Our project management role is as wide or as focussed as you want to make it. We can see book projects through from author’s first draft to final delivery with a package of promotional material, or oversee one or two facets of the production. We can interact with printers, prepare briefs for quotes, and help choose the best solution for the individual project.
Developmental and Content Editing
First we evaluate your manuscript at the paragraph, chapter and book levels and identify the ‘big-picture’ areas that need work. We analyse the possible uses of the work to determine that the content is complete and appropriate, that concepts are developed adequately, and that the material is well-organised. We also make sure that all photos, illustrations and so forth, are used effectively throughout your book. Once these changes have been made, your book is then content edited.
We like to think of this process as ‘panel beating’. Most manuscripts require it to a greater or lesser extent. It can be as radical as re-ordering the entire structure of a book, but often it's more a matter of ensuring consistency in style or, possibly, plugging gaps in content.
We can offer advice and suggestions to improve the content of the book – this is where the detached perspective of an editor becomes helpful, picking up on potential problems or omissions before the book reaches the critical public. This may involve the rewriting of sections but with a careful eye on retaining the style of the work.
'Style is important – the author’s voice should never be compromised. However sometimes it needs a little coaching to come out clearly. I’m an author myself and I know how difficult it is to let someone else at my ‘timeless’ prose. Yet I know through personal experience how much better my work reads when touched by skilful editorial hands.' (PC)
This is the ‘filling-in’ and ‘smoothing down’ of the manuscript, refining and clarifying. We correct errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, continuity problems and lapses in logic.
Polish, polish and then polish some more. This is the final edit before the manuscript is published. We hate mistakes in a book. This is the stage to catch them and correct any typos, formatting mistakes or errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling that have been missed in the copy editing stage. It’s a specialist job and authors are notoriously bad at proofreading their own books. (The ‘spell check’ on your computer is worst of all. You need proof? Bell let us show you. There, you see, the spell check fails again!) No, you need completely fresh, absolutely focussed, human eyes to check your work, and then check it again before it goes to the printers. Author's corrections are prohibitively expensive. Money saved by avoiding them is much better spent promoting your book.
Writing and rewriting
It takes some sensitivity to change another writer’s work. But sometimes a book (and the writer) needs help to develop thoughts and arguments. We are able to provide new sections or rewrites of passages in the author’s own style. In the past, many of our writers have not only thanked us for adding to the value of their book but some have not even noticed that any rewriting had been done!
This is what Maurice Pledger wrote in his Acknowledgments in his book While My Float's Still Cocked:
'Paul Curtis, unbelievably, read it all through and within not too long handed it back to me as if it had never been touched. Touched it had been, and by a magic hand.'
Titles and Blurbs
We use tried and tested advertising techniques like USP (unique selling proposition) and ESP (emotional selling proposition) to help write titles and blurbs that sell books.
The title (with the cover design) is the ultimate distillation of what’s inside the book. It should have impact and give the prospective reader both rational and emotional reasons why he or she should buy the book. We can assess an author’s title and, where necessary, work with them to improve on, or fine tune, the initial title thought.
How many publishers spend days agonising over the title and cover design and only minutes over the blurb that goes on the back cover? How many understand how to match the personality of the blurb to the personality of the book, and to their target customer? We know that the blurb is the most important sales message you can write about a book and are confident that those we deliver will be exceptional. Please read a couple we've written in our 'Showcase' section.
Design and Photography
We offer design from concept to finished product. Beginning with your text and other source materials, we can create a complete layout that best captures the personality of each book and then produce print-ready PDFs. Pete brings a wealth of design experience to even the most complicated layouts. Using Photoshop and other image editing software, he likes nothing better than manipulating pictures, montaging and deep-etching to construct an eye-catching image for your cover. He also aims to bring out the best technically from any pictures that are to be used in the project and advises on how to supply images and make various amendments that will reproduce well to enhance the final product. Pete is an experienced photographer and his pictures have added greatly to many of the books he's designed. The UK book designs shown in our website are largely Pete’s work. In addition he is known not only for his impactful cover designs but also for his stylish, highly-readable, page design and typography. Pete prides himself on his versatility and his ability to capture the essence of the book in visual terms. Take a look at some of his designs in our 'Showcase' section.
We can advise on and liaise with printers, get competitive quotes, and chaperone your work through to the final printed output. We can also advise on specialist bindings where necessary.
Drawing on our award-winning advertising expertise, we will develop original, high-quality work that sells. Advertisements, promotional material, websites, brochures, booklets, catalogues, annual reports ... you name them, we can produce them, fast and cost-effectively.
A Note on Rates
Our rates extremely competitive and are dependent on the job required. We generally negotiate upfront an overall fee on a project basis, but individual services can be quoted by the hour. We pride ourselves on delivering on time, on budget, and have never missed a deadline. Please contact us for a no-strings quote on your project, or if you would like any further information.
Country Pursuits • Sports • History • Military • Art • Cookery • Design