Wednesday, October 1, 2014

When To Hire An Editor or When To Throw In The Towel


When To Hire An Editor or When To Throw In The Towel


  • You've written a complete first draft.
  • You've checked for plot holes, grammar, spelling and usage errors.
  • You've double checked all your seeds of truth in your manuscript.
  • You've traded manuscripts with your critique partners.
  • You've revised based on each critique partners suggestions.
  • You've read your manuscript out loud from beginning to end and made more revisions.
  • You've entered contests, gone to conferences, and gotten feedback.
  • You've revised some more.
  • You queried and got form letter rejections.
  • You revised again and are quite sick of your manuscript and want to throw it away...


But throwing your baby away isn't an option. You've invested so much time and energy into it. So what's the next step?

Ask yourself, is this manuscript worth investing in? Do you have the funds to invest in it?  If the answer is yes, you should start thinking about hiring an editor. If the answer is no, it's time to put this manuscript away and start on something new.

Then you have to ask yourself how much do you have to invest in your manuscript?  The amount you pay will  depend on your budget and the editor's skill set, experience and name. You can spend a lot or a little. Ask around before you choose an editor. There are lots of options: literary agent interns, published writers (published in magazine), retired editors, people who just love the editing process, published authors, and other writers. Find out who they've edited for and if they were helpful. Did they move the manuscript forward to publication or positive feedback from agents or publishing houses?

Before you commit to paying an editor, ask yourself if you're willing to take advice on your manuscript? If you aren't willing to make changes or listen to advice, you shouldn't spend the money. If you have an open mind and are willing to listen to suggestions, you believe in your story so much that you have a burning need to published it, and you have some money saved to pay an editor then it's time to start looking around for an editor.

Have you hired an editor? How helpful was it?

***permission to be printed in the ISWG Anthology


21 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon - sometimes we just have to let go ... or take the advice and alter your beloved manuscript, or just start again ...

    I am not at that point in the writing journey ... good luck to all who are .. cheers Hilary

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  2. Great advice, Sharon! I did hire an editor once. It was after I'd received offers for my YA novel, but opted out and signed with an agent instead. We decided to go the editor's route to take the book to a higher level. It at least got me on sub with 4 of the big six.

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  3. Great to see you at the IWSG! I never thought about hiring a retired editor. Some people love the editing process, I'm not that person. It takes me quite awhile to get through it but once it's done, phew! Feels good.

    Elsie
    co-host IWSG


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  4. I'm glad you bring up the issue of your willingness to listen to the feedback! If you aren't willing to make changes based on professional advice, don't spend the money!

    And maybe move on to some other project or re-evaluate your commitment. Because when you do find an agent or sell a book to an editor, you will have to get used to making changes.

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  5. Sound advice...

    We must be open to change if we want to move forward.

    I was lucky to find an editor who believed in my story. It took SIX MONTHS of rewrites, but I am glad I did. My story is so much tighter and fluid.

    Using an editor is something I strongly suggest to any author who is at a standstill and wants to move forward.

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  6. I could see hiring an editor if you're really committed to a manuscript that based on feedback you think you could get right with help. I've never done it. For now, I decided to shelve my first manuscript that I've edited so much and work on something new. I haven't said I won't take it out again when I have fresh eyes.

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  7. I have hired editors on several occasions now. I'm convinced it is because I have that I finally have gotten a book accepted for publication. Several didn't make it but what I learned was invaluable and helped to make my next novel better. I shopped around and tried to find someone who would work with me and liked my kind of writing.

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  8. I've never been in a situation where I felt I needed to hire an editor. I'm not sure I would unless I was planning on self-publishing. If it had gone through several rounds of critiques and revisions and still wasn't getting any interest at all, I think I would just put it aside, consider it a learning experience, and move on to a new project. :)

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  9. Terrific advice! Thank you for this valuable information and perspectives!

    Warmly,
    Donna

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  10. I haven't actually ever hired an editor...just used an array of critique partners. My agent is also pretty good at catching stuff, and tailoring my manuscripts to the market. :) Thanks for the solid advice!!

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  11. Yes, we do have to listen to advice and be prepared to change our stories.

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  12. That was great info! We're not the type to throw in the towel though. Lay on it yes, throw it in, nope!

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  13. Some of my manuscripts I think even an editor couldn't save. I got advice from an editor this year, and it was invaluable. But, like you say, you have to be willing to make the changes. Great post!

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  14. Excellent advice, Mayhew! The trick is being willing to make the changes that the editing expert says you need. Like you said, have an open mind. I have not done it yet. With all my betas (like you) not sure I ever will. Unless that editor is....

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  15. I put away a manuscript for many years, 5 to be exact, and took it out and rewrote it. It's going to be published soon. Whether it's time or hiring someone, manuscripts can be saved.

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  16. I do like this article. Great advice (and perfect for the book!)

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  17. Oh yeah. I've done the editor scene. It can be difficult to find one that's reasonably priced but knows what they're doing. Even then, you have to realize the way the book comes together is ultimately your decision.

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  18. Not always an easy question! I'm debating this for one of mine right now. Sigh. Hard to know if it'll be worth it sometimes. :)

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  19. Hiring an editor is something that never occurred to me when I was young, because I thought all editors worked for publishing houses. I think the rise of the freelance editor, book doctor and other middlepersons of the publishing world is a fairly modern idea. Assessors, editors and indeed crit partners are not created equal. I remember when I used to take an industry magazine and I'd read sage advice from various people and then, at the end, discover they were actually unpublished. That doesn't mean their advice wasn't useful, just that it hadn't worked for them.

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