‘Gary Dalkin’s work was-second-to-none and resulted in me landing a book deal within 6 weeks of his edit.’
CM Angus – author of Overstrike, published Spring 2020
My name is Gary Dalkin. Whatever your writing needs, drawing on my 26 years’ experience as a published writer and editor, I can help (click here to contact me). I am a writer and editor specialising in structural editing, (also known as substantive or developmental editing / manuscript critique or assessment). Additionally I provide a range of other editing services for authors, as well as copy-editing and proofreading for non-technical college and university work.
I provide a friendly, reliable, honest service. I do all the work myself – no out-sourcing or delegating work over to temps or unpaid interns – and I do so at competitive rates. I am neither the cheapest nor the most expensive, but many satisfied clients tell me I am one of the best (visit my references page).
My contact information is here and a rather intermittently updated blog featuring news about my work and a selection of interviews and reviews plus some articles originally published in Writing Magazine can be found here.
‘Gary Dalkin is a thoughtful and highly professional editor whose keen eye for detail is underpinned by many years’ experience. It’s been a great pleasure to work with him and I recommend Gary to anyone looking to sharpen up their work.’
Tricia Sullivan – Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author of Dreaming in Smoke
One of the great things about being a freelance editor is the wide variety of interesting projects that I am privileged to work on. Six books I’ve worked on recently demonstrate this perfectly, in that they couldn’t be more different.
I’ve now edited seven books for David Lawrence-Young, an English historical novelist based in Jerusalem. The latest of these is Emma Hamilton: Mistress Of Land And Sea, a novel based on the life of the woman who was muse to the artist George Romney, wife of the diplomat Sir William Hamilton, friend to Marie Antoinette and Queen Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily, and mistress of Admiral Horatio Nelson. In a different era Hamilton might well have had a career as a professional opera singer: she turned down an offer to perform for a season with the Royal Opera in Madrid.
Delayed by the pandemic, the novel is now gradually working its way into shops. Meanwhile I was delighted to find this dedication in my copy when it arrived this morning. It’s not often an editor gets a mention in a book, so this was really special.
A couple of years ago I worked with Ben Graff developing his autobiographical Find Another Place. Then last year I provided structural editing on Ben’s debut novel, The Greenbecker Gambit. I’m therefore delighted that this often laugh-out-loud modern tragic comedy is now out in paperback as well as e-book and getting five star reviews across the board on Amazon.
Here are a few extracts from the reviews: ‘The joy of this novel is the conflict it gives the reader: “Tennessee Greenbecker is by any measure a profound git, yet you feel for him, pity him, and end up slightly loving him and wanting some part of his perception of reality to come to pass. The writing is beautiful. It conveys the author’s love for chess, for London and for life in vivid colour and detail. Terrific, terrific, terrific!’
And: ‘This is an absorbing and entertaining narrative which strikes a perfect balance between humour and pathos. Very highly recommended!’
I’m also rather partial to: ‘This novel should be required reading for chess fans, mental health professionals and lovers of dark humour. It is less likely to appeal to fire brigade top brass, conspiracy theory deniers and “Guy Fawkes Was Innocent” campaigners.’
Meanwhile earlier this year Client CM Angus was please to tell me that his debut novel, Overstrike, a hugely ambitious and complex science fiction epic, was signed up for a publishing deal with Elsewhen Press within 6 weeks of my editing it. The book, the first of a trilogy, was published on 14 February. You can see the book trailer on YouTube. There is also an audio preview. Order Overstrike on Kindle. The paperback edition was published on 13 April.
Just before Christmas I was excited to open the mail and discover a presentation package containing the debut novel by C.L Williams, a Young Adult fantasy called Smailholm. This was a novel I edited last year, and has been described by V. F. Sharpe, author of The Forest of Arrows, as ‘a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic and friendship’. Click to watch the enchanting book trailer, while here is a moving interview with the author about the background to the novel, the influence of Scottish folklore and her own Stoke-on-Trent heritage.
Smailholm is available in hardback from all the usual outlets, as well as an audiobook from Audible narrated by Rosie Jones, who has previously narrated audiobooks for such authors as Lesley Pearse, Sarah Pinborough and Taylor Jenkins Reid. The Kindle edition is available here. There is even a Smailholm game available now for Apple. Meanwhile you can visit C.L. Williams’ website, from where there are links to download free Smailholm short stories and options to follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
In late January I received a copy of the delightful picture book Quackers – The Fiercest Lion of Them All by Sarah Bentley. Sarah is generously donating all her royalties from this book to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the patron of which is Her Majesty The Queen. You can buy the paperback, hardback or ebook direct from publisher Austin Macauley.
