Editing, Proof-reading and Feedback Service

Editing , Proof-reading and Feedback Services from Helen Claire Gould

The importance of editing, proof-reading and feedback to writers

If you are thinking of submitting a story to a publisher, the advice is to have it proof-read and edited before doing so. Publishers receive thousands of manuscripts, and those that contain a lot of spelling and punctuation mistakes will be side-lined immediately in these days of “gate-keepers”. So will work containing plot holes. So the idea is to get help in these areas before submitting or uploading your work. It’s notoriously difficult to edit or proof-read your own work — unless you’ve left it for a long time before doing so — because of your attachment to it, and the difficulty of looking at it objectively. A proof-reader and/or editor can provide a fresh overview of your work.

What is feedback?

Feedback includes a thorough reading of your work in its early stages and spotting major mistakes and plot holes. This is the first stage in the process of preparing your manuscript for self-publishing or submission. You will receive a list of general points about the story and suggestions for improvements. This stage should take place after you have at least completed a first draft.

 What is editing?

Editing is a structural and line-by-line check to help the story flow properly and read smoothly. It may include moving lines or short sections to ensure that this is the case, removing them entirely if they are not necessary (i.e. if they are something only you, as the author, need to know), or replacing them with a different wording, for example to enhance characterisation. It can also include making sentences more readable and various other suggestions for improvement. This should be done once the main story has been redrafted until problems have been worked out, so after several redrafts, and before proof-reading.

What is proof-reading?

Proof-reading includes a check on spellings and punctuation, and grammar, and should be the last process your work undergoes before submission to a publisher or printer; if it happens before you complete the changes an editor may suggest, it will need doing again once you have your final version as you (or the editor) may have introduced new errors. You will therefore submit the final version of your work to your proof-reader.


Why get help with editing, proof-reading and feedback from Helen?

  • Before attending Anglia Ruskin University for her degree in Geological Science and Planetary Science, Helen took English and Geology A levels at Peterborough Regional College. She achieved an A in English Language and Literature, and came fifth in the country out of over 16,000 candidates, scoring the then highest mark ever recorded at PRC in that subject.

  • Helen worked as a proof-reader for the first 5 years of her working life, first for a small scientific publisher, and afterwards for an insurance company. Because insurance policies are legal documents, accuracy is essential.

  • In the 1990s, Helen joined 2 postal writing workshops (aka “Orbiters” in SF circles); she offered to run another when several more people wanted to join one of them. She found them a great way to quickly learn to write, as everyone shares their snippets of knowledge, and gained a lot of experience in editing and redrafting.

  • In the 1990s she started the Peterborough SF Writers Group, and edited and produced two collections of work by members of the group as small press publications. She has been writing since her teens; the idea for her SFF novel Floodtide came when she was 21, and she eventually self-published it 40 years later!

  • When working as an evening class tutor, Helen edited several collections of students’ work, which were then published under the anthology name of SnapShot and distributed to local libraries where any member of the  public could read them.

  • Helen has been writing, proof-reading and self-publishing her fiction since 2014.

Prices for 2024:

From 1st January 2024, the prices for the following services are as follows:

  •   Feedback: £1.50 per page.
  •   Editing: £2.50 per page.
  •  Proof-reading: £2.00 per page.
  •  Typing: £9.50 per hour (printed) or £12.50 per hour (handwritten). 

 I can also help with the layout of work for PDF and EPUB submission for self-publishing. Prices on application.

I also offer mentoring sessions on Zoom at £12.50 per hour’s session.

The next editing window for longer work (e.g. novels, novellas etc.) opens on 1st April 2024 and closes on 31st August 2024

*Please note that if you are asking for a session with feedback on a specific piece of your writing you will need to pay for either feedback or editing and/or proof-reading as well – this does take quite a bit of time to do properly, but the Zoom sessions are very helpful and effective as I explain why I’ve suggested you change a particular word/sentence/paragraph etc., and it gives you a chance to discuss your work with me and ask questions. And if I don’t know the answer, I will find out and get back to you.

This service is aimed primarily at providing an affordable service to writers, particularly prior to submitting to publishers and magazines, and before self-publishing. It includes proof-reading for companies’ public printed and internet-based text as well.

I am also happy to provide editing/proof-reading support to companies. However, I do not edit or proof-read students’ university submissions.



This will depend on the other work I have at any one time. I try to treat work on a first come, first served basis. I will give you an estimate for when I think I will have completed the work you require, but if the text requires a lot of work it may take longer. When submitting, it would help if you could say if you are working to a deadline, so that if I can’t help you in time I can let you know.

To contact Helen: e-mail helen.gould7@ntlworld.com or phone 07771-884667.