Okay, I want to tell you the story about when I met Sally. With a small budget for my book writing hobby, I was given the idea to swap services with other individuals to secure an editing service. Thank you, that was great advice given on the Book Connector Facebook group!!!
I saw a post from Sally Dixon, who had all the necessary skills to start her editing services business, but just needed a chance to prove her worth. I jumped at what I deemed could be a good collaboration.
I have never used a professional editor before as my husband is a teacher and very good with correcting my writing. So not sure what I was expecting in terms of quality or how I would react from having someone else dissect and critique my work, I contacted Sally. I was nervous to say the least as there are so many con artists out there.
Sally liked my idea and knowing you need to work to succeed, she agreed to the job. After she had corrected the first chapter of Symmetry; my 113k word novel, I noticed on the time stamps and the amount of corrections, that our collaboration wasn’t a fair trade. I immediately offered to end the collaboration as the amount of hours she needed to spend would never be worth a testimonial from me. I think Sally appreciated my offer and my awareness of how much work she put in to the quality of her work, but didn’t shy away from rolling up her sleeves and finishing her commitment. Admirable!
Although she must have other things to do in her life, the chapters she had corrected came flying into my inbox – one or two chapters an evening. They were all thoroughly worked through and no time spared or skimping on her quality. Even though my Fantasy genre contained scenes that Sally wouldn’t normally enjoy I could tell she had launched herself into the story whole-heartedly.
So, how did I find her way of working? I thought I would put a defensive wall up, but Sally was so humble and kept repeating that it was only her opinion and that it was my story after all. It made me feel safe and open minded when opening her documents, which looked like a Swiss flag in red comments on the white page. As I went through the comments and suggested changes I found that I accepted 99% of them. The way she worked made it really easy to follow her advice and make the necessary corrections. She made text red when she wanted to add something and just deleted words she thought should be deleted and referenced them in comment boxes so I knew they had been deleted. In this way it made the body text correct already and it was easy to just accept the correction boxes and it was done – Simple!
How did her changes make a difference?
The aim of her editing is based on the reader experience and the correctness of the grammar. It was many times that she twisted the sentences around … making it the same, but not??? Strange I know, but it makes sense. I could basically have written three rows-full of text in one sentence and she could shorten it to one and a half, basically saying the same and without loosing any understanding of what I wanted to divulge. Sometimes it was due to simple words that made more sense in the context and sometimes she filled in words that I’m not that familiar with and wouldn’t have thought of using, but that were a better fit. She could for example change words such as;
culprit – to kidnapper, Cookie – to biscuit
He pressed the lift button for the sixth floor which I realised was the top floor – deleted red.
An uneducated man said I don’t know – she brought him to life and suggested I changed it to dunno – Sally the writer-first-aider!
I had written that the cologne was infectious and she advised that it was the wrong context as it normally only referred to an illness – good word knowledge!
Sally also noticed that I kept writing emerald green eyes and advised that I could take off the word “green” as emerald means green. That is as clear as water of course, but for some reason I hadn’t picked that up. – Sally saw clearer than water!
Sally was on the ball.
In my book, Samuel had been able to do a few things without his attackers emerging from the basement. Sally mentioned that she wondered where the attackers were doing during this time as it had taken too long. I decided to add a few comments to explain the situation better. – Sally had paid attention to the story!
In my book, Tarus and Susy are in a hotel room and I had mentioned an office chair. It wasn’t really an office but a hotel room so Sally suggested we take the word “office” off. – Small detail, well spotted Sally!
In one place in the book I had explained how Samuel brought out his items and brushed his teeth etc. Really not relevant to anything and not very interesting to read – Sally again came to the rescue!
In another place I had written there was a victorian chair in Switzerland – Sally knowledgeably pointed out that that was doubtful.
In another place I commented that the windows in CERN were dirty – Sally again pointed out that it would be unlikely in such an environment. – Gosh you are on the ball Sally!
