1. Writer123
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    Writer123 New Member

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    Edit service

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Writer123, Jan 20, 2012.

    Hi, I am new to the forum and would like some advice on editing services. I have completed my first novel and am beginning to approach literary agents. I am keen to have someone look at my submission before I send it off and have recently been in touch with the Writers Workshop, who offer an editing service for £95 - of a query letter, synopsis and first 5,000 words. I am interested to know if anyone has had any experience of these sorts of services, and whether it is advisable to use them? Many thanks.
     
  2. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    This probably isn't that helpful to you, but as far as I know agents and publishers tend to expect authors to do their own editing these days. Personally, I wouldn't pay for editing before I sent it to an agent, that could be a terrible waste of money if you're not accepted.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As a writer, you really must trust your own ability to edit. The final editing of a piece reflects the author's voice and style. It isn't something you can foist off on a stranger.

    Established writers with multi-book contracts find and hire editors to help polish the final draft and save some time. But first they must try out several editors to find one who understands and will preserve their style. A mystery author I know let an editor go after several novels because the fit was not quite right. It took her a couple years to find another editor she was comfortable enough with.

    Of course, she didn't make use of a paid editor for her first novels. She did it all herself. Until she could do her own editing, with confidence, she was not ready to trust the task to someone else.

    There's no short cut to becoming a writer. The effort required to master language is not wasted. It will manifest in improved quality of your overall writing, and the confidence to stand by your choices.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If it's already at a publishable standard (which would be the only reason to approach an agent), then do the editing yourself. You don't need to pay for advice if that's all you want.

    I'm personally paying for an editor, however, because I realised I needed someone to look at my work, who knew how to write, and unfortunately it has not been my great fortune to meet many writers in my life at all (either they don't write, they're over-protective of their work, or they're actually bad writers) - only recently have I met 2 writers of good quality, and only one of them has any time. So for that reason I took an editor - but this editor has contacts with agents and part of the service is he's gonna recommend me to different agents and basically help me find one. But it turns out it's not really the writing that needs editing - he's been pointing out problems with foreshadowing, confusion in meanings and flow of plot, things that are out of character or out of place, how everything unfolds - those kinda problems. He's never tried to tell me how to write, or whether a plot point was "bad" unless it is illogical, and from time to time, when asked, given me some advice on the book market, what sort of story sells in his experience - but this usually only comes out when I've put forward a good idea and he's actually trying to encourage me. I've found it helpful, personally. And because he has contacts and will give me recommendations, I feel like I actually might get published - now whether that's true or not, time will tell, but it's given me enough motivation to always keep going. I've started from scratch 3 times now (I ditched a 230-paged draft) and just the belief and hope that I actually might get published thanks to this guy is keeping me on the project. I think that alone is valuable - the little bit of faith in yourself.

    PS. Before anyone tells me, of course I know my writing and story must be actually of high quality in order for me to be published, and contacts alone is nothing. But again here's where I've found an editor's voice helpful - he tells me I'm good at it, and when it comes from an experienced editor, it sounds more believable than if your friends and family tell you. For a first-time novelist - this is my first novel I've ever worked on - I personally needed it.

    But all this stemmed from the fact that I did not believe my story of was a publishable standard and was in the middle of working out a draft, and I realised my need for an experienced eye to go over it and frankly, within my friendship group, I've found no one who could help. Which left me with: hiring an editor. See it this way, I basically realised I needed creative writing classes or training of some sort to help me. And what's the difference with paying to go into a creative writing course/workshop etc and paying for an editor to help you with your novel?
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    mckk...
    how much is it costing you to get all this advice and help?... do you realize and not mind that it's most likely money down the drain, since even with all that, the odds are heavily against your book ever being published unless you go the vanity/self route?

    123...
    listen to cog!... he wrote everything i would have...
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with everyone who said that self-edting is the way to go. I think that everyone (publishers, agents) want to see almost a finished product, and even if re-writing is necessary later on, at least you made it perfectly presentable.
    The book "Self Editing for Fiction Writers" might help with that, it really is quite useful.
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I would personally never pay for an editing service. I consider editing part and parcel of being a writer. If I can't do a good job editing myself, what good am I? And also if I don't edit my own work and find my mistakes, I won't be able to avoid them in future.
     
  8. Party Poison
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    Party Poison Member

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    Well, if you have the money, go ahead, if not don't get involved with editors, I guess.
     
