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Author Topic: On the work of editors  (Read 1419 times)

Offline Fallen One

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On the work of editors
« on: April 26, 2016, 04:42:22 AM »

 I have a question. Do editors step in only once the books (or at least the first draft) is finished, or can they help you finish it as well?
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Online cupiscent

Re: On the work of editors
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2016, 05:57:16 AM »
Editors can help you with whatever you care to pay them to help with. ;)

To be less facetious: yes, having a reader look at an unfinished manuscript may help give you direction to finish it. Having a trained, experienced and critical reader (like an editor) look at it may offer more help. However, if the book doesn't have enough in it already, it may be that the reader/editor's advice is of minimal value - e.g. all they can come back with is "There's a lot of potential here, depends on what you do with it." But there's a lot of potential in an empty block of land, and there's a lot of potential in a derelict house, and there's a lot of work and a lot of options involved in making something of either.

Given your other thread in the writing forum, and this one, I'd probably recommend a slow escalation. Read through your work yourself and sketch out some options that appeal for ways you could complete it. If that doesn't get you where you want to go, ask a trusted reader - someone who reads the sort of fiction you're trying to write and whose opinions you share and/or value - to have a look and give you some advice. Try more than one reader.

Leave an editor - who you'll need to pay for their expertise - until you're sure you need and will benefit from that expertise.

Offline Trueblue4u

Re: On the work of editors
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2016, 02:46:27 PM »
This depends on what you're talking about.

PUBLISHED?  If your book has been bought by a publishing house, then yes, the editor would read draft after draft until it's completely ready to publish (and maybe your agent would have done the same with you before they even sold it to a publishing house).Technically, however, an editor's job is to buy great books that make money for a publishing house.  Only really GOOD editors actually line-edit books once they've been bought.

NOT PUBLISHED?  Then you might want to hire an editor so they can tighten-up your work before you try and get an agent and become a published author. 

Offline tebakutis

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Re: On the work of editors
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2016, 03:39:54 PM »
You'll get lots of varying opinions, but having done the small press and self-published thing, here's my suggestion.

If you need an editor to be a "book doctor", you're probably not ready to self-publish or submit to agents. This is not (IMO) a good use of your money. What I'd suggest instead is to network with fellow authors around your level or a bit above. So if you've gotten one short story published, find a couple of people who've published two or more.

Other authors and any readers of your genre you can find are going to be your best bet for discovering issues in a manuscript, and critique groups are key. Better yet, you don't have to pay these people (money) and you will also gain valuable insight by critiquing their work in return.

A good editor costs $$$ (and good editors are worth money), and IMO, hiring an editor right after you complete your first draft is not a good use of funds, especially at the standard freelance rate ($0.02 cents per word). Your book isn't ready for an editor after a first draft.

Once you've done several revisions of your book and received and implemented feedback from a suitable number of advance readers, you're then ready to consider an editor. Even then, you may not want to shell out the cash until you've exhausted traditional publishing outlets (which, by the way, pay for your editor!)

If you plan to submit to agents, it's up to you if you want to hire an editor or not, but I'd suggest no or at least, asking the editor to only edit the first chapter or so (which will be considerably cheaper). Most agents only request the first 10 pages or first chapter, which you can generally polish up yourself. Also, if you're lucky enough to receive representation, there's a good chance the agent will have suggestions for further improving your manuscript, which means spending $2000.00 (for a 100,000 word manuscript) may be a poor use of funds - you'll end up changing a lot anyway.

The only case where I'd say you absolutely MUST hire an editor is if you decide to self-publish. Self-publishing without paying a professional editor to edit your book is really just a terrible idea, though many people continue to do it (much to the detriment of self-publishing in general). But even if you see self-publishing as an option, I'd still suggest you exhaust all your agent queries first.

There is no need to rush your book to publication. Explore all your traditional publishing options first. And don't shell out 2 grand for an editor until you've got a book solid enough that it's ready to be edited.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 03:44:53 PM by tebakutis »

Offline Fallen One

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Re: On the work of editors
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2016, 04:08:13 PM »

 I understand. I'm halfway or so through a novel, and was curious about the best way to go about it. After reading the advice, I think I will wait to finish it, then polish and polish and polish, then try to find a publisher and only if that fails, find an editor and self publish.

   Thanks a lot for your replies.
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