The Importance of Booking Early…

The Importance of Booking Early…

The other day I received a request for a quote. Not normally a problem, apart from the fact that the author expected me to be able to complete a copy edit on an 80k manuscript by the end of this month. Like many editors, I can only take on a limited amount of work per month. There is only one of me. This means that my schedule fills up fast, and I hate disappointing authors because my calendar is full. I know that feeling of excitement when your story is fabulous and it’s ready for the next stage. The trouble is, you need to make sure you already have an editor lined up ready to take that manuscript to the next level of awesome. You may think that this is impossible, but the fact is, writing and indie publishing are like any other job: deadlines and targets are a thing. Editors have to carefully balance what they take on to make sure that they don’t overstretch, and that the work they take on gets the attention it deserves. This means that many only take on one project at a time. A manuscript of that size would take me at least three weeks depending on the standard of the work submitted. ‘Why so long?’ I hear you say. It takes this long because it’s not the same as simply giving it a read through. Editing on that level means slowing right down and looking at every sentence in detail.

In light of this, I have put together an editing todo list for you. A printable pdf list will soon be available in the shop for £1.00. I will also advise here that you employ a different editor for every stage. The reason being is that an editor is human and they will also become over familiar with the book. Best practice is to give each stage to a fresh pair of eyes.

First Stage | Developmental


Finish the first draft.
Don’t book anything until you have a book.
Set a realistic target for publishing.
Allow yourself a year between completion of the first draft and publication.
Book developmental editor.
  • Allow 3 months for self editing. Never submit a first draft.
  • Make sure you employ an editor who works within your genre. A romance author is unlikely to be prepared to edit a space opera.
  • Most developmental editors allow for 2 rounds within their pricing.
    • Make sure you get dates for the start of both rounds, allowing a month between the deadline of the first to be returned to you and the start of the second.
    • You don’t want to finish the first revision only to have to wait 3 months for your editor to be able start the second round.
Make a note of editor details.
  • Editor name: ____________
  • Email: _________________
  • Phone: ________________
  • Booking reference: 
  • Submission date: 
  • Agreed deadline: 
  • Submission for 2nd round: 
  • Agreed Deadline:


Finish the self-edit.
  • Make sure you finish at least one round of self editing within a week of submission date, and make sure you submit on time.
  • Focus on plot and characterisation for now.


Give yourself a break!
This is a really important time to go and refill that creative well. Use it.


Review editor’s suggestions, reflect, and take advice on board.
Allow at least a month to make any changes before submitting for a second round of editing.


Second stage | Copy editing


Book copy editor at least three months in advance.
This will not only give you a target deadline to make any additional changes, but will also avoid disappointment and a last minute panic.
Make a note of editor details.
  • Editor name: ___________
  • Email: _________________
  • Phone: ________________
  • Booking reference:
  •  Submission date:
  •  Agreed deadline:
Make sure you delete previous editing comments and accept/decline suggested changes before you send it to the copy editor.
Turning off track changes and setting it to show ‘no mark-up’ only hides the suggestions.
Book your proofreader
Do this as soon as you have booked your copyedit and allow yourself at least 2 weeks after the return deadline to review their changes.
Review changes individually
  • Do not click accept all.
  • Remember that it’s important to maintain the author’s voice. The editor’s input should be invisible. It’s your book: not theirs.

Third stage | Proofreading


This is the final stage of editing before publication.
  • The previous two stages should have been completed before submitting for a proofread.
  • Cover design and formatting are another part of the process and don’t really qualify as editing. You will need to know the page count for the cover designer to complete their work on any hard copies (paperback, hardback, and large print) because this will affect the spine dimensions.
  • You should have booked your cover designer and formatter by the time you submit your manuscript to the proofreader.
Make a note of editor details.
  • Editor name: ___________
  • Email: _________________
  • Phone: ________________
  • Booking reference:
  • Submission date:
  • Agreed deadline:
Review changes individually.
Do not just click accept all.
AnnaProofing Updates

AnnaProofing Updates

I’m Back!

