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A company offering free proofreading and editing services (if they published my book)contacted me through ICQ recently.

As you can imagine, I was a bit sceptical to say the least.
Nothing is free right? What's the catch?

But out of curiosity I visited their website, which incidentally is at: www.virtualbookworl d.com/related/ (seems best with Internet Explorer)

Their specifications are that you must have written your manuscript in English, it needs to be a work of fiction and it has to be a bare minimum of 30,000 words.

Still thinking that this was all a bit dubious, I looked into it a bit further. They give you help and advice on line through email and ICQ; I spoke someone calling himself Grant on ICQ # 34046081 (very helpful guy actually).

He explained to me that the company was set up to help writers get published,without the usual pitfalls. He also told me that the reason for not charging the author was the idea of their management,they cover their editing and publishing costs by having their royalty scheme on a sliding scale,instead of charging the writer up front. So it's not actually *FREE* they just don't charge you for it.

A bit more convinced, I decided to give it a go. I had nothing to loose, right? I thought that they would want me to submit my story to them, but that is not how they operate.

I had to write a 500-word synopsis about my work accompanied by a 300-word biography.
This is a test; I guess it's to see if you can string a sentence together. On the strength of your submission they decide to either decline your work or accept it to the next level. The next level is what they call a viability inspection,this is to see if your work is suitable or good enough to be published,if it is they then proofread and edit your manuscript and sell the finished book from their website.

I've now been converted from a sceptic, although they declined my story on the viability inspection,they did give me lots of great advice on how to improve my story line and characters' depth.
So now I'm working like crazy to get my story good enough to submit to them again.
The company is called Virtual Book World and the author's submission section is at: http://www.virtualbookworld.com/authors.asp

Good luck,

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