1. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    Editing... concerning

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by RIPPA MATE, Jan 22, 2008.

    A few questions concerning editing...

    one) I have a first draft finished and done, should i now go and secure an agent or should it be polished up and final copy done. The thing is i don't want to pay for the editor and then end up not getting an agent anyway...

    two) Do the publishers edit you manuscript once they have it secured, as in grammer etc?

    suggestion + comments would be appreciated

    RM
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I've not published anything, so you can take all I say with a grain of salt. But I have listened to those who have, and this is what I get out of it:

    Your work should be as polished as you can make it before you try to submit it. There's no point in searching for an agent before that point, either. If the spelling, punctuation, and grammar aren't predominantly clean, it's not ready for marketing.

    No one buys "fixer-uppers" in the writing world.

    Publishers are likely to change small but highly visible things like the title, because they are in the advertising business. They want a product they can sell. Don't expect them to go in and edit the writing for you. It's much less work to fill in a rejection form letter and send that to you.

    Remember, you are competing with a legion of other unknown would-be writers. Those that put in the extra work to deliver a clean and shiny product will win out.

    An editor is an expensive option. Save it for when you are an established writer, and can afford to pay for it out of your writing income. At that point, you are probably putting most of your effort into meeting deadlines, but even then, selecting an editor you can trust to make only the necessary and correct changes for your work is not a small undertaking.

    If any published authors wish to correct me on any of these points, I welcome the opportunity to learn better.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    RM,

    I am not sure you're going to enjoy all that I have to suggest.

    A first draft, while a big hill to climb, means that it will have to be gone through at least twice more to work out any plot inconsistencies, improve wording/dialogue, pacing, etc. You would also want readers to go through it...and if they're attentive and sharp, you'll have more to fix.

    All of this takes time.

    True, it takes a while to secure an agent (or a publisher) and most don't request full manuscripts...some only want a query letter...others want first three chapters and a synopsis...or others want a cover letter and first ten pages... If you want to go that route, you could be sure the first three chapters are very clean and begin sending that off. But in essence, you do not have a completed manuscript, far from it, and that fact could very well come back to bite you.

    Paying for an editor is a very expensive process. And you're in a catch 22, if you feel you have to pay an editor to get your manuscript up to acceptable quality for an agent to accept, but you don't want to pay to get it to acceptable quality unless you already have an agent lined up. Plus, the editorial process (finding an editor what is up to the job and within your price range, and one you can work with, checking references, etc. will take time as well).

    The best option would be to get the manuscript into quality condition without paying an editor to do it and not to begin submissions until you have it in top condition. (While it's out making the rounds...you can be working on your next project/novel).

    As to the second question, editors at publishing houses do edit. But it is more along the lines of minor cleanup and clarifications rather than a wholesale massive grammar, punctuation, plot hole-filling endeavor. Yes, good houses have copy editors too, in addition to editors.

    The problem/concern is that agents and publishers (that accept unsolicited manuscripts) receive far far far more submissions than they could ever hope to represent or fit into their publishing schedule. They can be picky...and a manuscript that is in need of major editing will be passed over, even if the story idea is phenominal, because there are plenty of great story lines out there submitted with cleaner, more managable manuscripts from the start of the process.

    There are some rare agents and editors out there that may see a gem in the rough, and may take the time to guide and edit, and do what it takes to bring a manuscript up to standard, but I wouldn't count on it.

    Look at it from an agent's or editor's perspective. They'd be investing a lot of time and effort on a project, with an unknown writer, who in the end may not be able (or in some cases willing) to bring a manuscript into proper condition. The whole time 'better quality' manuscripts sit idle or are passed over, and other known clients get less time or contacts made to sell/negotiate (for an agent) and less time can be spent on other projects, or they are delayed for editors. There are only so many hours in a day/week/year.


    Just one opinion.

    Terry
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    both cog and terry have said it all for me!... listen up and take it as gospel...

    if you want a neutral opinion of whether your ms is ready to be submitted, you can send me the synopsis and first chapter and i'll let you know what needs fixing first... that said, i seriously doubt that your first draft can be...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  5. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    Those things being said i think i'll go and polish it up...

    Thanks for you comments guys,

    @mammamaia: i'm pretty sure its not ready to be submitted yet...

    RM
     

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