The summer holidays are over, kids are back at school, and I am now taking on new work. Yay!

If you have a project that is ready for editing please drop me an email, and I would be more than happy to discuss your needs.

For the benefit of new authors, I book up several months in advance so even if your manuscript isn’t ready yet, it’s a good idea to book early for around the time you think it will be. I charge £20 for a sample edit to cover my time, but that is refunded on the final invoice if you take me on for the project.

If you need me to edit academic work (proofreading only), students get a 10% discount off my normal rates.

In a bid to streamline my service, I now use a plugin called Panorama. This is a project management tool that will allow clients to log into a dashbord and see exactly what stage their project is at, and maintain easy access to all relevant files (quote, service agreement, payment schedule and account statement etc). When you take me on for a project you will be set up with an account and provided with login details. Any further work you send my way will also be managed through there. 

The Importance of Booking Early…

Weekly Round-Up

Sorry for the hiatus in my content, I have been extremely busy with editing and it has not allowed time for creating content, and I spent the first two weeks of April visiting family in Zimbabwe. Don’t worry: I won’t bore you with my holiday photos.

This post has something for everyone. There are links to some great advice as well as some interesting news from PRH who plan to reward readers for their loyalty. I’ve also included some great book suggestions.


Penguin Random House in the US has launched a ‘Reader Rewards Loyalty Program’, a free promotional initiative that lets readers earn one free book for every 12 PRH titles they purchase.


5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 6)

by K. M. Weiland


Want to take your writing to the next level? Discover the “secrets” of story structure other authors are overlooking!

If you’ve read all the books on story structure and concluded there has to be more to it than just three acts and a couple of plot points, then you’re absolutely right! It’s time to notch up your writing education from “basic” to “black belt.” Internationally-published author K.M. Weiland shares five “secret” techniques of advanced story structure.

In the multi-award-winning Structuring Your Novel, Weiland showed writers how to use a strong three-act structure to build a story with the greatest possible impact on readers. Now it’s time to take that knowledge to the next level.

In this supplemental book, you’ll learn:

    • Why the Inciting Event isn’t what you’ve always thought it is
    • What your Key Event is and how to stop putting it in the wrong scene
    • How to identify your Pinch Points—and why they can make the middle of your book easier to write
    • How to create the perfect Moment of Truth to move your protagonist from reaction to action
    • How to ace your story’s Climactic Moment every single time

And much more!

By the time you’ve finished this quick read, you’ll know more about story structure than the vast majority of aspiring authors will ever know—and you’ll be ready to write an amazing novel that stands above the crowd.

Outline Your Novel

by K. M. Weiland

Can Outlining Help You Write a Better Story? Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal.Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:•Help you choose the right type of outline for you•Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas•Aid you in discovering your characters•Show you how to structure your scenes•Explain how to format your finished outline•Instruct you in how to use your outline•Reveal the benefits•Dispel the misconceptions include exclusive interviews with ten respected authors, answering important questions about outlining. Outlining can organize your writing and help you take your stories to the next level. Find out how!

Edit Ready: How to make your book as good as you can, before you send it to an editor.

By Harry Dewulf


Edit Ready is an author’s reference book for use during story development, writing and both self editing and when you get your manuscript back from your editor.

Put like that, it sounds rather dry, but reference books always do.

Actually, though, although it has an exhaustive contents page, three different indices and 6 appendices, this is not a dry reference book. In fact, the ink is never dry for long.

Because Edit Ready is compiled from notes, guidance, teaching and conversation with authors, while working with them to make their manuscripts as good as they can, but also, to help them to become better authors.

Every time I edit a book, I look at the topics that arise, and try to find a way of generalizing the help and advice I give to its author, so that I can pass the advice on to all authors.

So really, Edit Ready is an attempt to avoid editing, by ensuring you know in advance about anything and everything that your editor has to deal with. The idea is that this will make you a better writer.

