Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Query Question: paid editors

 This Question comes on the heel of wasted money and confusion.  I am committed to writing the best books I can + to getting published.  I love words.  I love the world of words.  I read authors whose works inspire + teach me.  I have solid critique + beta partners.  On occasion, I'll take a class online or otherwise.  On those occasions, I'll look into the background of the instructors + editors to ensure there aren't any crackpots.  Here's the question + the rub.  Twice I have worked with paid editors and twice I have gotten either bum advice such as: you don't need to tell the ending in synopsis; or a critique that would have changed the body of my work so dramatically as to be a Dementor's Kiss.  Thinking an editor should be seeing the landscape, I worked with (some) of their recommendations only to find that, yes, the soul truly had been sucked out of the story on their (paid) advice.

Does this happen to author's with whom you've worked?  Does this happen frequently or is it only "paid" editors?  (Is there a difference) because I'm getting jaundiced on them as a whole.  (PS. I've since written the soul back into my work.) 

It doesn't happen with editors at publishing houses because if they want to suck the soul out of a manuscript, we have a conversation that involves changing editors or moving the book to a new publisher.  My job is to find an editor who actually likes the book, not one who wants to change it completely.

Outside/paid/independent editors are a whole different kettle of fishies.  I've had terrible luck with most, and great success with a very few.

How to find the latter and avoid the former? READ the books they've edited. 

Also, have a clear idea of what you want the editor to do. Do you need the plot strengthened, the dialogue improved? The pacing quickened? 

Often an editor can make suggestions about how to do those kinds of things without going through the entire manuscript page by page.

If you're looking for someone to read for plot holes or narrative arc, then you do need someone who will read the entire manuscript.

Good editors are not thick on the ground. Finding a good one is not easy. The REALLY good ones are booked up so far in advance, even their pals can't get a project on their desk (I'm looking at you Kristen Weber!)

I wish I had more to offer on this topic but it's an ongoing problem here too.


Anonymous said...

Good question and sound advice Janet.

To the OP, I read a lot online about the big mistakes people make when subbing to literary agents. The consensus seems to be that the number one rule broken (nut jobs aside) is not editing enough prior to submission. To cull the voice in my head that says "it's done already! Just send it," I created a list of the things I feel like need to be done before I can call my book done.

Slowly but surely, I've navigated that list and avoided stopping short on the next island with furry woodland creatures before reaching my destination.

Holding to these principles seems to me to be more important than anything else. If you feel you need a professional editor to get there, by all means find one. But it is entirely possible (with far more work) to get pretty close to the DAM visiting center with you and your bloody CP's and Betas. (They're bloody from cutting up your manuscript.)

Donnaeve said...

First off, I had no idea this was such a problem. (especially from inside the pub world, much less out here) It's likely due to my own circumstances - of which NOW I'll consider myself lucky, star crossed and somehow favored by a deity's interventions on my behalf.

So. I have a good story for the OP here.

With my very first book (and unbeknownst to me at the time, fatally flawed, mind you) I was on the hunt for an editor. This was in 2010. I looked at the acknowledgements of a few books that influenced me. One of them was Ellen Foster. I don't recall seeing the editor's name in there - maybe it was - either way, I do remember searching on Google, "editor for Ellen Foster." I landed on Ann Patty. Turns out, Ann Patty acquired THE LIFE OF PI. I contacted her. She agreed to work with me. After her first read (of which I learned of the fatal flaw) I asked her if she'd let me "fix" the book and send it to her again. She said she was booked up for months. My book was either THAT bad, or she really was THAT booked up. I prefer to think the latter. Either way, her price was a little hefty for me as well, and fortunately, she gave me the name of another editor and said she worked specifically with writers who were working on their first novels. And I trusted her advice, and contacted this new editor.

