1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Editing Edit before or After Submitting

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by live2write, Mar 22, 2013.

    Really Really Big question!!! (Has to do with submitting work to a publisher)

    Is it necessary to pay for an editor before your submit your work or after?
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not necessary to pay for an editor, no. One can get beta readers or learn to edit one's own work (usually best done after letting it sit for a time).
     
  3. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    Your work must be perfect before submitting to a publisher--so anyway you can achieve that is up to you. Although, many wont take unsolicited ms. You need a agent to submit on your behalf.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This is a silly question - think of it this way: when going for an interview, do you prepare for it before or afterwards?

    It is the same - when you submit, it is the absolute best that you can do. If you pay for someone to edit it AFTER, then that means you'll end up with better work afterwards but the agent has already read the less-than-perfect version and made her decision of rejection or acceptance based on that.

    And if an agent takes you on, she will help you edit if it's necessary. And then once she sells it to a publisher, the publisher has its own in-house editors whom you do not need to pay for at all.

    In short... I have no idea why you had to ask this at all...
     
  5. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    You should always make a manuscript as perfect as you can before sending it in to either an agent or a publisher. You want to show them your best work, and that you're a capable writer. You should go over your manuscript multiple times - though those times should be somewhat spaced - to catch as many mistakes as possible. And, if there's someone you trust that can give you a hand available, having a totally fresh pair of eyes read over your manuscript and check for mistakes is definitely a good idea.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Neither!

    You should always do your own editing, and you should never submit until you have polished your manuscript as much as you can. If you can't bring it to professional quality, consider a writing tutor, NOT an editor.

    The publisher may ask you to edit your manuscript more. That's a good thing. It means you're nearly there, because an submissions editor will only make such a request if the manuscript nearly meets their standards.

    No unpublished author should be paying for an editor. Only an accomplished writer with a contract and a tight schedule should consider hiring an editor.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't understand the question. Why why WHY would you wait until AFTER you submit before you edit your work? It makes no sense. The agent or publisher will decide whether or not to accept your work based on what you submit. If it still needs a lot of work, they'll reject it immediately.

    Edit THEN submit.
    Edit THEN submit.
    Edit THEN submit.
    etc.

    Write it out a hundred times!
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    To my knowledge there is a difference between Proof Reading and Editing.

    Of course yes I will proof read my work and make the necessary corrections (There are stories that I have completed as practice and have 10 copies of with the progression of edits).

    However I am talking about the initial editing before it gets sent to print.
     
  9. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    This is from someone I know who is an editor. There are three distinct levels of editing:

    Bear in mind that there are at least three levels of editing:

    1. Content editing - the high level stuff. Storytelling, characters,
    plotting, setting, etc. If your story doesn't work here, it will fail
    to succeed as well as it could.

    2. Copyediting - A hard look at sentence and word choices. This is
    the polish that every manuscript needs before it is sent out to be published.

    3. Proofreading - A thorough look for missing words, punctuation,
    typos, etc. Do this AFTER ALL other changes have been made.

    I'm in the middle of doing numbers 1 and 2 at the moment. Content editing is also deciding if chapter's can be cut and things still work. I've killed twelve chapters out of my original number on my novel and cut it from 137.4k down to around 116-120k. It's been getting a rewrite of every chapter also. That falls under number 2. Both of them need to be done before you get to number 3. If a writer hasn't done either 1 or 2, then all the proofreading in the world doesn't meant squat.

    The next step I'm doing on my novel is a 'hard copy' edit, which is when it's put on paper and I go through it line by line. That's where you'll catch your redundant thoughts, etc etc because unless it's blatant, it won't always jump out at you on the screen. The last step, before proofreading (for me), is to sit down and physically read it aloud several times. That'll let you see if it flows, feels right, etc etc. If something seems awkward when you read a sentence, then odds are you'll need to rewrite it.

    All of those should be done BEFORE submitting. Then, make sure you follow all guidelines. I had a post deleted by the mods where I told them the truth about something an Agent did. She spent a day (in real-time) on Twitter as she went through her slush pile. Now these were her submission guidelines.

    Twelve point Courier New font
    Que letter IN the email-not attached.
    First 5 chapters pasted in the email-also not attached. (reason being to avoid viruses, etc)

    Well, SEVEN OUT OF TEN manuscripts didn't follow the submission guidelines, and were IMMEDIATELY tossed. That cut her job down 70% for the day. From there, she judged off the quality of the Que letter and the first five chapters. The ones that didn't grip her right away were tossed. So, out of ten manuscripts received, about 1, maybe 2, out of each 10 made it to where she chose to work with the author.

    With that said, the odds are hard-and you make it nearly impossible on yourself-if you don't polish it BEFORE sending it in, and then following guidelines TO THE LETTER. Then it's up to your work.
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    All of that is irrelevant - if your manuscript isn't perfect, you have no business submitting it anywhere. Whether it is editing you have yet to do or proofreading you have yet to do is of no consequence. You submit something where the plot/flow/structure/characters don't work (any one or combination of those) and you will get rejected. You submit something where all that is working but it's riddled with grammar mistakes and you'll get a big fat rejection letter to come back when you've learnt some grammar.

