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Editing Services

Michael N. Marcus is not merely a bestselling author with more than 40 years' experience. He is a book publishing consultant, book evaluator, book previewer and book reviewer.


He's also a book editor, book formatter and book publisher.

Michael can help you write and publish a book you'll be proud of, and maybe even make money from.

Writers: a negative preview is much better than a negative reviewGet help before it's too late to make changes. 


To see if we're compatible and get an estimate, call 1.203.780.8118 and ask for Michael, or send email.


CLICK to read part of one of Michael's books for writers.

CLICK to read one of Michael's reviews of a bad book which could have been a good book.


CLICK to read about the worst book ever published.

Get a FREE pre-editing assessment.

Michael will provide a brief FREE assessment ("critique") of your project, and let you know if he thinks the book is suitable for publication. He may hurt your feelings, but it's better to be hurt privately than publicly.


If he thinks your book is worthwhile, he will provide a proposal for a detailed analysis and other services you may need. The prices depend on the size of the book and how good or bad it is. Typical prices are $150-$400 for an analysis, and $500 or more for editing. Page formatting, cover design, website design, publishing and publicity are also available at additional cost. 

Michael can even help you to set up your own publishing company.

Critique Sample:

Improve Your Odds

  • Most books—even books published by major publishers with highly paid and experienced staffs—fail. People write and publish for many reasons, and there are many ways to define success and failure. Here are some things you can do to improve your odds of succeeding:


  1. The worst mistakes of self-publishing authors are not having professional editing and not having a professional designer—particularly for the book cover. Even editors who write books should hire other editors.

  2. You’ll probably see ads proclaiming “FREE PUBLISH­ING” and you’ll also encounter publishing packages priced under $200. Here’s the truth: No company will print and deliver a book for free.

  3. Unless you are prepared to spend $1,000 or more ($3,000 or more would be better), you probably won’t get a high-quality book and will not be able to tell many potential read­­­­­ers that the book exists and convince them to buy it.

  4. It's important to publish in the formats that your likely readers want to read in. Most books should be published as both pbooks (books printed on paper) and ebooks. Some should be hardcovers as well as paperbacks. You should also consider "talking books," large-print books and foreign-language versions.

  5. Start promoting your book as soon as you have a concept and a likely title. If you delay promotion until your book has been published, you are too late.

  6. Price your book in line with its competitors. If the price is too high, you may lose sales to less-expensive competitors. If your price is too low, your book may be perceived as not being good enough.

  7. Your book should be neither too short nor too long. It has to be "just right."

  8. You need to build a  "platform."  It's a major buzzword in current publishing, and not the same as a political party’s platform. Think of it as a metaphor for a structure that will boost you up and make you visible to potential readers, sources of publicity and bookstore buyers. Components in your platform include websites, blogs, business connections, social media, radio and TV appearances, quotes in media, online mentions, speeches, articles, friends, neighbors, etc. Your first book is part of your platform and should help sell your later books.


  1. People will generally pay more for vital information than for entertainment.

  2. Fiction and poetry are not necessary to readers. Peo­ple who want to read a novel may be content to borrow a copy from a friend or the library instead of buying it—even if they have to wait a few weeks. Fiction and poetry books are entertainment. That means they are options. They are expendable when money is tight; and they have to compete with movies, ball games, video games, music and more.

  3. Novels may be read just once or twice. A nonfiction book, particularly an important reference, might be referred to doz­ens or hundreds of times and be a vital part of a personal or business library.

  4. In nonfiction, pick a subject you know about, which you can contribute something new about, which lots of people care about, and which lots of people have not already written about. If there are other books on the same topic (and there probably are), make sure you have something important to add so your book can be better than its competition.

  5. If you write about an important and changing subject—like electric cars—you can sell updated editions every year or two.

  6. It’s extremely difficult to sell many copies of self-pub­lished fiction or poetry—or the memoir of a non-famous person—on paper. In order to sell thousands of copies, you’ll have to be extremely lucky or generate a lot of “buzz” through viral marketing, public relations and advertising (time-consuming and often expensive).

  7. It’s easier for an unknown author to sell $1.99 - $4.99 ebooks than $14.95 - 19.95 pbooks.

  8. The world is not waiting for your novel, poetry or memoir to be published. If your book should appeal to “everyone,” can you afford to let everyone know about it?

  9. Fiction is usually timeless. We still read the works of Dickens and Homer. Your new novel must compete with other books written centuries ago.


  1. You need a subtitle, such as "a love story."

  2. Readers expect an author photo on the back cover, and a brief about the author on the back cover or inside.

  3. The text on the back cover is VERY powerful, but should be larger and provide more contrast against the navy blue.

  4. The laminate is peeling from the cover. Use another printer in the future.

  5. The first right-hand (recto) page is known as the half title or bastard title page. It should have the title only, in simple type. No artwork or authors name. Maybe a tiny logo.

  6. The back of that page (first verso page) should be blank.

  7. The second recto page is the title page, and can have fancier typography than the bastard page, plus author's name and name of publisher.

  8. The back of that page (second verso page) is the copyright page. It should have the copyright notice (change it to 2018 or even 2019 if your pub date will be in October or later). The page also gets the ISBN and LCCN, and maybe name of editor and designer.

  9. General Comment: many paragraphs ("grafs" after this mention) are very long. Consider chopping some into two or three pieces so readers can take a break.

  10. General Comment: consider rewriting or changing word spacing to eliminate orphans.

  11. General Comment: you have many compound modifiers which should be hyphenated.

  12. General Comment: literary books like this generally have indents to indicate the start of a new graf, but no blank lines between grafs. The style in this book is more like a tech manual, or a website.

  13. General Comment: Its a very gray book. Readers like to see pictures. You could use a pic at the beginning of each chapter, on any appropriate page, or collected in the front, middle or end.

  14. General Comment: Your ellipses are inconsistent.

  15. Pg 5, top: Put a comma between "Spring" and "1984."

  16. Pg 5, 2nd graf, 3rd sentence: Lightening should be Lightning.

  17. Pg 6, 2nd line: In theory, I prefer the alternative lungeing so readers don't think the g is a hard sound as in "lung," but the e iin lungeing looks very strange and I don't like it. Try to pick another word.

  18. Pg 14, 2nd sentence: "doctor," not "Doctor"

  19. Pg 14, last sentence: hyphenate "high-bred" and "well-versed."

  20. Pg 15, middle of first graf: Pluralize "nether region. "Hyphenate "honest-to-goodness."

  21. Pg 16, last graf: hyphenate "not-so-subtle," "so-and-so," "such-and-such."

  22. Pg 18, top line: ellipse should have four dots

  23. Pg 20, first graf: in a serious book like this, I would not use Mussolini's sarcastic nickname.

  24. Pg 20, last graf: either lowercase "Party" or insert "Republican" before "Party." Hyphenate "well-thought-of." Spell out "Massachusetts" in text. Abbreviate in list or address.

  25. Pg 21, first graf, about 2/3rds down: consider dividing this long graf.

More and more people are writing books, and the number of self-published books, particularly ebooks, is growing greatly. Sadly, many of them are bad books, hated by readers and reviewers.

The head of a major self-publishing company said, "We publish a huge number of really bad books."

Most books lose money. Some lose a lot of money.

It doesn't have to be that way.

  • Many errors can be detected and corrected before the books are presented to the world.

  • Some ideas for books are doomed from the start and should never become books.

  • Some nearly complete books are so bad that they should not be published.

  • Many books can be salvaged by proper editing or will benefit from the services of a skilled designer.

  • Some potential books are really good, but the authors need encouragement to move forward.

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