This was the best thing that ever happened to me. Not only did Caroline Upcher help me wrangle my first book into the story it was meant to be, she helped me with my agent search. She worked as a freelance editor for Harper Collins, and unfortunately has retired. I think she still takes on a few mss here and there, but she has turned back to her own writing. (she pub'ed several books as well before her editing days)

There are good editors out there, maybe far and few between. Like I said above, after reading Ms. Janet's comments, I realize now how fortunate I was, not only from my initial contact with Ann Patty, but that she pointed me to someone else viable, and with a lot of "street cred" in the biz.

I'd look at the acknowledgements area of books you read/are influenced by. See who they mention. See if they have a website and are open to freelance editing.

Simon Hay said...

I've paid 3 editors and believed they all did a great job and the experience improved my writing. I have another career and could afford to pay, so I was relaxed about the decision. All the editors I searched offered to edit the first chapter or a number of pages at a reduced price to see if we were a good fit, so the risk was reduced. I also followed writers and editors online for a couple of years before making my decision. Maybe you could do a post and invite your blog community to post a link to an editor they've had a good experience with. There's no guarantee that all the editors will be great, but you have a good community here.

Unknown said...

Like Donna, I must have had a deity intervene on my behalf. I met Mary Rosenblum through a writing course and she helped me immensely. Didn't want to change the book in its entirety but did point out when Mabel was being totally stupid. Which was kind of embarrassing.

Like Simon, because I had another job, I didn't mind paying the money.

What I plan on doing for book 2 is use beta readers I met through working with my local library to promote book one. I'm confident in what I learned from Mary (you can't have 'nodded' and 'looked' on every page) to get the book polished, so all I need are readers to tell me whether it's a good read or not. Hopefully.

Or, plan ultimate, which is where I land an agent (like they're a walleye) and he/she tells me it's a crock of crapola or a cornucopia of creativity.

Tony Clavelli said...

I'm confused. It's either really hard to find a good editor, or really easy (the last three comments --Donna, Simon, and Amanda--all found someone amazing, but then say it was super lucky). I'll assume really hard, but if all you are having success, it's not so impossible.

Through a recommendation in these comments I paid an editor at Chimera Editing to help with my query. I think they made it a lot better, though I still haven't had any positive responses. I want to pay for another look, maybe at the first chapter or two, make sure the beginning pages are as sharp as they can be, but if anyone knows how to find these good paid editors, I'd love to know about it.

So like Simon suggested, if someone knows someone who worked well for them and can share the contact, please post!

(sorry if my link failed again)

Tony Clavelli said...

Okay. No more failed links. 미안해요! ㅠㅠ

Colin Smith said...

I have no experience paying anyone to edit my work, though I have experience with very helpful beta readers, and I have read a few discussions on the topic. It seems to me, as with a lot of things in this business, word-of-mouth is key. There have already been some recommendations offered here.

That's about all I have on this topic, folks. At least I think so... we'll see... :)

Craig F said...

I have to refuse, thank you. It is not that I feel that I am so good that I don't need an editor. It is that I haven't a clue if the editor is a waste or next to god.

The type of series I have embarked upon is based on high concepts and pacing. Fast pacing. I don't want some extreme literary type messing up the subplots and the building thread of the bigger threat that is only mentioned once in the first manuscript.

Dialogue, to me, is appropriate to a situation. I want to keep it close to what would be expected in the real world.

I do realize that I am capable of misplacing more appropriate words and such. If a publisher says it needs edited they can foot the bill.

Donnaeve said...

And...yet another interesting twist. I went to Ms. Janet's link for Kristin Weber and scanned the books Kristin's worked on, and lo and behold, she's worked with Hope McIntyre - a.k.a. Caroline Upcher.

How's that for a coinkydink?

S.D.King said...

Janet, this is a timely and important post. I have tossed around the idea of hiring an editor, but the horror stories and cost are daunting. Angie's List doesn't seem to have a category for that, and I can't walk next door and say, "Your book turned out pretty well, could you give me the name of your editor?" (I am NOT going back to a plumber analogy!)

The problem I have had with beta readers is that they are all kind (Amazing! How did you learn to write like that?). I am glad that I have encouraging people in my life, but I know my book is not amazing - at least not yet.

