

I’ll leave you with this piece of advice from Louise Ross, bestselling author of the amazing DCI Ryan series:

‘Be brave, be persistent and give it a go. You’ve nothing to lose!’ 

Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant, Publication, Publication Ready

This is why I do it! When a #review makes you cry – Thank you, Roger! @RogerBray22 #indieauthor #selfpub #amediting #amwriting

As a book blogger, I have received messages from many authors telling me that my review made them cry. Today it was my turn to receive a review that brought a tear or ten …

Roger Bray is an Australian author who self-published two books, only using someone to help him with the covers. A year or so down the line, he decided that although the reviews he was getting were good, the comments about editing were getting him down to the point he took both books off the market so that he could have them professionally edited.

Both of Roger’s books have now been republished and I received this review from him this morning:

‘Emma was recommended to me through a discussion site, Book Connectors on Facebook, for authors. They have my heartfelt thanks. There seem to be a lot of bad editors out there but the gods were smiling on me when I found Emma. She took my manuscripts and turned them into something far better than I could ever have achieved. She is professional, friendly, and knowledgeable. Emma, and the process I went through with her, made me a better writer, more confident in my abilities, and more aware of the pitfalls I had unerringly found trying to go solo. Thoroughly recommended and worth every penny she charges.’
I am overwhelmed by this, Roger. Thank you!
If you’d like to check out the books, Psychosis is out now (click the cover below to be taken to Amazon) and The Picture will be available in a couple of weeks, I’ll keep you posted
Psychosis: When a Dream Turns Deadly by [Bray, Roger]
When Hazel disappears, the police are convinced that her husband, Alex, has killed her.
Three years after his conviction for murder, Alex and his sister, Alice, are devastated when their last appeal is rejected by the courts. With nowhere left to turn, Alice must start to put her life back together.
Living in limbo herself, Alice has a chance encounter with Steve, an ex-solider turned PI who offers to look at the case files. Steve is convinced that the prosecution’s case is shaky at best, but can he find out the truth before it’s too late for Alex?