1. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    Now The Fear Begins; When To find An Editor

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Gloria Sythe, Apr 16, 2015.

    After a half dozen editings and changing every paragraph, sentence and word I can see that could be improved, how does one get over the fear of sending the manuscript to an editor for professional editing. For some reason, I have a fear that my work is so bad that an editor's suggestions would be greater in length than my 190,000 word novel. How does one know when a manuscript is good enough to spend some hard earned money on an editor? Or should I ask, how does one get over the fear of sending one's work to a professional editor. It would literally crush me to have an editor tell me that my many, many hours of work is still not even good enough to be edited.

    Gloria
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you planning to self-publish?

    Otherwise, a professional editor is purely optional, and honestly, unless you're sure you've got a good one, probably inadvisable.

    If you ARE planning to self-pub... have you sent your MS to any beta readers yet? They can be a good way to figure out if you're close to ready.

    (Note: 190K is REALLY long. So, A) it's going to cost a fortune to get edited; and B) it's going to be hard to find a publisher for it. Any way to cut it back pretty drastically?)
     
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  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It depends on if the editor you speak of is the first person you will be getting feedback from on the story.

    I think of an editor as someone to do the final tuneup on grammar, tense, sentence structure, punctuation and so on.

    It sounds like you need a beta reader or a critique group like @BayView suggests.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like you're assuming that an editor, one that you pay for, is a normal part of the process. It's not a normal part of the traditional publishing process. It's probably not a good idea for self-publishing either, because a good editor is likely to cost you more than you'll profit on the book.

    Can you give any more detail on your reason for wanting to hire an editor?
     
  5. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    *******************************************************

    I am not much of a fan on self publishing at this point in time. I have read too many e-books that could, or probably has, ruin a beginner writer's career. I am young, twenty-two years old and perfectly willing to go through the mill to hone my work. I am a school teacher by profession so my pride is playing a big role in my life right now.

    The cost of an editor? My father, who is an amature writer, and I sat down and discussed the long goal of my writing. Most professional writers are in their 30's so, I am willing to take the serious road, pay for a professional opinion to see where I am at in my writing skills. I am more afraid of a complete rejection of my writing ability than anything else or, so my dad thinks.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that you my be misunderstanding the purpose of a hired editor. It's not a paid editor's job to judge, accept, or reject, your writing, it's his job to fix it, whether it's good or bad. I don't think that there is any well-established, reliable path for getting someone to judge your writing--aside from, of course, submitting it to agents, magazines, and other publishing venues that would pay you, not the other way around. But those people aren't going to give you detailed feedback.

    You could try to find a critique group and, of course, submit pieces to the Review Room here. I realize that you can't submit a 190,000 word novel, but you could write some separate short pieces to see if there are issues with your writing in general.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    :confused:

    I thought we all needed a professional editor at some point in the process. Publishers have their own that they use, I think. And I agree, if you don't know if the self-published book will sell, certainly you should consider that before paying a professional editor.

    But other than that I would think it was a good idea.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So has he read your work?
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's why I said "one that you pay for". In the traditional publishing process, the publisher pays for the editor.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Oh, I see.
     
  11. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    He has read the story and thinks it's great; however, his command of grammar needs work. He loves to write but is not equipped to critique another's work.

    I just feel that I have reached the point where I need/want to find out what level my writing is at right now. The mechanical process of writing plays just as much of a role in a good novel as does professional level grammar.

    Thanks people, your posts have been a great resource to this point. I can assure you that I read them all and take them seriously.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm pretty sure that, again, is not what a paid-by-the-writer editor does.

    Imagine, for example, that you take in your car to be washed and detailed. That's not something that you do to find out whether you have a nice car. The person doing the work doesn't care if you have a nice car. Their job is to make the car you have look as nice as possible. But they're not going to teach you how they did that, they're just going to do it.

    It sounds like what you want is a teacher, a crit group, some beta readers, or something else that is about improving your writing ability. Hiring an editor is not about improving your writing ability, it's about improving the quality of a specific piece of writing. And a 190,000 word manuscript is a pretty big piece of writing to hire someone else to finish for you.

    Just to help make you wary, I just found a page of editing scams gathered by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America:

    http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/cases/

    Edited to add: Ah. Tucked in on that page is a link to a page of "Editors and Assessment Services" (http://www.sfwa.org/other resources/for-authors/writer-beware/editors/) with information about "what editors do". It appears that I may, if the page is to be trusted, be wrong that paid editors don't do assessments. It still strikes me as a mistake to START with the most expensive possible option, and the page seems to agree.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I think the car detailing is a good analogy, @ChickenFreak.
     
  14. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Gloria, you're a teacher by trade.

    Your father is an amateur writer.

    That gives you two more resources than many beginning writers.

    Your education should mean that your grammar will be good enough.

    Your father's experience should mean that you've got a (low-level) beta reader. I say low-level because he'll probably find it difficult to give the tough critique to his little girl - I know I would!