I have a new critique partner, so we will see how that goes. . .

Amanda, I WISH landing an agent was as easy as landing a walleye. Here in Michigan, you just drop in a line and pretty soon you have a freezer full. This agent thing? I have been hunting them like big game, but they are as elusive as a white rhino (or possibly I should use great white shark?)

Donnaeve said...

Craig..., you should read Kristin Weber's FAQ's. I think you'd find her concept of editing interesting and one particular sentence of hers stuck out, "Like a doctor diagnosing a patient, developmental editors need to figure out how to help a manuscript reach its full potential, while keeping the author’s own voice and vision intact."

And, I realize you don't want to fork over money for this, but she's actually very reasonable considering she's worked for Big Five in her past life.

*And JR mentions her - which is only a good thing.*

Donnaeve said...

S.D. King, and all - while I'm on a roll here and pulling Colin's duty in the comments area since he's slacking of this a.m. :), there IS another service I find of great value to authors. I tried it out when it was being launched - it's called Book Hive. The concept of Book Hive is to "test" manuscripts with "regular readers." The ms is read first by the "Queen Bee" herself, Jennifer Bowen, or one of her minions. She then determines if the ms is ready for her test readers. Here's what the site say they will do,"BookHive offers online focus group research for authors who want to test finished manuscripts in target markets.

Both quantitative and qualitative online research are conducted via carefully selected members of the targeted readership. Test readers review finished manuscripts and give honest feedback. Results are available to the author to provide useful information for editing the book. Favorable test results can be a powerful tool for promoting the book to agents and publishers--as well as the general public, if self publishing is contemplated."

To me, they are like having a group of completely unbiased beta readers.

They are at I'd try the link, but we all know how that generally works out for me.

Dena Pawling said...

I think a lot depends on the kind of edit you want. Are you looking for a developmental edit? Or copyediting of grammar, spelling, and punctuation? Maybe both?

A very-highly recommended freelancer is a member of my local RWA chapter and lots of folks from the chapter use her. My primary CP uses her and can't say enough good things about her.

The freelance editor I use, is a friend of mine who is a published author and helps other writers/authors with editing. She's not a full-time freelance editor, and she hasn't always been right about things, but she also doesn't charge an arm and a leg [significantly less than Kristen Weber, but I'm sure she isn't as good as Kristen Weber, either]. She did NOT re-write the soul out of my manuscripts, and in fact she expected me to ignore any of her recommendations that I didn't agree with. Therefore, she's great for certain projects and writers, but not good for others. One thing I liked is that she agreed to work up the first chapter of my first manuscript at no charge, so we both could determine if we would be a “good fit.” She also read and advised on my query letters along with the manuscripts, no additional charge.

I learned SOOOO much from her when she edited my first manuscript. My favorite word is apparently AND. I started a LOT of sentences with AND. She highlighted EVERY time I wrote the word AND in my manuscript. One chapter of my first manuscript was returned to me almost entirely yellow lol. I'd also used a few other newbie constructions that she pointed out for me. Plus she helped me completely rework a chapter that was almost entirely passive voice. Her edits were like a private class - I paid just as much as I've seen people pay to attend a class on the craft of writing, but I was the only student and we used my manuscript as the sample for critique. Well worth my money. By the time she'd read my second manuscript [the one currently out on query], she said my writing had 1000% improved.

Do you have CP/beta readers you can ask for recommendations? What about a local writer's group? Or ask people here. I definitely think a good freelancer is worth the money.

Unknown said...

S.D. King--so right. Finding (yes, kind) but more importantly honest + skilled beta readers + critique partners is so important. (I have one--hurray--but looking for another for a troika; one of ours dropped out.)

Additionally, is the competitive market. Seems I'm not the only who wants to get published. In fact, I think there are eleventy-million other people trying to squeeze through that same door. So you look for every advantage which explains the rise in editorial serves --- who by nature should be able to add that extra polish. Not always the case. Takes a real knack to diagnose without turning into Dr. Frankenstein.