POV & Tenses
In a few places I had made small comments or short explanatory sentences that really were from the third person Point Of View, and not Susy’s. I write in first person and past tense hence this is wrong. – Sally noticed and offered suggested ways I could change the sentence to make it appear from Susy’s perspective!
In some places I had also mixed up the “to walk” vs “was walking” as well as other incorrect uses of tenses – which Sally changed without even bothering me with a comment box.
She even picked up on the fact that I had mixed English words with American words and asked what format I wanted to stick to. – Shows Sally’s language skills.
Adjectives & Adverbs
And so my world opened up! I thought it was good writing to push as many adjectives into a sentence as possible, as the best way describe a scene. This is wrong – I could delete half my book by taking these off and of course – Sally was very helpful in advising on which I should keep and which I could get rid off.
Apparently, it is also not best practice to describe how someone is saying something, so for example – he said mysteriously. I thought that added to the understanding of the situation, but advice I have read says that how a character speaks should be clear without these remarks. Sally helped to change or delete in good style!
So I would say, if you are looking for an editor, give Sally a chance!
I am equally passionate about editing and writing. I love to create with my own writing and I also gain enormous satisfaction from helping other authors refine their own efforts.
I have a B.Sc and a B.A. from UK universities as well as having completed a year’s Postgrad. Research. I have also studied Music & Creative Writing.
I was born and grew up in the South-East of England, but moved overseas in my twenties. I have lived in many different countries including the US, the Middle East and Europe and love writing about them and incorporating the many different experiences I have had in my writing – some of them wonderful and some downright scary!
Nowadays I live in southern France with my husband, two Dachsies and two cats.
As well as my writing, I enjoy teaching English, French and Spanish to adult learners and spend as much of my spare time I can walking the dogs in the countryside.
I have had two books published in the US and several short stories and articles in the UK. These include a short story in The Guardian which was syndicated in The Mail On Sunday.
The narrative of my latest book, Three Girls, takes place in Holland. It is a romantic thriller set against a background of extremism and and social unrest: viewbook.at/ThreeGirls
My next book, due out in the summer is set in Cairo and tells the story of an expat. couple whose young child is kidnapped by terrorists.
I also am featured in the Andalucia Magazine page 46.
I am currently working on a book set in France which draws in threads of the story of the Cathar Heresy in the Languedoc.
Her fees are reasonable
I proofread on screen using Word for docs with track changes and/or comments boxes, or Adobe Acrobat &
PDF X Change for pdf’s
I copy-edit on screen in Word for Docs ( using track changes & comment boxes ) or Adobe Acrobat & PDF X-Change for pdf’s
Fees for proofreading & copy-editing are normally calculated as a rate per 1,000 words or for a whole project.
I am aware that clients’ needs and requirements can vary, so my rates are flexible. They range from €5 to €20 per 1,000 words. Same day or next day incur a 50% additional charge. I have a minimum charge of €30 per job.
For Indie writers I charge a special rate of €4 per 1,000 words for proofreading and €6 per 1,000 words for copy-editing. ( this can be slightly higher if the editing requirement is very high ). I would normally ask to see a sample before committing to a firm quote.
For business proofreading and editing, I normally charge between €10 & €20 per 1,000 words depending on what is required.
TRANSLATION ( French to English & Spanish to English )
Fees can be calculated at an hourly or daily rate, per word or for a complete project.
Each project is assessed and costed individually as there are many factors which will govern the time required.
As a rough guide, rates are in the range of €50 to €100 per 1,000 words of French or Spanish
I would definitely recommend Sally Dixon for your editorial services if you like to work with someone professional, who gives concrete feedback and specific suggested corrections. She is a no-nonsense woman who isn’t going to tell you her opinion about your story just to sell herself with flowery marketing tactics, but sticks to giving you solid advice to make your book the best it can be for your market. Personally, I love to work with this sort of person as it makes me confident that I receive value for money. Her only proviso is that she doesn’t take on work that contains excessive violence or erotica.
Thank you and well done Sally!