    As has been pointed out, 190k is one helluva lump of book. To be able to publish that, EVERY word had better be good. If you could trim it to half the size it would stand more chance of getting published - and would probably improve it no end!

    As has also been suggested, we on this forum will happily give a critique to a short piece, to give you an idea whether there are any major, got-to-get-that-fixed, issues with your writing in general. If you've got a short story idea banging around in your head, let it out. Or take one of the recent competition threads as an inspiration.

    Also, becoming a "professional" writer is a bit of a lottery. We've got published authors on this site (read interview with Kate Sherwood) but I doubt that any would claim to be "professional" in the sense that they don't have a day job. If you have a hobby that you love AND that pays some bills, win-win!
     
  15. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    **********************************************************************

    The 190,000 words was not all that difficult to put on paper. I have read hundreds of books that were about the same length, with many being longer If I was to send the manuscript to a professional writing editor, I would of course work out how he/she would want to do the editing. The manuscript is on a CD plus a memory stick. The editor could read the entire manuscript or portions.

    Yes being a school teacher does give me - a bit - of an advantage with grammar; however, writing for publication is another profession altogether. I think it was A J Pruitt, a professional writer and a member in of this forum, who stated that many of the big name writers have professional writers who write their books for them. I do know that John Grisham has full time writers turning out his manuscripts. He supplies the material and story line.

    Thank-you all for the wonderful feed back. You have been a tremendous help and inspiration for a beginner.
     
  16. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi again Gloria, you seem to have misunderstood my points.

    My comment about it being a lump was not praise for your having written so much, but a caution against trying to get it published at a length that isn't popular with publishers, and possibly in a form that includes a LOT of superfluous material.

    Really? I'm very sceptical and would like to know where you get that from.

    After all, why would a "professional" writer take "a story line" from an unknown and turn it into a best-seller for the unknown author? It would make more sense to steal the story line (there's no copyright in ideas) and just write it better. And, being a professional writer, he'd be more likely to have contacts within the publishing world to send it to.


    In summary, edit the hell out of your manuscript until YOU are as happy as you can be. I'd also add some advice that @jannert has given - leave it for five years (if you can!) so that you come to it with the fresh eyes of a reader, rather than looking at something you wrote ten minutes ago and know intimately.

    At some point - probably to fill in the five year wait - get some beta-readers to read through and give some feedback. They're not editing it, just telling you what they (honestly) think. Basically, would they buy it, and if not why not. You don't HAVE to change a thing. But if a hundred betas tell you that the middle 50,00o0 words is just tedious padding, that probably means you'll never get it published in that form.

    Incidentally, while writing the above, I initially wrote "the middle 50,00o0 words is just padding and tedious". Have you applied even that level of editing to your MS?

    Then submit to a publisher, and be prepared for multiple rejections. Most best-selling authors have experienced that. The only exception I'm aware of is Jeffrey Archer, and his social circle included somebody in publishing which gave him a leg up.

    Good luck, keep writing, and try to work up the courage to put it to the test.
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're talking about developmental editing, it sounds like, and the standard expectation for that is that an editor will be able to go through 1-5 pages an hour. (http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php). If you want an editor who's got the skills to make your MS better instead of work, you need to pay a pro, so budget about $40 an hour.

    190K is 760 MS pages. At 5 pages an hour, that's 152 hours, and at $40 an hour, that will cost you $6 080.

    An editor can't really tell if you're writing at a publishable quality by reading a portion of your novel, because she wouldn't be able to gauge pacing, plot structure, etc. (she wouldn't be able to point out if you've got a bloated middle, for example!). So to get a real picture of where you're at, you'd have to pay the full $6K.

    Or you could join a critique group or find some beta readers for free.

    A paid editor is a last step, not a first one. And I know it feels like you're near the end, but if the only people who've looked at your book are you and your dad, you probably aren't.
     
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  18. A.J. Pruitt
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    A.J. Pruitt Member

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    Gloria, I have followed your thread with considerable interests and must question some of the advice offered. The most common comments that seem to prevail from reply to reply is the length of your manuscript. I agree that 190,000 words would be a daunting number for many new writers. In fact, I know published authors who have difficulty with getting 150,000 words on paper. Some authors could easily bang out a manuscript with 300,000 words and then some.

    What you have failed to mention is the genre of your manuscript. A YA novel ranges from 40,000 words to 60,000 words. A western and romance novels are typically 90,000 to 105,000 words. Mysteries are loosely governed but can be anywhere from 125,000 words to 160,000 words. Now we move into the large word volume manuscripts like yours. I have read many, works that are near 300,000 words and could have been longer. Genre plays a major role with this type of novel.

    If your father does not have a good command of written grammar but is an avid reader, he would know instinctively if your story is difficult to follow or is not coherent. Any avid reader, even one who has poor grammatical skills, can still tell you if your story line is not easy to follow or is full of fluff. The more educated audience will be able to give you detailed feedback on your grammatical essence throughout your manuscript. As a couple of posters have commented on this thread, flow and story structure are critical to any manuscript. I completely agree with this.

