Looking for an editor to work on your non-fiction book? My name is Graham Southorn and I work exclusively with self-published authors. I provide the whole range of editing services, from editorial assessment and developmental editing to copy editing and proofreading. Whilst I specialise in business, technology and science, I work on other non-fiction books too. I’m proud to be a publishing professional on Reedsy.com – you can find me there or scroll down to find out more about my services and my previous career as an editor at BBC magazines.
I’ve spent most of my life working with words. I have more than 20 years’ experience as an award-winning editor and journalist. I started by covering computing and technology in the 1990s before moving into science and business publications. In 2005, I launched the astronomy magazine BBC Sky at Night, based on the BBC TV programme. Later, I edited the popular science magazine BBC Focus and the business title South West Business Insider. As a freelance journalist, I’ve contributed to The Guardian and All About Space, among other publications. Today, I work directly with independent authors to help them self-publish quality books.
How much do you charge?
For most editing services my fees are above average, but not by much. My fee is loosely based on the number of words in your book – the longer the book, the longer it will take me to complete and the more I need to charge. You can get an idea of the average fees charged by editors on Reedsy.com on this blog post (there’s a handy calculator about halfway down the page). The fee is also based on my assessment of the sample chapters you provide. Some manuscripts may be at an earlier stage or require more of my input to complete, which is also something I need to take into account. For editorial development, I’ll need some more information before giving you a bespoke quotation. How many versions of the manuscript you want me to read and how many video meetings (if any) you want are the main factors influencing how much I charge.
Do you work with US authors?
Yes, I’ve worked with many US authors and others from around the world. I’m only able to work with English text because I’m (sadly) not proficient in a second language. I’m British and live in the UK but for American authors and those wishing to publish in the United States, I use US dictionaries and style guides.
Who are your typical clients?
Many of my clients are business owners who have written a book to market themselves or their services. Being a published author can help position a business person as a thought leader or subject-matter expert. Others use the book to promote their services, offering it as a free download from their website rather than publishing it as a Kindle ebook. I’ve also edited books for people with a passion of, or knowledge of, a particular subject. Other authors have existing material that they want to turn into a book, such as a training course or blog.
What subject areas do you work on?
I enjoy working on most non-fiction topics, including biographies. But because of my background, I specialise in editing business, technology and science books. There’s plenty of crossover too – books that are written by business owners who run technology companies.
Do you ever turn down an author?
I only turn down authors if I don’t like the subject matter. I want to make your book as good as it possibly can be, and to do that I will need to spend considerable time on it. That means I have to believe in it. So I will turn down anything I find offensive, and by that I mean things that the average person would find offensive. I think you can guess the sort of thing. I also don’t work on religious or spiritual books because I’m not interested in it. There are many editors out there who are better suited to this than I am.
Beyond that, I don’t work on books about alternative medicine or pseudo-science. I don’t wish to promote them, for one thing. And because they are alternative it presents me with a problem. It makes it impossible for me to check for anything other than spelling errors. If an author has a pet theory of the universe that “proves Einstein wrong” and which only they believe, I cannot check their claims against existing references.
Do you work exclusively via Reedsy?
I offer editorial assessment only through this website and everything else via Reedsy. I’m proud to be a Reedsy publishing professional because the platform provides a valuable service for both authors and freelancers like me. Many of my clients found me through Reedsy, so I value it as an advertising platform. I also like the fact that Reedsy handles invoicing and payments, which is invaluable for more complex projects involving multiple payments. I’d rather spend my time editing your book than doing admin!
Can you help me find a publisher?
I’m sorry, no! I don’t know anyone in the publishing industry so I’d be starting from scratch just like you. I work exclusively with authors who have decided to go down the self-publishing route. I believe publishing your own book is as good a way as any to get a deal from a traditional publisher (but other opinions are available!) What’s more, Reedsy enables you to source many of the services that traditional publishers provide, from ghostwriting and cover design to marketing and publicity.
Can you help me find an agent?
I don’t know any agents so Google is your friend! I have only the vaguest of ideas of what agents look for, but here’s my advice. Before you send them anything, ask what they need. Don’t send them your entire manuscript if they just want a couple of sample chapters and a synopsis of the rest. If you do, you’d just be wasting your time and theirs. And ask yourself what you want an agent to achieve. If you’re only likely to ever write one book, are you prepared to give them a percentage of your earnings? Of course, publishers pay you to publish your book whereas the opposite is true of self-publishing. But at least you have control over your copyright and the rewards are potentially greater, as long as you’re prepared to do (a lot) of your own marketing.
Can you help me get reviews?
No, but I’m happy to promote books I’ve edited on my own social media platforms. It’s not ethical for me to review a book I’ve worked on, and so I don’t. However, I’d like to think that if you do get reviews, they’ll be more favourable if I’ve worked on your book. In the self-publishing world, reviews are very important and you can find independent professionals who specialise in book marketing and publicity on Reedsy.