Anonymous said...

S.D. King - I'm glad you brought up plumbers... ;) If only so I can make another Mario reference!

All of my CP's are mean, mostly because they're all strangers and I tell them to get their teeth out. I also found my beta readers on the internet, so they were all complete strangers, which made it easier for them to take a big bite out of my MS and be brutally honest. Just ask Margo. I've got strong feelings on the subject ;)

Back to the Mario reference. I look at editors like I look at Yoshi. They get me to the end game faster. Because anyone with a critical mind and a copy of Self Editing for Dummies (please don't use this resource, there are better books) can hack away piece by piece at a manuscript, but it takes a crapton of time. And then a boatload more time to get good at it. And then another truck-full of time to repeat the process.

The end result is still catching a great white shark, who will then rip your pretty words to pieces all over again and try to get the best out of the MS. I'm doubting greatly that QOTKU has ever grabbed a manuscript off the query pile and said "Wait, it was edited by x? It's perfect. Let's send it to production!" Sure, there are varying levels of "love" a MS might need, but I think we'd be fools to think any MS is ever ready to roll the moment it hits an agent/editor inbox.

Except maybe on Carkoon. But the rules there are just different.

Anonymous said...

I hired professional editors once on the advice of an "agency" I queried. At $5 a page in the 80's that was a significant investment. I stopped after $100 pages because the professional editing was so generic it was laughable.

Now, I'm running this revision through the posse and feel that will be sufficient. I'm leery of people I don't know, even editorial services. I've won a few contests where the prize is an edit on x number of pages. Sometimes it isn't bad. Sometimes I wonder what they are thinking. They destroy the rhythm, the voice, emotion, and sometimes the humor.

Others are pretty good. The good ones are hard to find, as pointed out. My former editor, Diane Ciarloni does good work if anyone wants to contact her. Yes, she knows how to edit fiction.

I don't use her, or any editor for a reason, though I probably should. What happens if I send in this perfectly edited manuscript to an agent and they have extensive revisions on plot? You revise your heart out. Do you have the money to send back to the editor? Does the editor have time? What if the editor isn't available for your next book?

Yes, you should learn from what the editor did, but you won't learn it all in one book. It takes a long time working with an editor to learn at their feet.

A very well-known author, not DG, was wrangling with their foreign rights agent about a book about to be released. They went back and forth so long about some issues the editor had virtually no time to go through the book. It was apparent when the book came out. The book was noticeably inferior to others in the series. If this happens with a wildly successful author I'm going to guess someone will notice the difference in our edited and unedited writing also.

I'm going to take my chances and hope this pilgrim can skin griz.

Pharosian said...

I have a "day job," but I'm also a freelance editor with several repeat customers, one of whom is a NYT bestselling author. I totally agree with the philosophy of making changes to improve clarity and flow but not mess with the author's voice.

During the editing process, I explain the reasons for certain changes so that the author can learn and improve--not just get a marked up copy back with no idea why I made certain suggestions.

I also offer to edit a sample of your writing for free so you can see if you think my editing style would work for you. It can be the first chapter or the tenth; maybe you've polished the first chapter so much that it's no longer representative...

If any of you here would be interested in learning more, you can reach me at pharosian at, and I'd be happy to give you an estimate and references.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

At work, no time to read all the comments, but I never knew my novel was so bad until I paid an editor to tell me it was unsalvageable as it stood.
My readers and crit group loved it. One member of the group, a teacher of creative writing, college level, and published author, thought it would change my life. I spent money I did'nt have to be told my book was basically a stink pile. It still brings me to tears.

Megan V said...

Finding a great editor is difficult, but finding a great editor that many writers can afford for the whole manuscript is a far more daunting task.

In a way, just as with many other things in life, the mere opportunity of working with an excellent (paid) editor depends on whether the writer has $ or connections. For those who can afford an editor, research is key. For those who can't, research is still key, because the knowledge of who is good and who is not can be just as important as the service.

Also, thank goodness for CPs and betas.

