1. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Edit before submitting

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by PGWhyte, Oct 9, 2016.

    I've searched the forums to no avail, so thought I'd ask instead.
    Basically should I hire an editor before even attempting to find an agent/publisher?
    I understand once you have a publisher, editing comes with it? I'm not sure being new to all this, so wouldn't need to hire one myself.
    I guess my writing should be in the best possible condition before submitting, more chance of success I guess.

    Sorry if this has been posted before, I've hit a block and can't seem to break through it, I'm not even sure i want to get a publisher or go self pub instead (costly i know).

    Thanks in advance
    Phil
     
  2. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I think the consensus here (and mine) is, that you should submit your story as good as it can possibly get. So to my mind that means that I'd make damn sure there are no SPAGs I can't eliminate, either through my own knowledge, or dedicated Betas, or a paid editor.

    Imagine someone rejecting your story just because there were too many errors *snort*.
     
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  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good editing is extremely expensive. Bad editing is quite possibly worse than no editing at all.

    If you have a disability or something that prevents you from learning basic grammar/spelling, then maybe it makes sense to hire an editor before you submit. If you have lots of money and are willing to commit a good chunk of it to your writing, maybe it makes sense hire an editor before you submit.

    In general, though? It's not generally considered necessary if you're planning to seek an agent/publisher. I've never done it with any of my books. I only pay for editing when I self-publish. And if you do pay for an editor, I'd recommend against mentioning it in your cover letters... it's considered a bit of a rookie move by quite a few publishing-types.
     
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  4. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the reply.
    I knew when i first started my book, it would not be an overnight thing. It puts it into perspective really, with time and effort our work will prosper.
     
  5. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    I have learnt a lesson with good editing/bad editing, and one I will not do again. I have found an editor i want to work with, and found it quite expensive.
    She does offer a payment plan which would be ideal, considering i couldn't invest a lot of money upfront.
    I'm going to put 1000% into attempting to make my work better before i invest, maybe i won't need to hire and editor, who knows.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    If good editing were the case then how come I come across things like 'the the', among other things in professionally
    published books, and e-books? @BayView I am going to share the most recent findings from an 11k 'book' on my
    Kindle, and you tell me people are good at editing. I know my grammar is considered abysmal by most, but in my
    works things like what I am going to show you simply don't go unnoticed nor fixed.

    (Read the first line it is a bit fuzzy, but you can plainly see "began started")

    Picture 41.jpg
     
  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't understand...

    I don't think I told you "people are good at editing", so I'm not sure what the error is supposed to be proving. Is this a self-published book, or one from a publisher?
     
  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Possibly not...:D

    It was published by Stoked Publishing House. Quite embarrassing indeed, considering most publishing comps. have an editor or two handy.
    So I am going to go with the notion that I have seen many mistakes in paperbacks (since I remember the days before ebooks were a thing), that
    editors are terrible at proof reading not to mention the authors who submit them.

    This is not an argument stating that editors are bad at their job, just that you should probably go back through your own work after them
    in case they miss something. That is kinda where I am going with this.

    Side note:
    If I can edit 127K+ without making these errors before submission, then so can someone who as written ten times less.
    Seeing as there is less to have to sift through. And I am by no means an editor in any sense of the word. :p
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Stoked Publishing only seems to have one author, so... self-published.

    Which isn't to say that some mistakes don't slip by editors or show up in books put out by real publishing companies. But in general, I'm confident that editors make books better. At least, good editors do.
     
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  10. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Okie dokie. :)
     
  11. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I would use an editor if you can afford it. Always get recommendations and do some research. Some freelance editors will only take on certain projects. It's not unheard of to have to pitch them just so you can hire them. And those editors sure aren't cheep. There was a panel discussion in NYC where this topic came up. I watched it on YouTube. If you spend $10,000 on an editor and get a $50,000 advance, then it was a good investment.

    Why are you starting a new line for each sentence? I hope that's not what your novel or query letter looks like. If you're doing things like that in your writing, you might not be ready to invest the money in an editor.
     
