So Who Needs A Good Editor?


Knowing first hand the value of a good editor, I asked my friend Edmond Addeo to be my guest blogger this week. I met Ed at a writer’s conference in San Francisco and was so impressed that I asked him to edit my latest novel, The Custer Conspiracy. Best thing I ever did. I’m proud to introduce Ed to all of you who might be in need of a professional editor. I’ve worked with many editors over the years. Ed is, by far, the best I’ve ever met.

Ed … the stage is all yours.

          Glad to be a guest of the Dennis Koller blog.  I want to take this opportunity to first establish my bona fides. I’ve had 12 books published by mainstream houses, worked with some of the best agents in New York and LA, and have had two screenplays optioned.

          It’s a generally-accepted axiom that proofreading an author’s own manuscript is folly. However, it’s also surprising how many authors —especially first-timers— fail to grasp the importance of punctuation, proper format, acceptable grammar, invisible antecedents, use of apostrophes, and proper verb tenses when using the subjective mood, to name a few. If an agent or editor at a publishing house spots a violation of these rubrics of grammar even on the first page, he’ll probably reject the ms. out of hand.What-is-Editing

          For example, a few years ago I was Executive Editor for a chain of community newspapers in Marin County, and as part of a revitalization campaign I hired four bright young ladies recently graduated from San Jose State, Stanford, Oregon University and U.C. Berkeley. These gals all had degrees in Journalism. To my utter surprise and bafflement, I felt I had to teach them the English language all over again!  For example, they didn’t seem to know the difference between “it’s” and “its.” They didn’t know that an apostrophe NEVER makes something plural. Their punctuation was terrible, their composition of a news story was haphazard, and I don’t have the heart or stomach right now to discuss their general grammar.

          I thought, “Didn’t these women have to pass an exam to graduate?”

          Thus ends my lecture on the importance of a good proofreader/editor.

          And I’m a great proofreader/editor.  What I offer is three-fold: 1) a complete line-edit of your manuscript, word by word, in hard copy and red ink, and with margin notes; 2) clarification questions, suggestions for additions and deletions, and overall creative impressions; and 3) if you’ve managed to impress me with your talent, I can introduce you to a top agent (mine) in New York who will read your ms. upon my recommendation.

          All that for a fraction of what the “pro” Internet editors are charging. Mail queries to

          P.S. Unabashed plug: Interested in historical fiction? I just won the Chaucer Award for my epic book, Uzumati – A Tale of the Yosemite, and my recent book The Woman Who Cured Cancer tells about an effective and affordable cancer vaccine that’s available to the public without a prescription.

          Thanks Dennis!

And thank you, Ed. 

In the interest of sharing the wealth of good people I have found along my writing journey, I want to urge you to follow Kristen Lamb’s blog. She’s a treasure trove of insight into the book business as well as providing wonderful tips on how to hone your craft. Click this link to check her out. 


My latest suspense novel, The Custer Conspiracy, is now wending its way through the New York Literati circles seeking an agent. While it makes its rounds, I’d like to offer you a free preview. Sign up as a “follower” of my blog and I’ll send you the 1st chapter for free. I would love to hear your feedback. A quick summary:

Within a week of his uncovering the secret that General George Armstrong Custer did not die at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, history professor Matt Conroy was lying in a morgue with the back of his head blown off. 

To learn more, click “Follow” in the sidebar menu of this page. (Already a follower? You can request a sample of The Custer Conspiracy via email at or comment below.)


7 thoughts on “So Who Needs A Good Editor?

  1. Mike O'Hara

    Dennis, Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. For those of us with any ability to communicate either verbally or in writing the English language shudder at the language, spelling and grammar we are subjected to these days. I have probably mangled these few sentences. Too many concussions. What is your excuse.
    Mike O’Hara

  2. Wendy

    Mr Dennis Koller,
    We wish you continued good luck with your latest release. What talent and passion you have!
    Best, Wendy, Pete, Mickey


    Many thanks!

    Good luck with your books!



    The 13th San Francisco Writers Conference & Open Enrollment A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community Keynotes: Annie Barrows, Jane Friedman, Ann Packer, T. Jefferson Parker February 11-15, 2016 / / Mike’s blog: @SFWC /

    The 8th San Francisco Writing for Change Conference Writing Fiction and Nonfiction to Make a Difference Saturday, September 10th, 2016 /

    Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents Helping Writers Launch Careers Since 1972 / 415-673-0939 / 1029 Jones Street / San Francisco, 94109 Submission instructions and other helpful information, and info about Michael’s nonfiction consulting services are on our site. Michael is the author of How to Write a Book Proposal and How to Get a Literary Agent, and coauthor of Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 101 Weapons for Selling Your Work. A downloadable proposal template is available at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.