Tom Bender Books
     A Resource for Writers

Find all the help you need to create an exceptional book
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
- Maya Angelou
People who edit their own writing will find they have made only one mistake.
- Tom Bender
Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as good as it should be.
- Mark Twain
Examples of my editing work

May I make a point here about the importance of editing?

Two books I edited recently, Business Fraud: From Trust to Betrayal, and Baseball's Finest Moments, both by Jack L. Hayes, won Royal Palm Literary Awards from the Florida Writers Association. Both books were published independently.

These self-published books are highly regarded because both the author and I knew what we were doing. Jack Hayes knows a lot about business fraud because of his years of experience in combatting business crime, and he knows a lot about baseball because, among other things, he was once a batboy for the Washington Senators. You can perhaps imagine his knowledge of the game. I know a lot about editing books; I've been in the editing business for more than fifty years. Together, Jack and I created two books recognized in the marketplace as outstanding.

The truth is, electronic books are perceived, in the main, as badly written. I am sure you know this. This reputation stems from some bias among traditionalists, of course, but also from the fact that many independently published books, written by people who know their subject matter very well, are not properly edited. Most new authors do not know what they do not know: writers need editors.

In my editing work, I look for clients who know a lot about their subject matter. Then I help them, and they know it. I hasten to say that I am not alone in nurturing success; any competent editor can help make good work excellent.

If you want to be a writer, believe me when I say, sincerely, that you will need an editor. If you can't afford an editor, at least read the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Expect Success!

Every writer I help has good reason to expect success. Writers also find when they work with me that my hands-on editing and personal attention to them come at a price significantly below what is ordinarily commanded in the market. Why is this so? I am retired, and can work for less, on projects I admire, with writers I respect. An email from you will get a personal response.
Tom Bender's newest novel, Avenging Allison, is "Unforgettable, really," says one critic

It is 95,000 words long, but readers are finding it hard to put down...

Terror comes in on little cat feet.

In a museum in a town in southern Illinois, an exhibit of erotic art opens. Some people are furious.

Meanwhile, in the Shawnee National Forest, south of the town, a 10-year-old boy believes he sees a man falling in the sky. Nothing better to do on a Sunday, a reporter - a man named Morrison - goes looking.

None of this seems connected.

Then, somebody blows up the art museum.

Dead in the rubble is Morrison's lover.

"Collateral damage," say the police.

Then, Morrison's daughter Allison is hit by a car.

Sparks from a bonfire of hate, greed, lust, and fury light up the sky in this second Morrison mystery by Tom Bender.

Click here to read the first three chapters.

Readers and critics agree: Tom's novel, Cemetery Plot, is a remarkable mystery

As one reader said, "It's a great page turner, with just a whiff of romance - a delightful read."

A reporter named Morrison covers a grave robbery in downstate Illinois. He thinks it's a lark. He is very much mistaken. He finds more than dessicated bones. A killer stalks him. He uncovers a story worthy of a Pulitzer prize. He also comes under the gaze of a psychopath.

Yet, the story can be funny, too. "Witty and romantic," says one reader. "I love a book that makes me laugh out loud on one page and gasp on the next," says another. "Eye-popping twists and turns," says another.

Cemetery Plot recently won a Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association.

Click here to read the first three chapters.

If you are a kid at heart, read Run For It!

Two teenagers think they can outwit Irish terrorists and the Chicago mob.

Maybe not.

Run for It! is my coming-of-age story about two boys who flee across country from the Chicago mob, only to fall into the hands of Irish terrorists. Author Ann Bannon calls this novel The Hardy Boys on Speed.

Click here to read the first three chapters.

Run For It! is the winner of a Royal Palm Literary Award.

What I will do for you, a writer hoping to succeed
  • Offer a full range of interventions—from suggesting minor variations in grammar and style to probing more deeply for story development opportunities while looking for roadblocks that inhibit readers.
  • Maintain each writer’s original voice, tone, and diction— that unique way of saying things that marks successful authors as original.
  • Voice tells the reader who is speaking.
    Tone projects the attitude of the speaker.
    Diction is reflected in the speaker’s accent, inflection, intonation, and sound.
  • Edit in accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. This is the bible of correct usage among American agents and publishers.
  • Cover both fiction and non-fiction, e.g., novels, business books and memoirs.
I am in my fourth career.
  • Journalist for 10 years
  • Speechwriter for 25 years
  • College professor for 8 years
  • Writing and editing…

About Me

Growing up in Chicago, I went down to Urbana to school. After the army, I worked for The Champaign-Urbana Courier, and covered the first draft-card burning in America. I became a speechwriter and then a college professor. Now I edit books and write, winning honors for both. My wife Beth and I have seventeen grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren too. (Beth, a Purdue graduate, handles all the plumbing and electrical work.)
Contact Me

Copies of all of my books are available, signed if you wish, directly from me.

Send an e-mail to:

You also can get my books at, either electronically or as paperback books.

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