MS doctor

My name is Angus Donald and I’m starting a personal editing service called Manuscript Doctor for unpublished writers of historical fiction (and possibly other genres). The idea is that I help talented, first-time authors bring their cherished manuscripts up to a publishable standard*.

My qualifications for this are that I have written eleven successful historical novels under my own name – several of which have been top-twenty bestsellers – and one fantasy novel as Angus Macallan (pictured below). Before I became a novelist I was professional editor for newspapers and magazines for nearly twenty years. I worked on The Times, the FT, the Sunday Telegraph Magazine as a senior sub-editor and I have written for many other national and international publications as well.

Gates of Stone

There are three services that I can offer and clients may pick and chose which they require:


I will read your finished manuscript either as an electronic document or on paper, as you prefer, and give you an honest assessment of its quality and merits, with comprehensive editorial suggestions for improvement to the text and structure, and pointers, if requested, for getting the book published*. I will not be actually editing the manuscript, but I hope I can help you to improve it significantly.

Fee: £400. This is for reading the manuscript of a complete novel and writing a 500-word assessment.


I will highlight typos and grammatical errors in your manuscript to make it appear slick and professional to an agent or publisher. I will also indicate other editorial concerns, such as missing words, dreadful clichés, bad jokes and do some very light, non-structural editing. I have spent thirty years of my working life proofreading in one form or another. I like to use the style guide of The Times newspaper as the basis of my proofing but I can use other style guides, if that is preferred.

Fee: £25 per hour or £200 per day. Approximately £600 to proofread a 90,000-word novel.

Structural editing

I will edit your novel to a professional standard. This will include working on the structure as well as giving my advice on the language used, the pace of the story, the plot and and characterisation. Basically, I will do what an in-house editor in any major publishing house does every day.

Fee: This will depend on the quality and length of the work but I’m looking at charging £25 per hour or £200 per day. A fee for a single edit of the whole book must be negotiated but I expect that to be in the region of £1,500 for a 90,000-word novel. I will also consider editing only the first three chapters and a synopsis, which is what new writers traditionally send out to attract agents and publishers.

Get in touch

Basically, if you think you might be interested, just get in touch and we can talk about what you require from me and how much it might cost. Email me at (the Contact button on this website will do the same thing) or via Twitter @angus_donald or on Facebook at Angus Donald Author. I look forward to hearing from you!

Last word

I retain the copyright to any communications between me and my client, including my assessment or any editorial comments either in written or electronic form. The client may not publish or use my words in any publication, for example as a blurb on the back of a book, without my written permission

* I make no guarantee that your novel will be published, nor that it will sell a million and make you rich. I really hope it will – and I’ll do my best to make that happen – but no guarantees, OK?