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
I have used Gary for two structural edits on my first two novels. Gary is an exceptional editor. It’s hard to understand how much he can move a novel on from its initial draft right through to the precision of a copy edit and final publication draft. He has completely changed my view of plot and structure and taught me some valuable writing lessons. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend his services.
Gary Dalkin’s work on Overstrike (the first novel in the Fixpoint series) was-second-to-none and resulted in me landing a book deal within 6 weeks of his edit.
The best editors are those that really get the story and become as committed as the author to making it good – and Gary certainly did this.
Even though I had only asked him to review this from a copy-edit perspective, Gary actually also provided input about structure, researched some of the events and places in the text and also called out areas which he thought could be improved.
He kept me informed during the whole process and was a joy to work with.
Gary is an excellent editor and the only reservation that I have in recommending Gary, is I regard him as competitive advantage & don’t want the word getting out.
CM Angus – author of Overstrike, published by Elsewhen Press, Spring 2020
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
I didn’t tell Gary that, at school, I was rated as one of the worst spellers/grammarians in my year. Nor that during a career in research science in the NHS and university, I effectively hid it for years. He still sorted out my vocative commas, inappropriate use of the passive tense, and paragraph construction, as well as offering perceptive criticism of the details of character nuance. Great guy to have in your corner!
Paul CW Beatty, Author of Children of Fire, Winner of Writing Magazine/The Book Guild Novel Prize 2017
Over many years in the business, Gary Dalkin has proved himself to be not only an excellent writer, critic and reviewer, but a fine and insightful editor – as I can attest regarding his work on my short tale “The Ice Garden”.
Whether you’re an experienced writer needing that last polish, or a newcomer whose ms needs that bit extra to make it stand out in the marketplace, Gary is the man for the job.
Science Fiction, crime and children’s author Eric Brown
I’ve known Gary Dalkin since his days at the BSFA magazine Vector, and since then he’s been nothing less than delightful to work with and to know. Intelligent, cultured, supportive and generous. In a business where there are more than a few sharks, he is the real deal.
Stephen Palmer – author of The Factory Girl Trilogy and Tommy Catkins
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. In short, his sharp critical eye improved my words and my book. An excellent editor.
Author and director (A Reckoning) Andrew David Barker
Jane Goodall, Gary Dalkin, rose planting at Compton Acres, Poole
Gary Dalkin plays a key part of organising ‘Jane Goodall’ events in Bournemouth, including the special celebratory oak tree planting in Bournemouth Gardens with the town mayor in January 2011 and the Jane Goodall Day at Bournemouth University in May 2011. Both involved countless meetings, securing the venue at the university, liaising with many parties, creating a schedule that worked for all involved, recruiting and coordinating a team of volunteers and preparing the advertising materials, including blogs, posters, media releases etc. as well as giving interviews to the local press and radio, maintaining a Facebook Page for the events and much more. He has a flare for organization and worked tirelessly to ensure that the events went off seamlessly. He has boundless patience great organisational skills and a wonderful sense of humour.
Dr Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE & UN Messenger of Peace
Gary Dalkin draws out the very best in your story, offering constructive feedback without interfering with an individual voice, or style. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, you’ll notice the effect his input has on your writing. His shrewd eye for detail in prose and storytelling is tuned in exactly to the action and potential impact of your plot. 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, Invisible Ecologies and Experimental Architecture: Designing The Unknown
I have used Gary Dalkin’s editing services for five of my latest novels so far. I have found him to be very pleasant, efficient and professional to work with. I have found him to be especially useful about helping me with details about life in England during the 1960s and 1970s – the period that my novel, Daggers in Men’s Smiles (not yet published) covered. This is because I’m an ex-pat and wasn’t living in England during this period. His detailed knowledge of this period certainly added to the credibility of my writing.
This of course was in addition to his tidying up my somewhat casual use of punctuation and grammar and some of my long, rambling and over-written sentences. Not only did he check the ms very thoroughly, but he also made several very positive suggestions on how I could improve my novel. I will certainly use his editorial services and expertise in the future.
Having become frustrated by a number of copy editors and proofreaders, working with Gary was nothing short of a wonderful experience. He is both extremely proficient at identifying both broad structural issues and simple errors, his keen eye spotting the smallest grammatical problems. He does not shy away from pointing out ways in which improvements can be made, and at no point did I feel that his suggestions were incorrect.
I employed Gary to copy edit and proofread Seek The Throat From Which We Sing. He makes detailed and comprehensive annotations that allow the author to pick and choose the corrections he has made. I expected to feel precious regarding my work, but not only did I accept 99% of Gary’s edits, on a number of occasions I found myself laughing out loud in agreement with his comments.
