I’m Randy Burgess, and I’m a freelance book doctor, writing coach, and editor. Welcome to this site. Here you will find a description of my services, some free writing guides, and a blog with writing tips.
I work with nonfiction authors on subjects including, but not limited to, applied psychology, history, cultural criticism, nonprofit management, games, and business and finance. Audiences for these subjects can be the general reading public, scholars, or professionals.
What exactly do I do? Put simply, I can help you make your book proposal or manuscript better—stronger, more appealing and more readable, and therefore (other factors being equal) more likely to sell. Effective writing is more than just putting words in order; it’s putting ideas in order too. And it’s making sure there is a grand scheme that will pull the reader first into the book, and then all the way through.
Who hires me and why
Most of the authors I work with are still seeking an agent or a book contract. Sometimes they already have an agent; and sometimes they have a book contract, too. Since you’re reading these words, perhaps you too have a book contract; or perhaps only a rough draft for a proposal, or perhaps not even that. Why might you in particular want to hire me? Here are some possible reasons:
- You’re a first-time author, at least when it comes to books. You are not quite sure what’s needed, where to put it, or how to organize something so much longer than anything you’ve written before.
- You’re an experienced author of books for academic or professional audiences, but this will be your first book for a general audience. As William Germano notes in Getting It Published, his guide for academic authors, scholars often struggle in trying to simplify their language and their topic for a lay audience.
- An agent or editor has told you that you need help with the writing before they will consider your manuscript or proposal. Or possibly an editor at your publishing house has looked over your manuscript, and thinks it needs more editing than in-house editors can provide.
- This is your second or third book, and you want to make it better than its predecessors. Very likely you will have specific questions and objectives related to this goal.
To learn more about who I am and what I do, see my Services page. There I give my credentials and describe possible working relationships. Also, as mentioned above, you may want to check out both my free writing guides and my blog of writing tips, Whole words, whole sight.