  12. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Haha, no my writing doesnt like like that, your welcome to read my writing in the workshop ;). My phone is broke and has nasty habits at the moment, thats my excuse anywayo_O
     
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  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Is there a difference between proofreaders and editors? I was under the impression that a proofreader searches for the kinds of typos and mistakes like @Cave Troll highlighted. And an editor scrutinises the way the story flows, character development, makes suggestions about structure, etc. Editors aren't actually proofreaders? Is that right?

    It's kind of obvious that began started —something got changed and the original didn't get deleted— must be a typo, and isn't a result of an incompetent writer. The proofreader missed it. (Copy editor?) I've certainly missed mistakes like that in my own MS, and have been grateful to betas who point them out. I also had somebody take me to task for my bad grammar, because during an edit I had changed part of a sentence and forgot to change the rest of it so the tenses agreed! That was embarrassing, as, taken on its own, it certainly looked like a grammatical mistake. However, it was the only such mistake in a 3,700 word chapter, so I think that sort of thing isn't going to impact too severely ...as long as it doesn't happen in the first couple of sentences!

    @PGWhyte - are you looking for proofreading or actual 'editing?'
     
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  14. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @jannert Ya know, I am quite confused on the whole editor thing myself.
    I saw a thing late last year about an editor being paid by the word, and then
    just a few moments ago reading something else more akin to what you have
    described them to be. So I do not really know. It seems if an editor were to be
    paid by the word that they would fix all the little mistakes along the way.
    So why would one pay by the word for a lessor thing like scrutiny and
    all the rest of the story? Or is the editor paid a set fee of some absurd
    amount to read, scrutinize, and chop up a story?

    I always thought that it was the editors job to proofread and edit
    any and all mistakes. Would definitely make sense considering the
    coinage shelled out for one, would it not?
     
  15. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    A good editor will do it all, suggestions to improve the overall story, find problems with the structure, point you in the right direction for revision as well as proofreading. Some editors charge a flat rate and some charge by the hour. When I hired an editor, I couldn't afford her flat rate. She broke it down to how much she would charge me an hour and where I wanted her to focus her efforts. She was an editor at a publishing house before leaving to teach. She also had worked for a well-known agent years ago before that. She knew so much about the whole publishing industry and offered to pass my work onto her contacts when I was ready. Because we didn't live that far away, we met twice in person. The first time was to talk about what I wanted her to do for me and what my expectations were for the book. I believe I had to show her a sample chapter before she agreed to work with me. And then we met again after she had done the editing. I found the in-person meetings to be a quite valuable part of the process. I do think it's important to put some work into looking for the right editor to hire before hiring one. A bad editor is worse than no editor. I think someone else here said that as well, but it is so true.
     
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  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Editing usually comes in several passes. Ideally you have different people for different phases so there are fresh eyes to catch new mistakes.

    There are some confusing terminology overlaps, but in general, when I work with editors who work for publishers...

    It starts with developmental/content editing. The big stuff ("I think we need another scene here to do X" and "This doesn't feel consistent with what happened in Chapter 5") plus maybe some smaller stuff ("You're using a lot of tags that aren't necessary. Some might be there for rhythm, but others seem to do nothing. Take a look at them"). There are usually several back-and-forths with the editor tidying this stuff up.

    Then, often with a different person, line edits, which focus on continuity ("he was driving a Ford before, now a Toyota") and word choice and SPAG. Often a few back-and-forths with this stage, too.

    Then, again hopefully with a different person, copy edits, trying to catch the typos and little glitches that slipped through.

    Then, once the book is formatted and apparently ready, a proofreader (or, hopefully, several) to catch anything extra.

    As @jannert suggested, mistakes can get missed when changes come later in the process (going back to change something that's already been reviewed) or, as I suspect was the case with this current story, when some or all of the stages are skipped because the author is self-publishing and doesn't want to pay for thorough editing.
     