    As for "initial editing before it gets sent to print" - well, that's assuming a publisher has already taken you on. In which case, they have in-house editors who will tell you what to do as well as copy-edit for you, absolutely free of charge. This step is not your choice - it will certainly happen regardless if a publisher has chosen to sell your book.

    But here's the problem with your question - you're asking if one should edit before or after SUBMITTING. By nature of your question, you cannot mean the editing process a publisher would do for you or require of you because you don't have a publisher yet if you're asking about submission.

    So I still don't understand what you're worrying over? Send your MS when it's perfect, it's that simple.

    Just to clarify, editing is done at both stages. BEFORE submission, as it needs to be perfect, and then AFTER a publisher has taken you on they'll still want you to edit some more for it to fit the market. But "should" you edit before or after - of course it should always be BEFORE. The editing that comes AFTER is not a choice that's up to you to make - it's either you follow what the publisher wants or they ditch you.
     
  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just a note, since one word used in this discussion could drive a great many new writers right up the wall and lead to never submitting:

    It doesn't have to be perfect. No writing will ever be perfect. Don't even try for perfect. But DO make it the very best you possibly can - don't count on the agent or the publisher to do that for you.

    I'm saying this only because I've heard from too many new writers who get in caught in editing mode and despair of ever getting published because they think it has to be 'perfect'.
     
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  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @captain kate: I don't intend to criticise your process, but to me, all those edits of the whole thing would be such a daunting task. I think that I do three drafts of every chapter before I move on to the next. I edit as I go, paying specific attention to all 3 that you mentioned. That way, by the time I finish my first draft, it realistically needs once over for a re-write, trimming if necessary ( but not much) and an once over in finished manuscript form, with appropriate formatting. I find working like that a lot more manageable.
     
  13. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Unfortunately, that's not me saying it but a professional editor. And as for not doing hard copy edits, there WILL be things that won't jump out on the screen, no matter how many times you look at it. I've put things on paper for my beta readers (chapter's I've been through a couple times) and there's things that jump right out soon as it's seen on paper.

    As for the reading aloud, that was something a publisher said. However you do you're editing is your business, but I can tell you that you WILL miss things on screen no matter how many times you look at it.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've advocated for reading your stuff aloud on this forum many times. I think there's no better way of finding out whether your sentences and paragraphs flow the way you want them to. You catch things by reading aloud you would never catch just staring at a screen. Print your work out on paper and read it aloud!

    Thanks for reinforcing my point, Capt. Kate.
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't take me wrong, I give hard copies to my betas too, I was referring to your description of editing the entire manuscript like five or six times. I couldn't face writing 100k words before I edit. I am not trying to judge anything, I was just talking.

    ps. Reading out loud is not something I'm in a habit of doing but I might, thanks for the suggestion,
     
  16. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Your work needs to be the absolute best it can be before you submit it to anyone, agent, publisher or self publish. How you do that is up to you.

    And yes I agree, reading your work aloud is very useful for error catching. So is having it in paper form in your hands.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  17. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i have had 2 other people look at what i have work wise (for my piece called Twinsanity) one a published author, another, someone whose got an eye for detail and the such like, both suggested i considered getting my piece published when i had finished it, which seems like a good idea, the latter person is looking over each 'section' (a chunk of about 2000-3000 words) as i send them over to make sure everything is in order, he then makes notes on it and sends it back to me, in which case i edit the necessary parts as i go. this is all done via email which means that its a lot easier to do when editing.

    both of us know its not going to be perfect, nothing ever is, so dont try to make it that way, make it as best as you can within your limits, and do what i do, get someone who has very good attention to detail to read over it and annotate the bits that need changing, trust me, its worthwhile

    *just a note, the guy who helps me does not get paid for this, it was a spur of the moment offer i received after him seeing the very first draft of the beginning of the piece
     
  18. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Here is where I am getting at.

    Yes I do agree that when you submit a story to a publisher it has to be as perfect as possible. If I have to find a person who has experience with writing and correcting mistakes would I have to pay them.

    Also what do Editors do in the publishing world. Lets say my book is 90% perfect according to their standards and it has been accepted, then I can understand not paying for the in house editor.
     
  19. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    You shouldn't waste your money hiring an editor to do your work. They do charge, and usually an insane amount of money. Do your editing yourself, and with the help, perhaps, of beta readers. Any remaining flaws that your manuscript might have, if it's accepted, will be worked out by the proofreaders and editors within the publishing house.
     
  20. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Spelling and Simple Grammar can be fixed.

    What I focus on is the flow of the story. I do have people read my work, I find that simple corrections like a misspelled word on page 166 would pass rather than a story that makes you turn in circles
     

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