Jenz said...

Tony, I'd advise against paying an editor to help with your query. There's a number of writers' forums online where you can get feedback. The big reason why you should do that is that you can critique other queries. You will learn more from having to identify and explain what works for you and what doesn't that you will from getting feedback on your own query. You'll also get a chance to read a whole lot of queries, which will give you a taste of what it's like for agents. When you read the same clichés over and over, you'll understand much better why they cease to be effective.

Colin Smith said...

As I said above, this is a topic about which I have very little input, except for my positive experience working with beta readers, and I know we all have similar stories. But the question when to engage an editor's services is intriguing. The fact is, even after the best editorial work, your novel still might not capture the interest of an agent because 1) your voice, 2) the subject matter, 3) the market, 4) insert a host of other reasons here that have nothing to do with how beautifully written and well-edited your novel is. I don't think I would pay to have a novel edited unless I had at the very least a "revise and resend" from an agent.

That's my current thinking, anyway.

I can assure you, here at FPLM-Carkoon, we subject all submitted manuscripts to the most stringent and severe editing. It starts with the removal of all adjectives, "just"s, "well"s, and "um"s, and then the replacement of all dialog tags with "said." Next we apply the 10% rule, and randomly cut 10% of your novel. If we think the novel has series potential, we'll cut the last chapter, or turn it into a teaser for the second book. Finally we remove any and all references to chickens, hens, turkeys, and roosters. We have a very strict "no fowl language" policy. :)

Susan Bonifant said...

Disclaimer: None of this applies to Kristen Weber who I don't know, but who apparently is the real deal.

My only experience with a hired editor was as a new writer when I would have taken advice from the neighborhood grocer.

It was awful. She was borderline abusive when I disagreed, found ways to charge more than she should have and made me feel like I was lucky to be wasting her time.

I think she may have even suggested a prologue. No, that's not true.

My (embittered) take, now that I would never consider it again, is this:

One, don't do this if you are not feeling strong about yourself as a writer yet. And two, consider whose advice would be more valuable - someone who is paid to find problems, or a beta reader who is going to tell you why they put the book down to get a drink and didn't come back.

Ardenwolfe said...

All I can say is: Buyer beware. There are a lot of 'editors' who will be quick to take your money and offers shit advice. Also, if you're in doubt, ask what the policy is if you're dissatisfied with the service BEFORE you pony up.

If the 'editor' balks, there's your answer.

Adib Khorram said...

I have had mixed experiences with beta readers/critique partners. I've finally settled on one CP that I really click with and am hoping to find another sooner or later.

Maggie Stiefvater has a cool critique partner meet-up on her website, and she suggests potential partners only exchange the first fifty pages to see if they will gel.

I have a hard time imagining myself paying an editor to look at my book. Since my book would presumably go through more edits with an agent and then editor at the publishing house, I seems like adding an extra editor in the chain is one too many cooks in the kitchen. That's just my take, though.

I honestly think I learned more about writing from taking Janet's suggestion (made on QueryShark multiple times if memory serves) to type out a book you've loved, to really absorb what makes it so good. I've already typed one and I'm halfway through another one, and it's made a huge difference in my (own) writing.

Also, I confess, I find a well-placed "Um." to be an immensely powerful tool in dialogue.

Also, I finally got to play the reCAPTCHA game today. It had me select the pictures of wine.

It knows me well.

Adib Khorram said...

Well this is embarrassing. Apparently I really like to begin sentences with "Also."

Kregger said...

I found my editor at the Absolute Write website. I have a love-hate relationship with punctuation, capitalization, screen directions and unnecessary words. You know, all those things I was supposed to learn forty somethings years ago.
He straightened me out and I learned a lot from him. The thing is--I recognize my shortcomings and sought help. Now if I can only get him to do my taxes.
My MS is tighter and reads better then before his help.
I guess I was one of the lucky ones.

Christina Seine said...