    In conclusion, can you tell what genre your manuscript follows? It would go a long way in being able to offer constructive advice.


    AJP
     
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  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This sounds like dumbing down YA to the reader. I would think those numbers refer to the 11 to 14-ish market? :confused:

    I found this link to be useful: Word Count for Novels and Children’s Books: The Definitive Post, not that is actually is definitive.;)
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Getting back to the OP, I finished another edit of chapter one and two of my WIP in preparation of reading it for my YA writing class. I'm excited to share it with yet another group to get their feedback.
     
  21. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    Thank-you for the comment Mr. Pruitt. My story is a trilogy based on a true story of the break up of a wealthy European family because of WWI. The story covers four continents and five countries as the family spread out around the world. I have fictionalized the story for legal reasons.

    Gloria
     
  22. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    So is the 190K the first book in the trilogy, or is the whole trilogy 190K words long?
     
  23. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    The trilogy is all in one volume. I questioned a trilogy in one volume myself until someone enlightened me to Travis P Webster's "The End Times" and Ken Follett's, "Fall Of Giants". After reading the books of these authors, I knew that if the story was well written, it is possible to find a publisher for the work. There are several more single volume trilogies on the market that would never be cohesive unless the story was grouped into a single volume.

    As I said previously, the book is based on a true story. I know two of the descendants of the family and have met an elderly couple of the family. Some of the family still communicate at arms length because of a seemingly elusive wealth that is still exists within the family.

    Gloria
     
  24. Mckk
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    I echo what the others have said - seems to me you're really looking for a tutor or a critique group. Editors are generally paid to improve and polish up a specific piece of work, and they're damn pricey. I wouldn't invest in an editor unless it was a piece you think you're ready to publish.

    I don't understand the concept of the one volume trilogy.

    You're right of course that as long as the story and writing quality is good, eventually someone will take it. However, you're a debut author, not Stephen King. What I mean is, if the length and structure of your book falls outside of the market's norm, agents and publishers are far less likely to take a risk with you than someone else who's established with a readership. That's not to say at all that you cannot or should not try to publish your 190k-word MS - always do what's best for the book - but it is something to keep in mind if you're hoping for traditional publishing. The agent and publisher don't care who you are or how much work you've put in or how precious the book is to you - they just care that it sells and it's what their market wants.

    As for when you're ready for an editor - I'd say when you've actually shown it to other people and got feedback and done multiple edits based on that feedback, get everything polished up again, and then it might be a good idea to hire an editor. But it sounds like you've never really shown your work to anyone at all other than your dad. I'd say that's probably the first thing to change.

    Your story - and your writing - can't be so precious to you that you're afraid of showing it to other people. Unless, of course, you weren't planning on publishing, but you've already said you wanna get published one day. So... time to get out of your comfort zone - but start with the freebie options of beta readers and critique group. Don't waste money on an editor just yet - they're pricey and if you're not experienced to know who's good, what they're meant for, when to take advice and when not to (yes, there are occasions when you should ignore advice), then it could just burn a massive hole in your wallet without having helped you at all. Worse is if in your inexperience you find yourself a sub-par editor or one who's not really qualified to do the job you've hired them to do. I did that. Lesson learnt. Be very, very careful with these things.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I have a question about editors, a little bit off-topic so forgive me. I'm looking at the pitch sessions at the upcoming PNWA conference and there are editors and agents. But no publishers.

    The sessions look like this:
    BLOCK A 7/17/15 @ 2pm
    agents
    • Margaret Bail
    • Noah Ballard
    • Amy Cloughley
    • Shannon Hassan
    • Mary C. Moore
    • Monica Odam
    • Rita Rosenkranz
    • Gordon Warnock
    • Roseanne Wells
    • Jennifer Weltz
    • Terrie Wolf
    • Andrew Zack
    • Katie Zaun
    editors
    • Peter Field
    • Sheila Gilbert
    • Brit Hvide
    • Jennifer Letwack
    • Anna Michels
    • Adam Wilson
    The agents, no problem, I get what they do.

    But I looked up some of the editors and some work for big publishing houses. For example, Brit Hvide is an assistant editor at Simon and Schuster.
    http://imprints.simonandschuster.biz/simonandschuster/ourteam

    Her literary interests are listed as:
    I assume editors like Brit Hvide are the person you actually pitch the book to if you'd be so lucky as to get that level of publisher interested. But the fact they are listed as editors rather than a publisher's rep has me very confused.

    Any comments?

    On another note:
    I was also watching another editors panel on CSPAN's Book TV last weekend and there was an agent on the panel that described how the book would be pitched to her, she would work with the author sometimes requesting changes. After about a year (because the changes went back and forth and took months) the book including the cover would be ready and the agent would then begin shopping the book to publishers.

    So that suggests there is an intense editing process involved.
     

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