Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday Night at the Question Emporium-lagniappe

I am in the process of trying to find representation for my light women's fiction manuscript. I sent 30 letters to agents who represent this genre and so far I have received 10 requests for either partials or fulls. 

To date, I've received rejections from six of the agents with no commentary. In fact, I believe all but one of the letters was form. This leads me to believe that while my concept and query letter might be strong, the manuscript itself is not. 

I am more than willing to dive back in to revise and edit, but without commentary on what isn't working in the novel, I'm not sure how to improve it. I worked hard at polishing it to the best of my ability before I started querying. 

Do you ever recommend that authors hire editors on their own at this stage? Or is that cheating?

It's not cheating at all. What it is is expensive and problematic.  Thus, it's not the first step.

The first step is finding the fiercest critique group you can. Have them read the book.  Listen to what they say.  If they love love love it, find another group.  If they just want to copy edit things, find another group.

One of the many benefits from attending a writers conference is connecting with other writers who are looking for just this kind of help.  Find a good conference and go. Reach out to other attendees and see if you can find writers interested in forming a crit group.

If you just want to bypass this step and go to an editor, be prepared to write a LARGE check.  Good editing is not free, nor should it be.

Make sure you pick an editor who knows his/her stuff in your genre.  Read the books they've edited. If you don't like them, find another editor.  If you don't like the editor or you don't connect well when you discuss your project, find another editor.

Choose wisely.  This is an investment.  Don't be penny wise and pound foolish by choosing an editor based solely on cost.

The only good side to a lot of good editors leaving their jobs (some not voluntarily) is there is now a large pool of very talented editors available to you.


Kari Lynn Dell said...

If I may chime in, I did this with my second book. It cost me about as much as going to two or three writing conferences but was worth ten times as much. For me the value was as much in learning what I did well as what I was doing wrong. As far as results...that was still a bottom drawer book, but the next one netted me an agent. Somebody you may know, in fact.

SundaySoup said...

Also, you might consider a novel revision workshop. That's what got me over the hump from "great voice" to landing an agent. Also, I met one of my critique members there. If you write YA (which you don't seem to), then Darcy Pattison's workshop can't be beat. But I'm sure there are others out there. These are not conferences, but small workshops designed for revision. RWA may be able to direct you.

Elissa M said...

RWA is a great group, even if your novel isn't strictly romance. They have all sorts of workshops and such.

Also, don't overlook online critique groups. There are some really good ones out there.

Lupo Word said...

I thank you all for your suggestions and have a couple of questions. Where do you find these editors? I have been in a very good critique group and have found two different children's writing workshops in California (one might be closed). But I want to find a good experienced editor too. I've had the experience of having it butchered, at great cost, so I need to connect with the editor first, and see their style. Where do I look?