I've had mixed results with finding CPs and "editors" online. Living in the boonies, there is not exactly a cornucopia of literary types I can meet with, but I do have a tight group of writing friends who meet regularly, and we critique each other's stuff. One friend is great with continuity issues, another with voice, and another with overall plot issues, so it's great.

I tried several times to find CPs through various means. Most online CP meet-up sites don't have a lot of folks willing to read commercial/literary. I think it was just my bad luck, but each time I did find one, we critiqued each other's first chapters and then they wrote to inform me that they'd started their own editing service and they'd be glad to take me on as a client, but they were now too busy to critique for free. I do have a day job, but it only pays in hugs and smiles - which I would not trade for the world, but this is not a very marketable commodity, so I can't afford to hire a pro.

I did pay (I think) $70 for an advance manuscript critique with a pro at a conference last year. She only saw my synopsis + 1st 20 pages, which I sent in a month or so prior. When we met during the conference later, I was completely blown away by her insight and brilliant advice. Knowing she'd been vetting by the conference organizers made me willing to give it one last shot. I'm so glad I did.

I would say if ANY editor wants to make the kind of changes that suck the soul out of your MS, run like hell. That still, small voice in your head knows what it’s talking about.

Anonymous said...

I think the most important thing to look for in a CP or an editor is someone who will help you tell the story you want to tell in the best way you can. I've been fortunate enough to find great CPs who aren't afraid to tell me my work is terrible when it is, and who offer excellent advice on how to fix it. For those who don't want to hire a professional editor, I highly recommend attending a conference and connecting with others who write the same genre as you. That's how I met all my CPs. And while conferences may be expensive, CPs will (usually) be with you for multiple books or even multiple drafts of the same book free of charge. (Though of course you'll be doing the same for them, so you'll need to be prepared for the extra time commitment.)

If you're looking online for CPs, Janice Hardy also posts occasional CP meet-up entries on her blog, similar to Maggie Stiefvater's. (Thanks for pointing that one out, Adib - Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors, so I imagine I'd find writers with similar tastes/styles there if I'm ever looking for a new CP.)

Anonymous said...

I'm a compulsive editor and a critique partner. I really hope I'm able to offer advice to my partners that is helpful, whether it's positive or negative. I completely agree that it's WRONG (caps appropriate) to try to change voice or suck the soul out of a piece... but I also think it's unfair to not suggest the big changes (a plot point that just doesn't work) along with the small (typos or unclear wording).

I've often considered taking on freelance editing jobs, but I'm uncertain as to what education I should have. I have no formal editing background, though I have edited many types as pieces working in communications, and have been a critique partner even longer.

Thanks, folks, for some good suggestions of editors to look at. I'd also be interested in any suggestions for education specifically in editing. Does anyone know of any good courses?


Amy Schaefer said...

I read through this post and the comments murmuring: "Really? Interesting... no! You don't say? Hmmm!" I had no idea that hiring a pre-agent editor was such common practice.

Here is my concern. Let's say I hire Editor Redpen to fix my manuscript. She does an excellent job, and as a result of her advice, I sign with Agent Superpants. She sells the MS. Fast forward a year or two, and I'm ready to show Agent Superpants my new manuscript.

The phone rings. "Hi, Amy, it's Agent Superpants. I've read the new manuscript you sent me."
"Great! How did you like it."
Long pause. "It's... rough."
"Unpolished. Flabby. Your pacing dies completely in chapter four, and doesn't come back until chapter 17. All of your male characters are generic, and your protagonist is unfocused. What happened?"

In short, if I can't whip a book into shape without the aid of an editor, then an agent, then another editor, then am I really ready to publish? At publishing houses, editors are hugely important in shaping a final manuscript, but that is much further downstream, and my impression is that the writer and editor work together. Will I really learn and improve as a writer if I pay someone else to identify and fix my weaknesses? Or, like a critique partner, does a paid editor act as a valuable early warning system to help me identify the faults in my writing that I can't see?

I don't think this road is for me, but I can see I will mull this topic over for the next few days.

Elizabeth Langston said...