Stephan Eicke’s The Struggle Behind the Soundtrack: Inside the Discordant New World of Film Scoring is out now from US publisher McFarland. I edited half this book after the original editor had to go and compose a film score, and it is a truly fascinating read. If you want to know why modern films sound the way they do, and what it takes to be a composer in modern Hollywood, then this is the book you need.
‘Gary Dalkin draws out the very best in your story, offering constructive feedback without interfering with an individual voice, or style. Gary’s not just great to work with but also inspires and helps you go beyond your comfort zone.’
Professor Rachel Armstrong, author of Origamy and Invisible Ecologies
A Little Bit Longer Ago
My anthology, Improbable Botany, launched in paperback in 2018 and is now available as an e-book from Amazon. This speculative fiction anthology contains original stories by Rachel Armstrong, Cherith Baldry (Erin Hunter), Eric Brown, Simon Morden, Adam Roberts, James Kennedy, Ken MacLeod, Stephen Palmer, Justina Robson, Tricia Sullivan and Lisa Tuttle, who between them have won most of the major awards in science fiction and fantasy publishing.
Other books I worked on which were published in 2018 include Entrenched by David Lawrence-Young, the fifth novel I have edited for this prolific author, Find Another Place by Ben Graff, Out Of The Mist by Lynne Chitty, Spaghetti Head, by Sarah Tyley, and Marco and the Pharaoh’s Curse by Paul Purnell. All profits from this last title are being divided between the charities Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.
Slightly older projects include Andrew David Barker’s award-nominated Dead Leaves, The Conscript by Nate Kirtis, Do It – Cycling Around The World For A Laugh by Adrian Besly, Seek The Throat From Which We Sing by Alex CF, and Dangerous Score by Michael Bearcroft.
In 2016 I wrote four chapters for Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through The Greatest Fictional Lands Every Created, which was published in the US by Black Dog & Leventhal, then in the UK in 2017 by Modern
Books. My chapter on Persuasion by Jane Austen appears in the follow-up, Literary Landscapes, published in October 2018. I have since penned a chapter on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for the third book in the series, Literary Journeys.
I contribute every month to Writing Magazine, the UK’s best-selling magazine for writers, and am a columnist for the relaunched Amazing Stories, the world’s first and oldest science fiction magazine. Launched in the late summer 2018, issue one featured my interview with the award-winning author of Rosewater and The Murders of Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson. Issue two included my interview with another award-winning Author, Nina Allan – The Rift. For issue four I spoke to Professor Rachel Armstrong about her novel Invisible Ecologies.
‘Gary Dalkin’s work on my second book, Dead Leaves, was invaluable. He was precise, succinct, with a fine attention to detail. Dalkin guided my story to publication with fair and balanced criticisms and queries, and picked up on things I probably wouldn’t have ever noticed. An excellent editor.’
Andrew David Barker, author of Dead Leaves and The Electric
One project I am particularly proud of was editing the definitive biography of film composer John Barry – The Man With The Midas Touch by Gareth Bramley, Geoff Leonard and Peter Walker. I have worked as a freelance journalist or editor for Amazon, BBC Magazines, Blackfish, Classical.com, Gramophone, The Guardian, HMV, Interzone, London Symphony Orchestra, Naxos, Musicweb International, Los Angeles Review of Books, Northern Stage, Royal Opera House, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, SFX and many others.
I am a former editor of Vector: The Critical Journal of the BSFA and a former judge of the Arthur C. Clarke Award. I played a key role in the launch of the international New Media Writing Prize. I have written extensively for Amazing Stories, and conducted many interviews, mainly with writers, but also with musicians and film industry creatives, some of which you can find links to here.
You can read more about my background and see a list of publications I have contributed to here.
‘Gary has always been a great reader – someone who takes the time to really think about everything you’ve tried to put into your work – and that’s what makes him such a good editor. He spots issues, offers worthwhile suggestions for improvements and is easy to work with during the development process. I’ve always been pleased with the results when we’ve worked on projects together.’
Justina Robson – Campbell, Clarke, Dick and BSFA award-nominated author of the Quantum Gravity series