1. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    A Question About Editing

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Lmc71775, Nov 29, 2011.

    I just received an offer of rep. but the agent said it needed editorial help. She just emailed me today saying they do not offer proofreading or editorial services. I am still waiting for the contract, but does this mean I have to get the editing done on my own? I really didn't want to pay for anything, but am worried that's what this agent wants me to do. Why would an agent want to rep a story just to tell the author they have to pay for editing? That doesn't make sense.
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Well, I would try to clear this up. They shouldn't be offering to rep work that they're not satisfied they can sell and that they can't/won't give you an idea of how to fix. I would make sure you're quite clear on what's expected of you before you sign anything, and what the conditions are before they'll start shopping it. I mean you could be thinking sentence structure and punctuation and they could be thinking your entire ending needs to be reworked. I'd definitely be shooting off some clarifying emails, doing a little research into the agent, etc. before I signed a thing.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haven't gotten to that stage yet, but my understanding was that help with editing was one of the things most agents did (noting that more editing might be required by the publisher). Or am I off-base on that?
     
  4. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you know what they meant by editing?

    Is it grammar and punctuation issues? Is it novel structure, or refining dialogue? Is it too much passive voice or telling? If you don't know what they suggest be edited, it's hard to know what you should address.

    If it's spelling, grammar and punctuation, if you have a friend or know someone pretty solid in English, they could probably clean it up quite a bit. Maybe for free. Maybe for a fancy dinner afterwards. Who knows. If it is something else, more direction would be needed and as a writer, you should be able to address that yourself.

    Some agents do take on diamonds in the rough, but knowing writers who've had agents, their agents didn't sit and edit a mansucript for them. They gave the writer direction--the plot lags here, is this character needed. Why would he travel by train instead of plane, the ending needs work, etc.

    If this a solid/seasoned agent who represents known authors (reliable midlist or better) to respected publishers--especially those that don't accept unsolicited mansucripts--then it is worth investigating and doing what it takes. If it's an inexperienced agent (independent or with a small/unknown agency) with few to no major sales or clients, then the path is less clear.

    That's my two cents.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you - just glanced at it for now but will definitely give it a good read. :)
     
  7. Devrokon
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    Devrokon Senior Member

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    Seconded.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't ask us, ask the agent!
     
  9. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Heh, that's what we ALL said.
     
  10. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    Haha...yeah, I did ask the agent. Just haven't heard back yet so I thought to ask you guys.

    I will be sure to ask everything before I sign. I really don't think it's major editing I have to do. I still would need help putting all my commas in the right place though. lol

    Thanks again everyone, and for that link Trish, thank you too.
     
  11. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    Well she got back to me and it sounds like she wants me to get it professionally done, although it's still unclear. I actually had an offer before this and turned it down thinking this one would be better. If this one doesn't work out, can I go back to the other and ask if the offer still stands? Or is that taboo?
     
  12. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do as you feel comfortable doing. How do you feel about it? How do you feel the agent might respond? etc etc There is no industry commandment dictating that thou shalt not return to an agent previously rebuffed.
     
  13. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I agree with art. Only you know how that conversation went. As far as the one that wants you to have it professionally edited, you mean she wants it completely gone over? Did she give you a list of editors she thinks would be the best fit (while this sounds helpful, in most cases it's a huge red flag), did she say at all what the problems are? Was she still offering to send you a contract even before the 'professional editing' was done? If so, that entire situation seems awfully fishy to me and if it were me I think I'd run for the hills. But seriously, if it were me. Not if it were you. Only you know what you should do :)
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    hahaha
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it does sound sorta fishy... or could be just the agent was trying to be kind and not tell you the writing was so bad it wasn't worth taking on...
     
  16. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    After doing the 'Look Inside' thing with the two books you have on amazon, I was wondering, who edited those? Are you now trying to go the traditional route? I'm a little confused :/ Why not just go the same way you've been going? The formatting on those two was (I assume) what the e-pub wanted? So I can't/won't fault that, but definitely there are some editing issues. And I don't mean that to be rude at all. Was wondering though (as some of it was formatting, especially in the second one I looked at) if that was something you weren't allowed to change?

    I guess the point I'm trying to get at is, if you're now trying to go the traditional route and the new one is like those, I can pretty much tell you what she's having the most issues with. If you're interested.
     
  17. Lmc71775
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    Lmc71775 Active Member

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    Technically I did go the traditional route, but the money wasn't there for me, so I decided to seek out an agent. The Eternal Press editors did my editorial work on the first two books and I didn't have to pay anything. But again, the money is poor to be honest. I don't think my current story I am referring to is "so bad" as Mamma puts it is the problem. I just think it has some grammar issues is all. I've had two offers on this one story and I don't think either of them would want to take something on if it was "so bad". Right now I am in the waiting game again. The email thing is killing me, but what can I do? Nothing. I have to just see how it pans out. Hopefully it will turn out okay. I just wish I went with my gut and went with the first one.

    I do appreciate everyone's input on this, thanks again.
     
  18. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    No, I don't think it's 'so bad'. I agree with you. If it's like the other 2, you seem to have some grammar, sentence structure issues, and a little help with punctuation wouldn't hurt (that perhaps Eternal missed?). But, again, if it's like the other two, the story seems quite solid.
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you need to know that to agents [and their readers], those 'not so bad' grammar issues could well be bad enough to get a query/ms tossed, since they get so many coming in on a daily basis and any excuse to pare down the piles is welcome...

    it won't matter how 'solid' a story is, if the writing is substandard due to grammar, sentence structure, spelling, or punctuation, et al.
     

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