I have a freelance editor, and I nearly can't write a book without her anymore. She helped me "fix" a book before it sold--and she's helped me with every book since (even the ones under contract. I don't want my acquiring editor to see my books until the freelancer has had a shot at it.)

She will also give a sample edit (for a small fee) so that you can both see if you'll work out as a team.

I think the writer/freelance-editor relationship is kinda like having a therapist; if you need one, you sometimes have to keep trying until you get the right match. But, it's also true that no editor is better than bad editor.

Unknown said...

I can't (at this stage) afford to hire an editor. I usually let a book sit for a couple of months and then go back over it line by line. I tend to do that once or twice in every format (first word .doc, then printed ms, then proof copy) as I seem to find different things in different formats.

Also, although they say not to get family to proof-read, I find that my sister does the best job at finding missing words (LOTS of those, I'm dyslexic) and wrong words. She also does an amazing job at finding inconsistencies and things that are questionable in context.

Mind you, I self-publish and am not looking for an agent, so my case is slightly different.

One day I would like to be able to afford an editor, if only to see what value they add.

Anonymous said...

Amy -

I agree completely. My perspective is jaded. I am most certainly not an expert in this field and do feel sort of like a single guy giving dating advice... but I agree completely.

I've seen it many times and I'm always blown away that an author will pay someone they don't know or barely researched for "editing" but be wary of anyone offering to critique for free. If you feel you're not capable of sifting the good advice from the bad, or fear a strangers advice will lead you astray, you've got bigger problems my friend.

When all else fails, follow the rule of multiples. If 2 or more people mention the same problem, then you've got a problem.

b-Nye said...

Yeah... you Kristen Weber...why do I feel included in this plea....? JR?

DLM said...

Adib, I thought that was a rhythmic choice. :)

I have zero to add to this discussion. Hi, everyone!

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Happy for your outcome, Brian (from yesterday's postings). Nothing beats open, honest communication. A good lesson, or just a good reminder for some. Good luck! Maybe AgentPerfect will love both!!

Colin Smith said...

Amy: I can only hope that a good editor will not simply re-write the novel for the author, but explain the changes to the author so s/he can decide whether to keep them, and learn from them. This way, the author becomes a better writer, and maybe need the editor less and less.

Again, I'm speaking theoretically since I've never hired an editor.

Lilac said...

Hi Diane!

Adib, I like your "Alsos."

Janet, what a timely post. I'm always so grateful to you... :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ginger! I appreciate that! :) Let's hope so! :)

Carolyn Haley said...

I am one of those editors that people pay to work on their books, and so far have a track record of happy clients. That's because I come from the school of editing that trains us to chant this mantra: "It's not my book, it's not my book..." Instead, it is our job to help an author's book be the best it can be, and that means being flexible about language use and sensitive to author voice while applying everything we know about art and craft to strengthen and clarify the prose and storyline. It's a delicate, difficult balance to hit. The best way to find an editor who suits you is to shop widely, and ask for sample edits (3-5 pages, double space, is the norm). I do sample edits gratis, though many editors charge a fee because it takes time and thought, and we are in business enterprises not social services. Once you find your editor, expect to have a long lead time (Janet is correct -- the good editors stay busy) and to pay a good chunk of change. Be clear with your editor what you want, and ask how they define copyediting, substantive or line editing, and developmental editing. These are very different tasks and very different costs.

Phyllis E said...

Best advice I've received came from my husband, who said, "Remember that it's YOUR book. Listen to all the critiques and editorial comments, evaluate them, but only accept the changes that feel right for you and your book."

DLM said...

While I'm reading this, Gossamer the Editor Cat (who was hiding under my long white chiffon skirt) just peeped up with his giant green eyeballs, just snooting the air at me and lookin' all cute.

I believe this to be HIS added greeting to mine above. It is possible he kind of digs Lilac. It is for sure he's got a thing for Janet.

Mr. Phyllis E's husband is right. It's YOUR book. That's kind of the end of the story.

JD Horn said...

I love Kristen Weber!