  17. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    From what I've gathered here and other places online, editors are an overpriced scam. I'm diligent enough not to need a proofreader, and I trust my betas enough to help me with the rest. I certainly wouldn't pay one. Especially since it isn't a prerequisite to finding a publisher.
     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I disagree - I think a good editor does a really important job. That said, if you're looking for a publisher anyway, there's no real reason for you to be the one paying for their services.
     
  19. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Ive been searching reedsy.com and found 2 editors i like, but the price at this stage has put me off. I understand they do good work. You can actually see what they have worked on. I just cant afford it right now. I'm going to attempt editing my novella and start my actual book. Maybe in a years time i can look into an editor again, this time with funds available.

    Thanks everyone for your input, greatly apreciated by a novice like myself.

    Phil
     
  20. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    I should have clarified that I'm not talking about good editors--the kind of folks I imagine a legitimate publisher has at its disposal. Rather, I was trying to express that my impression after reading some of the posts here and elsewhere is that there are a lot of folks purporting to be professional editors who perform a poor service, often to suckers. In fact, I recall a post of yours (at least, I think it was yours) in which you described vetting a recommended editor's work and were thoroughly unimpressed.
     
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  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, yeah, there's no real qualification system before one can call oneself an "editor", so there are definitely a lot of people using the title without any credentials or skill.
     
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  22. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I engaged an editor for mine, and have been very happy. She charges by the page, but the tab for my 800 page tome was WAY less than the $10K someone quoted above. I would not pay that price, and @deadrats, if you expect a $50K advance as a first time author, please let me know ASAP who your publisher is, I want to submit to them also. And she provides for that price, pre-publication support in the way of query letters, agent recommendations, etc. As to @jannert 's comment, you need to make sure what you are buying before you pay... I would not pay my editor's price for simple proof-reading, as I and my wife can do that. She highlighted some story line and character arc things I hadn't considered (as did @jannert )
    1. Get recommendations from other published authors who have engaged editors, for those to engage and those to avoid. If you don't know one, there are several on this site.
    2. See how many people the editor has helped, and how many got published.
    3. Make sure the editor is familiar with your particular genre. Don't hire an editor for fantasy who does not like fantasy!

    In short, you are going to lay out some bucks, so treat it as you would any major expenditure: caveat emptor, and get it in writing. You might also wish to make a deposit, then pay in full on completion, just like you would for a contractor, if you and the editor can work it out. In my case, Hildie did an edit of the first 50 pages plus remaining chapter synopses for $150 , deductible from the full edit if I engaged her (I did). That protects both: she knew what sort of shape my work was in, and I got a feel for her literary insights. Granted, I had to write chapter synopses, but some agents have since requested those, so it was not wasted effort.

    As to typos, I am amused that on rev 6, I am still finding them, the particularly hard to spot ones like repeated short words "to to" and in one case, an omitted "not", all of which the eye glides right over.
     
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  23. writingone
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    writingone Member

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    I am heavy on editing and certiqing. That to is how I learn plus ask questions if a reader doesn't understand what I meant. I love to write and structure the sentences to be understood without question. Come heck or high water I will stay on the subject or title as long as I can and before I start to rattle away from the subject. To me the subject is the main piece in the writing, but I have ventured off the title and just rattled away. I have seen where the reader has not understood what I meant with this word are sentence are understanding on what I wrote about.

    I wish I could create in each sentence, words which interest the reader but that alone could distract the reader away from the paragraph or subject. I tend to general write because I might overthink to creative writing. How do I know what the reader is interested in, but I am a opinionated questioner and that helps me direct my understanding to there point of understanding. The word perfect comes to mind and haunts me sometime. My thoughts plus God helps me to write and find the right words to use because of my dementia and I had a problem with that sentence for a while. writing one
     
  24. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Again, can you please stop writing your posts in all bold? As you can see, no one else is doing that.
     
  25. writingone
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    I will attempt it. writer one.
     

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