So often as an author, we cannot see the wood for the trees, ideas can become convoluted and lose impact, and you need someone who has a strong grasp of writing techniques, grammar and structure, whose own passion for literature offers a unique and more importantly, a separate perspective to your own. Gary has all of this in spades.
We worked together over a number of months and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My confidence in my work grew as a result of working with Gary. I could not recommend him more.
Being an inexperienced writer can be daunting, no matter how passionately you believe in your story. Working with Gary Dalkin helped me develop my first book, Find Another Place to its full potential. Gary encouraged me to think deeply about my narrative and structure and his eye for detail was invaluable. Our working process was very personalised, there was nothing formulaic about his approach and I always knew he really cared about the project. Find Another Place will be published next year and I feel lucky to have found an editor who has such ability, integrity and enthusiasm. I am looking forward to collaborating with Gary on my next book and would recommend him without hesitation.
Gary Dalkin is a gifted editor. His careful, astute notes for my short story ‘Advent’ helped clarify the story—both on the page and in my own mind. Gary took the time to understand the peculiar kind of story I was trying to tell, and so all of his suggestions energized my original inspiration. From overall structure down to word choice, Gary’s editing helped me polish my short story into something of which I could be proud. Accommodating, encouraging, and knowledgeable, I’d recommend Gary Dalkin to anyone.
James Kennedy – author of The Order of Odd-Fish
Without Gary’s encouragement and expertise I would never have had the confidence to publish my novel Out of the Mist. He was friendly, thorough and his detailed comments and suggestions helped bring my book to life. I would recommend him wholeheartedly.
On preparing the second edition of our biography of film composer John Barry we contacted Gary to proofread the updated manuscript in light of the considerable changes made to it over the past ten years. He proved to be far more than a proof-reader, by performing a valuable editorial role, in helping us to reshape the text and check the content where necessary.
His task was made all the more difficult, because he had been called in after the index had been finalised. This meant that any requisite changes had to fall within strict parameters already set. What’s more, we needed him to complete the task within a strict deadline, given a tight publishing schedule. He succeeded with days to spare. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Gary to anyone. He quickly grasped our requirements and, during the period of his commission, became an integral part of the team.
Peter Walker – co-author of John Barry – The Man With The Midas Touch
After doing my own structural edit to the best of my ability, consulting beta readers and ironing out the issues I was already aware of, I saved up and hired a professional editor. I was nervous as it was a lot of money to spend (although still much less than other editors had quoted) but knew if I was serious about trying to publish it was necessary.
It was absolutely the best decision I ever made for my novel. If anyone is looking for a uk based editor I cannot recommend Gary Dalkin more highly!
An editor’s insight was invaluable and gave me a solid basis on which to improve the novel. Gary’s comments helped me to be brave, cutting whole scenes and working the information into the novel in other, more successful ways. He helped me to improve the weaker characters (the villains in my case) and think more in depth about my characterisation. He also made it clear which parts of the novel were working and why, holding me to my highest standard and pushing me to do better.
I was so impressed I asked him to look over my manuscript again once I’d made the changes. This time he was also copy or line editing, addressing my language and sentence structure. Now armed with even more detailed suggestions I am so much closer to having a quality manuscript to query than I would have been had I not hired a professional.
I have worked with Gary on a variety of writing projects for well over a decade now, and right from the outset he established himself as my number one go-to guy, the person to whom I always turn when I need a sound opinion backed up by a wealth of reliable experience. He understands so much about so many facets of writing in the 21st century, from novels to magazines to websites, and what works best in each case. If Gary tells you it’s so, then it really is so.
Gary is a great editor. He gives me feedback in the way I ask – which takes extra time and effort. He is able to understand what I really wanted to say and through his edits he reflects that message. He also goes above and beyond by researching and answering my questions around the story itself. This is very reassuring when I have a concern around the legalities or source of a story. He is an excellent editor. I am very glad I found him.
Caroline McIntosh – Children’s & YA author
Gary’s critique of my first novel was both comprehensive and inspiring to me, as the writer. His painstaking attention to every aspect and detail of my work was exceptional. His constructive criticism was clearly laid out chapter by chapter. His suggestions for different wording, different scenarios, deeper tensions within the story were carefully thought out. His professionalism and obvious expertise in his field are offered in a kindly and honest manner. A real pleasure to work with.
I contacted Gary for a developmental edit of my first novel. I had studied eleven how-to manuals for writing fiction and had already reworked the book per responses from beta readers. I believed I had a working story. Gary very professionally pointed out the strengths of the book and then taught me more than all of the manuals on how to step up the quality of the prose, the story, dialog, and the characters.
