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  1. #1
    Ellen Pomeroy
    Guest

    Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    I have read different opinions on this subject. Some say yes, some say wait unless you\\\'re asked to do so by an agent. I feel like I could use a professional opinion to take it to the next level.

    Any thoughts?



  2. #2
    larry moses
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    You should have it edited before submitting.

  3. #3
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    Most people do NOT use a professional editor.

    If you have read the entire manuscript aloud, had someone else read it (not a family member or friend) and provide comments, did a rewrite, read it aloud, had someone else (a different person) read it and provide comments, did a rewrite and read it aloud - and you're happy with it - NOW you're finished until an agent or publisher tells you they want more changes. If you've gone through all those steps, you probably DON'T need a professional editor. But if you haven't gone through all those steps, do it before you submit it to anyone.

    I used a professional editor once. It was a valuable experience for me, because it taught me to be a better editor. But if you've learned the process of writing/reading/re-writing/polishing, you don't need to pay anyone to read your book.

  4. #4
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    I am a professional book editor, Ellen (http://www.editsboosk.com--you asked for a professional opinion).

    Unless you are self-publishing or if you've already floated the manuscript and agents/publishers have commonly pointed to problems that editing with help, I don't suggest paying for your own edit before submitting.

    I agree with what leslee posted.

    Beyond that, first, agents and publishers don't really require perfect manuscript copy (the worse it is the more distracting and less attractive, yes, but agents are looking for other things than perfect spelling, punctuation, or even grammar). Second, traditional publishers are going to have the manuscripts they contract edited by their own editors to their own specifications regardless (and they are going to have it done at their expense--so let them bear the cost). Third, agents and publishers are not impressed that an author had to have someone "improve" their manuscripts for them (so, if you have it edited, don't boast of that in your query letters--and, most certainly, don't argue with the publisher's edit on the basis of the one you paid for yourself).

  5. #5
    Lorelei Armstrong
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    Your book should be as perfect as you can make it before you query. The problem is that you will find yourself rewriting the book along the road to publication. Will you have to hire the editor again when you address your agent's notes? Three or four times, maybe? How about when you work on the publishing editor's notes? The copyeditor's notes? You're better off addressing the weaknesses you see in your writing right now. All those folks expect a writer to be able to get the job done themselves.

  6. #6
    Keith .
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    What Lorelei said. Perfect answer.

  7. #7
    A.L. Sirois
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    I'm going to disagree with Gary a little bit. Part of your job as a writer is to be cognizant of proper grammar, manuscript format, sentence construction, etc. Many writers seem to feel that all that is the job of the publisher. While that may have been true to some extent in times past, these days it is much less so. Critique groups can help you develop your editing skills, if you're lucky to get into a group with some savvy people among the membership. Presenting yourself (and your work) in the best possible light should be a matter of pride.

    My two cents; as Smiling Cur says, feel free to disagree.

  8. #8
    Gary Kessler
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    I don't see a disagreement, A.L. I think it's important to be "in the zone" on the basics of writing too. There's a big difference between that and the "perfect copy" generally counseled, though. I, in fact, don't think a writer is ready to be submitting and clogging up the submissions queque at all unless they are personally capable of putting the manuscript "in the zone" in terms of grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, and formatting.

    Therefore, the legitimacy I see in using a professional editor is not in getting that particular manuscript past the submissions gate but to absorb how to do it better yourself in future writing.

  9. #9
    A.L. Sirois
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    Okay -- that's my view of it, too, Gary. I know that agents don't really require letter-perfect copy, and I'd be leery of one that did, in all honesty; but I personally wouldn't send anything out that I hadn't vetted as carefully as I could, which would include running it past at least one other set of eyes. I guess most of us have "preferred readers" we trust to give us the straight poop on story structure, etc -- which isn't the same as having a reader who can flag your grammar errors. They will creep in!

  10. #10
    Joe Zeff
    Guest

    Re: Should I have my manuscript professionally edited before sending to agents?

    AIUI, Gary, agents are always on the look for reasons to reject queries and manuscripts simply because they have so many of them to wade through. Grammar, syntax, punctuation and word choice errors are quick and easy targets, so it's probably in your best interest to get rid of them before querying.

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