  9. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    There are many people preying on beginning writers. Perhaps you could check out the editor on Preditors&Editors?
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not only 'perhaps you could' but you definitely should!...
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Banzai. By finding the mistakes you learn things and probably avoid making them again the next time.
     
  12. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    I will play Devil's Advocate here... The problem in this line of thinking is making the misguided asumption that an amatuer writer is going to know what constitutes a mistake and what doesn't. They'll catch the simple things -- grammar, puntctuation, etc. -- but will likely have trouble pin-pointing things like story structure, plot, or pacing problems. Speaking for myself, I know I'm going to be concerned with being able to notice those when it comes time for me to edit my novel.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are those things really the editors problem? I admit I don't know exactly what word corrisponds to "editor" in my language, but I thought they were the ones pointing out errors in S,P and G and maybe stuff like clarity. Not fundamental things like plot or structure. Maybe it works differently here compared to in the englishspeaking world, because here it seems like you won't get any help for those things until you've had your ms accepted by a publisher and they assign someone to work with it UNLESS you do like many people here and hire a kind of "reader", they are something between an editor and a writing coach, I guess and point out things like that (and take incredible fees for doing so) but then different ones can have different opinions of what to fix of course, so you really have to know if what they say is valid or just personal preference. So I guess that is what comes closest, then. I think I was just confused because sometimes when translating stuff like professions and titles from a language you think it means something because of the similarity to another, existing and relating word. :) I still think it's good for a writer to learn enough to realize those things for themselves, to learn to look more objectively at their work, and then making the necessary changes in order to improve it. I mean, it's YOUR work in the end, and I think learning those things is an important step towards having the ms accepted.
     
  14. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Absolutely. I agree 100%.
     
  15. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Surely an author cannot be expected to write a 100,000 word manuscript with no typos or grammar errors. As outstanding as word processors are a few mistakes are bound to get through in every chapter. I don't know how authors in the typewriter era did it. They had a lot of willpower and talent.
     
  16. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    The problem with self-editing is that you know what is supposed to be written, so you will read over the typos. However, you don't need an editor for that. I have several bèta readers, some who simply enjoy reading my work, others who are also writers and read my work on an exchange basis - I read and crit their MS and they do mine. That way, my work is read by several eyes, all with particular attitudes and specialties. Typos get pick up along the way, but to me, the most important part is the emotional response to my scenes, because that gives me an indication if I'm on the mark or not.

    Beginning authors will learn more from exchanging their MS with other writers than from paying an editor to go over their work. Critting someone else's writing will help you find the flaws in your own work and get you attuned to the editing process.
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You'll find typos and grammar errors in any novel you pick up. However, they should be few and far between (other than deliberate ones).

    What is expected, however, is that an author know the language well enough to do his or her own proofreading and editing. The author is expected to deliver a more or less clean manuscript for submission, but no one expects absolute perfection. Furthermore, paying an editor won't create perfection either. It's wasted money.

    Now if your command of the language is poorer than it should be, you might consider a writing tutor. A tutor will not just correct your mistakes. He or she will point out what mistakes you make repeatedly, and explain what you need to study to improve your craft.
     
  18. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Maybe instead of editor, maybe all you need is a proof reader?
    Someone to point out the mistakes, that we don't notice or don't even know is wrong?

    Also hanging around the forums will help you to figure out you have a similar problem to someone else.
    Providing a sample of your writing for people to evaluate. It doesn't have to be the epic multimillion dollar novel we all believe we have in us,
    but a simple short story, maybe even just a scene from the future blockbuster.
    The forums are cheaper, I believe you learn more from others, and you get suggestions on improving the story.

    I also have heard if you can find a writers group, they can help. But also they said "general writers" groups aren't as good as Genre specific groups.
    There is no writer group near my home, the closest is 45 minutes away and is a "general" writer's group, all genres. Having people in the group read your submission helps better then someone sitting at a computer somewhere in the world can. Direct communication between people is easier then email or forum submissions. Because you can ask question right away, and understand what they are saying rather then trying to figure it out over a series of posts.

    Thanks for the question, I was considering finding an editor. What I really need is a proof reader.
     
  19. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to second jazzabel (and everyone who said edit yourself). The book she linked to is one of the top 3 most important books I've ever read. If you are serious about getting published, you do yourself a great disservice if you don't read it.
     
  20. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree writers should be able to edit etc etc.

    But having someone else read your work as well, as has been suggested, isn't a bad idea. It gives you more scope.
     

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