Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Do You Need a Professional Edit Before You Submit a Manuscript?

post by Michelle Griep
A newbie writer contacted me the other day asking if I thought he needed a professional edit on his manuscript before sending it in to an agent or publisher. I've got several editor buddies, so seems like I'd say, "You betcha," without even blinking. Umm, not so much. There are several factors you should consider.

3 Factors to Consider Before Hiring an Editor

The Time Factor
How much elbow grease do you want to put into this? Editing and re-editing takes time, and first manuscripts are notorious for being time bandits. If you want a quick and easy edit, pay for it. But if you're willing to take the time to find and work with critique buddies and swap critiques, this can be a win-win situation.

The Money Factor
Editing is expensive. Do you have the cash to cough up for a professional edit? I'm not talking a cheapy read-through by an "editor" off of Craig's List. If you decide you do have the bankroll to fund this effort, check the editor's credentials and read reviews. But if your budget is limited, then just do your best, swap critiques, and go for it. If it's purchased, the publisher will do an extensive edit anyway.

The Proficiency Factor
How good of a grasp do you have on grammar? Is your dialogue formatted properly? Is spellcheck your only hope of readable copy? If you lack in any of these areas, then yes, you should probably get a pro to whip your copy into shape. But (and I've always got a big but) if you're going to be a writer, perhaps you ought to master these skills sooner rather than later.

All these things being said, if you're planning on self-publishing you MUST pay for a professional edit. There's no way around it.

And if you want a few recommendations for a few fantastic editors that I'd trust with my manuscripts . . .

Elizabeth Ludwig

Jeff Gerke


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