Gary’s suggestions were well reasoned and very specific to the product I wanted to produce.
I believe he provided more service than required in the scope of our agreement. But when I offered to pay more for his work, Gary declined and held his fee to the proposed amount.
Gary is easy to work with as well as talented and knowledgeable. I especially recommend Gary to US authors, as he clearly pointed out cultural assumptions that don’t cross borders. I very much look forward to working with Gary on my future books.
Gary recently performed a deep edit on booklets for my web site. I found him to be efficient, reliable and reasonably priced. I am delighted with the results.
Gary’s advice was so valuable in shaping my first book and turning it into a professional piece of work. Full of essential points, Gary’s feedback was thorough and sensitively put – offering suggestions for change but being positive and encouraging.
Ellen M J Deaville – author of Just Be Yourself
Despite having to wrestle with a recalcitrant PDF, Gary turned around a 6000 word multi-contributor coffee table picture book in the time promised. He made sure that the text accurately matched the photos, and that entries were consistent in tone and format, and he provided helpful alternative suggestions for overly long or complex sentences. All this plus a thorough proof read to capture wrong spelling, wrong or missing punctuation, and inconsistent capitals. The book was considerably improved after passing through his hands.
I have recently asked Gary to provide editorial guidance on a manuscript for a fantasy novel, and I can fully recommend him for his insightful feedback and industry knowledge. As a professional author, I know that publishing a book of any format is a challenge, and Gary is an editor who can provide realistic guidance as to what is achievable. I have been very happy with the service he provides.
Gary has been diligent in his approach to proof reading all copy sent from PLF Headquarters since joining us in April 2010. He seems to pick up on errors that other mere mortals may miss. I can highly recommend his proof reading skills and his thorough attention to detail is invaluable, especially when putting on a Literary festival!
Sue Luminati – Founder & Director: Poole Literary Festival & New Media Writing Prize
Gary has proved to be an invaluable resource not only as a proof-reader, but even more so for his advice and support. He has been enormously encouraging when he feels my writing warrants it, and yet he gives me the honesty I need when it hasn’t been up to scratch. I always know that when he reads my work, I can trust him to be very straightforward in his assessment.
Through discussions with Gary, I have been able to really pinpoint the areas in which my writing needs work, and he has helped me come up with new ways of addressing them, even down to making necessary changes in the time and places that I write so as to get the best out of myself. I am deeply grateful for Gary’s advice and expertise.
Stephanie Alford – Space Cadet Creations
I have enlisted Gary Dalkin’s expertise as a music critic and creative writer on several occasions over the past ten. Gary has a keen sense of what makes music ‘work’ and his ability to apply that knowledge as constructive criticism continues to amaze me. His familiarity and understanding of all musical styles is exceptional.
When I consult Gary, I’m certain I will receive educated, non-biased critique and encouragement regarding my compositions, arrangements and recordings. His reviews of my work are always honest, gently candid, and on-the-mark. I look forward to working with him again soon.
Marc Hoffman – film and jazz composer, pianist, vocalist
I am very pleased and impressed with all your edits and accept and agree with practically every one so far. You have accessed my story and characters in a way that I hope to achieve with other readers once published.
Mona Callister, author of Footsteps on the Path (not yet published)
Gary has a real eye for the big picture and for the detail. When I asked him to edit a website for my consultancy company, he quickly helped structure my (rather random) thoughts about it into something which would work well for my clients. At another level, he found clearer and simpler ways to say the things I was wanting to say. Gary’s advice was always practical – how much text to place on a web page, the best order in which to present information, when something simply didn’t fit, where an additional piece of information would add value and so on. I knew I could trust him to tell me what he really thought and to do it in the nicest way possible.
Brian Wilson – Brian Wilson Associates
Gary Dalkin personifies the traits of the utmost professionalism and exceptional attention to detail as a talented editor, writer and respected critic. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the writing craft is staggering; a testament to his ability for accurately honing in on minutiae and producing exemplary results, at speed, across all creative spheres. Gary is always marvellous to work with, being good at instilling faith and reliability in the development process.
Glen Aitken – Composer and album producer
Gary Dalkin, to a writer, is like a conductor to an orchestra. Precise; on time; reliable and inspirational. He makes you feel as though you are the most important person in his life when working with you and has never come close to a frustrated sigh when dealing with inexperience. I would happily recommend Gary to any writer, establish or not, who is looking for sound feedback and help with their work. I look forward to the next time I get to work along side Gary, who takes my projects as seriously as I do.
Your critique is so detailed, so thorough, and your analytical skills and insights are as amazingly helpful. It has taught me much and shown me so many large and small improvements to make.
(From an email from short story writer John Constantinou)