Speaker for the Dead

by Orson Scott Card


Ender Wiggin was once considered a great military leader, a saviour for mankind.
But now history judges his destruction of an alien race as monstrous rather than heroic.

In the aftermath of the war, Ender disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story behind the battle with the aliens. Now, years later, a second alien race has been discovered. But again they are strange and frightening – and again, humans are dying.

It is only the Speaker for the Dead, secretly Ender Wiggin, who has the courage to confront the mystery . . . and the truth.

The Hugo and Nebula award-winning sequel to the classic science fiction novel Ender’s Game

Broken Empire

By E. A. Copen

In an empire where political power is everything, Captain Timothy Val wants one thing: to serve his empire with honor and distinction. But after a mission to quell a revolt goes terribly wrong, Timothy is branded a traitor and barely escapes with his life. His only hope of regaining his lost honor and clearing his family name rests in the hands of a senator planning to use him as the face of a revolution.

With an intergalactic war looming and civil unrest spreading through the empire, Timothy must tread carefully. Assassins wait around every corner, and his new allies have made him powerful enemies, enemies that may not be entirely human.

Tuesday Round Up | 22/01/2019

Tuesday Round Up | 22/01/2019

Good morning!

Welcome to another Tuesday round-up. This week we have another great podcast from The Creative Penn (okay, total fangirl) discussing running a one-person business, the Kobo Writing Life talks about podcasting as content marketing., and the Writership podcast discusses scene and story resolutions. In articles, we have two very informative articles on shrinking author incomes, and another on corporate censorship and their unchecked power. I’ve not had time to check out videos for this week’s round-up, but hopefully, I’ll be able to gather a few links for next week. 

Happy reading!


The Disastrous Decline in Author Incomes Isn’t Just Amazon’s Fault

The bookselling behemoth is making life harder for writers, but so is the public perception that art doesn’t need to be paid for.

Publisher's Weekly | Breaking Down Financial Woes for Writers

In an effort to gather as much information as possible about how much authors earned in 2017, the Authors Guild conducted its largest income survey ever last summer, reaching beyond the guild’s own members to include 14 other writing and publishing organizations. In all, the survey drew 5,067 responses from authors published by traditional publishers and from hybrid and self-published authors as well.

Corporate Censorship Is a Serious, and Mostly Invisible, Threat to Publishing

When state or civil authorities blacklist books, the act is correctly labeled censorship. But what is the word when corporations order their subsidiaries to snuff out information?


The Creative Penn | How To Be A Successful Company Of One With Paul Jarvis

What if you could scale your revenue without growing your expenses? What if you could make a living with your writing but still remain alone in your writing room? I discuss these questions and more today with Paul Jarvis.

In the intro, I talk about second-hand book sales [Dean Wesley Smith], how the death of poet Mary Oliver can help deepen our writing [listen to her on the On Being Podcast], why ‘sparking joy‘ is so important (referencing Marie Kondo on Netflix), plus the Kickstarter for Intellectual Property Tracking.

Kobo Writing Life | Ep 133 – Let’s Talk Podcasting with Amanda Cupido

n this week’s episode, Cristina sits down with author and podcast producer Amanda Cupido to talk about her book Let’s Talk Podcasting: The Essential Guide to Doing it Right. Amanda talks about how she got into podcasts, the difference between podcasts and older media such as radio, and she discusses the underrepresented voices in the podcasting community. Amanda also shares her tips for starting your own podcast and the most common roadblock that aspiring podcasters encounter.

Writership Podcast | Ep. 136: Resolutions

We all have some idea of what a resolution is, but what are these scene and story-enders meant to do? In this episode, I explore scene and story resolutions in the context of C. Gabriel Wright’s LBGTQ love story, “Someone.” The editorial mission encourages you to collect resolutions by reading and watching stories—and from your own life. 

