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Novel writers - do you use editing services prior to submission?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Steerpike, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    While that's true--it is only up to a point. In my experience, the better written, engaging, and even edited a work is, the better chance it has of making it out of the slush pile.
     
  2. zizban

    zizban Troubadour

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    I never said editing before you submit was a bad idea. I said paying for editing services before you submit is a bad idea, but hey each to their own.
     
  3. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    A forum like this would be a good place to look. Your friends, your family, writer group buddies...
     
  4. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    Yeah, those paid editors are called "employees." :)

    I would give you a cautious yes. But ONLY if you can find one with good references. Anyone can claim to be an editor, but not everyone can actually DO the job. I've heard lots of sob stories from folks who thought their work was good to go, then found out their "editor" didn't do much more than a cursory job.
     
  5. I definitely plan to be careful, but I don't think I'd be coming at it from the perspective of someone who thinks what editors do is magic. I've already gotten some feedback from a couple of the fine folks here on MS. If I can't find an editor who seems reputable (what I would mostly look for is a list of published books they've edited) and within my budget, then I'd probably just go without and publish the book once I'm confident that I've reached the point of diminishing returns on trying to improve it. (Perfect is the enemy of good.)
     
  6. zizban

    zizban Troubadour

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    If you want an editorial reference, shoot me a PM. My editor at Booktrope is also a freelance editor. Not sure her costs since Booktrope footed the bill.
     
  7. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    I've seen agents and other industry-related personalities reference professional editing enough to think that it could be more or less normal to pay for editing services. However, I don't think I'll be doing it at first. I'll choose to have myself and a couple grammar Nazi friends go through the work carefully, but paying for professional editing certainly isn't on the immediate horizon.
     
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Well, a good editor isn't really looking at grammar. They're looking at content and flow and scene construction and the like. Working with one for even a short period can really help you get a better grasp on some of those elements.
     
  9. Neurosis

    Neurosis Minstrel

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    Well my dad was a professional editor, has half a dozen published books, and works editing for a news-paper... So... Yes?
     
  10. Yar. I want an editor to help with content, not form. Not to toot my own horn but form isn't really something I need to worry about.

    And not so much "help" with content, but to give a fresh perspective. Authors are too close to their own works to be able to judge them anything like objectively. I could simply finish the novel, set it aside for a few months, and then come at it again with (somewhat) fresh eyes, but I'm too impatient for that. :)
     
  11. writeshiek33

    writeshiek33 Sage

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    i am using editor just for that purposes they looking at not only content but grammar and spelling and making sure the end of result is good quality
     
  12. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Heh. I tend to go the opposite direction: you may end up getting more input than you bargained for.

    And I repeat: my rates are very good. (My last customer insisted on paying more than my asking price, in fact; she felt I ought to be charging at least as much as I was getting paid in the tutoring center. I decided it would be poor form to argue with her.)

    A "good" editor will address both form and content at once–sometimes they're inextricable: a passage may be unclear due to the way you have it phrased, even if it's grammatically correct. Though you can certainly specify which you want greater attention given to, especially if you aren't interested in content advice. Believe me, you'll never catch all your own errors in a piece of any length… you already know what it's supposed to say, and your mind will play some amazing tricks on you to cause you to read it that way. Given what I've become accustomed to seeing in print these days, I'm not sure most publishers give proofreading more than cursory attention… often not even that.

    If you can find someone whose proofreading competence is reliable and who's willing to look at your work for free, by all means take advantage of it, and get your grammatical needs taken care of that way. As far as content goes, in most cases you'll do just as well with friends who are heavy readers as you will with an editor… assuming you have friends who will give you honest opinions. Which, I've discovered, can be difficult to find. That may be the biggest advantage to paying someone to look at your work: they have little or nothing to gain by being "polite."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  13. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    Now that's the kind of editing I like. :)

    I like to find acquaintences who don't really like me. I've found that they tend to be harsher critics - which means they'll find more than a friend might, and anything even mildly objectionable will be found.
     
  14. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    I like to bring a little bit of science into that sort of thing - I try to give the work to two distinct groups: good friends, and distant acquaintances. If the feedback I get from one group differs substantially from the other, I know that the friendship is probably getting in the way of them being honest with me (and thus, the piece isn't up to snuff). But if both groups like it, I'm more likely to trust that it's actually good.
     
  15. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    Good idea!
     
  16. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Acquaintances who don't really like you but are willing to give you feedback? I gotta get me some of those! ;)

    Yeah, the problem is when people tell you "This is really good!" and nothing else. I say "Okay: why is this good? What did you like about it?" Even if they're being honest–and I believe they are: I don't send my stuff to people who'll lie to me if they don't like it–telling me it's "good" doesn't really tell me anything. Sure, it tells me I didn't screw up royally, but it isn't much of a guide for future work. Criticism isn't synonymous with negativity: positive feedback is criticism, too… and it's just as important as negative feedback. In some ways, more so, since not doing anything wrong doesn't necessarily mean you're doing everything right, let alone that you couldn't be doing better.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  17. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Well at least now I know where to find some honest editors if I ever decide to try to publish something.:D
     
  18. writeshiek33

    writeshiek33 Sage

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  19. Shadoe

    Shadoe Sage

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    Yeah, they're called women... Oh! Or ex-husbands.

    true. I can get a lot of people to say my work is good, but it's pulling teeth to get them to elaborate.
     
  20. If you want, send me your work, and I'll tell you exactly how bad it is ;-)
     
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