1. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    To use or not to use a manuscript coach or editor?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by John Carlo, Nov 8, 2010.

    Hey all,
    Not that I'm at this stage yet, but I see a lot of advertisements in the back of writing magazines for "manuscript coach" and/or editor. Basically, people to look at your novel before you submit it--making sure it's as top-notch as can be. If the credentials are there and the price is right, it sounds like something I would want to do just so I can have a completely objective look at my work from someone who doesn't know me but knows their stuff. Any thoughts on whether or not this is a good idea. Why or why not?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you want to be a professional writer, you shouldn't need one!

    you can get feedback on the quality of your writing on sites like this one, so why pay a probable scam artist to do what we do for free?
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You'd be better off spending your money on a reputable writing course, with a good tutor to give you feedback--or make use of writer's groups or online forums like this one, as maia suggests!
     
  4. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure I agree completely. Every book needs editing eventually, so matter how good the writer.

    I'm not talking about scam artists, but good reputable copy editing can be a very useful learning tool in its own right.

    I certainly know I have learned a lot by reading the critiques and line-editing in my work, and implementing ways to make things better.
     
  5. Jones6192
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    Jones6192 Member

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    I used to be desperate to have everyone read my in-progress stories, so I could get feedback, but every time I did that, people pointed out various things they didn't like, and it just made me lose confidence and give up the story. So now I'm writing my stories without letting anyone see them until I've gotten far enough into it that I can't possibly back out.
     
  6. flanneryohello
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    flanneryohello Member

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    Seeking critique and feedback on finished stories is imperative for any writer. Editing is a reality of being published. Having said that, I'm not sure I'd respond to a "book doctor" ad in the back of a magazine. If you know a writer who can personally recommend an editor, I think that could be valuable. But there are other (cheaper) options available to you, if you want to improve your writing skills. Take a writing course. Join a critique group (either online or in person). Read a lot of books.

    I'd be careful about contacting random "manuscript coaches" because there are a lot of people out there who prey on the hopes and dreams of newbie authors. Editing (especially story editing and critique--not so much copy editing) can be a very subjective thing, and unless you've gotten a personal recommendation or feel comfortable that the editor in question is a good fit for your work, you're rolling the dice that what you're given will be worth what you're paying.

    Having said all this, when I signed my first contract with a publisher, I was assigned an editor whose specialty is taking new authors through in-depth story edits and critiques. The experience was the single best crash-course in writing I've ever had. So I don't think this concept is a bad one. I just think that potentially spending thousands of dollars for some random person who is unaffiliated with a publisher to make subjective comments about your book may not be the best use of your money.
     
  7. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, I guess it's a 'risk' in a way, especially when money is involved. I was talking about professional editors really, I don't even really know what these 'manuscript doctors' are. Not sure I want to know either...

    I second what you said about personal recommendation.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...but if you want to be a pro, you should be able to edit your own work and not have to pay someone else to do it for you, to make it good enough to submit...

    ...and there's little to no chance that the money you pay to a professional editor [the good ones are not cheap!] will ever be made back, since so few first books ever get published...
     
  9. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writers should self-edit, definitely. I did so 5-6 times. Still a new pair of eyes picked up things I didn't see, nothing too major (grammatically speaking), but rather stylistic suggestions, and one or two things 'that didn't make sense' or needed clarification.

    It shouldn't be a case of 'here you go, read this mess and turn it into something good.'

    As for the money, well yes... big chance of that happening. I see it a bit as a business investment, which may pay off. Or it may not.
     

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