Tuesday Round-up | 15/1/2018

Tuesday Round-up | 15/1/2018

My Tuesday round up was quite successful last week, so here’s another one. If any of you have blog posts or articles that you think would be useful for next week’s roundup, feel free to send me the links and I’ll give them a read.

This week The Creative pen discusses the benefits and fallbacks of voice technology with Bradley Metrock, The KOBO writing life podcast talks about the making of the movie version of The House With a Clock in its Walls, which sounds fabulous and has been added to my TBR list.


What if the future is voice first? What if people ask AI assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant to find them a book to read? What if the primary consumption of books is in audio format, not print or ebook? I talk about these questions and more with Bradley Metrock.

In this episode, Rene from PR sits down with the cast and crew of the recent film The House with a Clock in its Walls (based on the novel by John Bellairs) to learn about their experience working on the movie and their favourite books. Rene chats to director Eli Roth about his experience directing a fantasy/horror movie geared towards a family audience, actor Owen Vaccaro about working with successful actors Cate Blanchett and Jack Black and music composer Nathan Barr, about incorporating old school horror-flick sounds into the movie’s score.

What are scene and story climaxes? Why do you need them? In this episode, I talk about the decisions your characters make, as well as the actions they take, when faced with a dilemma. You’ll hear Matt Bizzel’s horror short story, “A Window Out: Or, the Accidental Death of Frank Ortiz” and my analysis of the scene. The editorial mission encourages you to collect examples of these critical decisions and actions by reading and watching stories—and from your own life. 

Tuesday Round-up | 08/01/2018

Tuesday Round-up | 08/01/2018

First of all, happy New Year!

We have all made New Year’s resolutions from time to time. This year I have only one: I promise to be better at updating this blog.

As part of this, I have decided to do a weekly roundup post of articles and podcasts which I feel will be useful to you. This week we have podcasts from The Creative Penn and Kobo Writing Life with some fantastic information on marketing, and articles with information on where the future leaders of the publishing industry think it might be heading, some useful information on phrases to avoid and how to write good dialogue, and a link to the Sunday Times short story competition sponsored by audible where you can win a first-prize of £30,000!

I want to especially mention the amazing members of the Twitter #writingcommunity, who helped my author profile @AHJohnstoneAuth to 1000 followers!


  • The Creative Penn | Lessons For 21st Century Creatives With Mark McGuinness;
    • On the current climate for creatives and makers
    • Having rules and boundaries around creative time and connected time
    • Different types of assets creatives have, including reputational assets
    • The importance of creating value with our work
    • Looking through ‘the other end of the telescope’ in order to serve the reader
    • The ‘ecosystem’ of a creative’s time and business
    • The importance of rest and taking time off from creative work and listening to your body
    • Swallowing the frog in any type of work
    • Opportunities available with audio
  • Kobo Writing Life | Ep 131 – Ricci Wolman
    • How to use Freebooksy and Bargainbooksy to reach more readers. As Ricci explains, they try to keep things streamlined to make securing a spot as painless and time-efficient as possible. Written Word has close to 1M readers across their sites.
    • Ad stacking as a marketing technique to increase your reach.
    • Their latest site, Reading Stacks, which focuses on the growing importance of audiobooks and makes recommendations for the best books to use your subscription credits on. Check it out at
    • The ever-growing importance of investing in advertising if you want to grow your book sales. As competition grows, the cost of advertising is growing, and Ricci predicts this will continue. She recommends having a diversified marketing strategy.
    • We’d highly recommend checking out WWM’s author blog, where they deliver tons of valuable information. Read their latest post, “Top Ten Publishing Trends Every Author Needs to Know in 2019,” for a stellar summary of industry updates.


But we can agree that TV is part of the culture, right?” Yap asks in response. “We’re all human. Whether you want to call it entertainment or art, we’re all contributing to the culture.”

“It’s a total homogenization of culture,” Chew says. “Streaming has changed everything. I hope they’re not comparable. I don’t think literature is entertainment.”