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Tatham
September 19th, 2011, 03:02 PM
Does it increase my chances if I were to hire a professional editor, or does it not matter? I have a few people who are willing to read my work through when it's ready, to check it through for grammer errors and inconsistencies. Will that be enough to impress?

Thanks

JosephB
September 19th, 2011, 04:03 PM
I’m not at the point to rule anything out –- and I’m certainly going to consider it. But I’ll probably ask my sister to read my novel. She has similar tastes to mine, is a very astute reader and she’s an English language professor too. She might be happy to do copy edits as well as more substantive editing or critique. I just don’t want to imposition anyone, because it’s a lot to ask. We have a proof reader at work too, so she might be someone to approach also if I’m just looking for minor copy edits.

I’m prone to things like not closing quotes, and transposing words or leaving them out – sometimes things that take you out of the story. So it may be a good to get someone to catch those things – just to put my best foot forward. Whether I pay or not is the question.

But it’s like anything else, if I decide to hire someone, I’m going to go through due diligence, read samples etc., and most importantly, get references – just like I do before I hire anyone.

And I’ve long decided to ignore anyone who even implies that not doing your own editing somehow makes you less of a writer, or that you don’t need to because they didn't. You’ll no doubt hear all that – and I think it’s baloney. As Clint Eastwood says, a man’s got to know his limitations.

Bloggsworth
September 19th, 2011, 04:13 PM
If you want your book proof-read, get a professional. Friends are friends, family are family, neither relationship qualifies them to proof read; you may be left wondering "Is it good, is it well punctuated, or are they trying not to upset me" - You need someone who has no emotional connection.

JosephB
September 19th, 2011, 04:25 PM
I think the question is, if you're submitting to an agent, what's the expectation or tolerance for minor errors, although I'm sure it varies.

If I was self-publishing, I'd probably still ask my sister for thoughts on more substantive edits -- notes in the margin type thing -- and then I'd probably hire a proof-reader as well.

patskywriter
September 19th, 2011, 04:46 PM
It certainly can't hurt to have professionals look over your work, and that shouldn't threaten your viability as a writer. I have learned, in my years as a legal/technical proofreader and freelance proofreader/editor, that not all talented writers produce works with flawless spelling and perfectly turned phrases. But, you should know that not all proofreader and editors are good writers. Writing is hard work and hiring troubleshooters to aid in perfecting your document can be very helpful.

That being said, I feel that all writers should have an arsenal at their disposal. Itís not enough to simply recognize your weakness in spelling and assume that you can hire someone to catch your mistakes. In your arsenal you should have a thesaurus, an excellent dictionary, and access to guides that help with problems with punctuation, etc (all are available online). Writers should also learn how to create a style sheet that aids in keeping track of recurring words and phrases. Style sheets deal with capitalization, situations where you canít remember if you used one word or two (fund raising vs fundraising), proper names, special or technical terminology, etc.

Bloggsworth
September 19th, 2011, 05:03 PM
If you look at the large space in which you type your bon mots on theis site, you will see that the last icon on the top line is the symbol for the spelling checker - It is amazing how few members of the forum actually use it; that being so, I wonder how many ever actually proof-read their own work, or are following the lazy teacher's dictum that punctuation and spelling are no longer important, it only matters that the reader understands you - I refer you to the telegram "No price too high..."

JosephB
September 19th, 2011, 05:11 PM
I wonder too. It's been keeping me up nights.

eraser
September 19th, 2011, 07:12 PM
Publishers want to deal with writers who can write, not writers who can hire editors.

Too many tyros think a submitted ms must be completely error-free. Not true. It only has to be as error-free as you can make it. What agents/pubs care about is receiving work that keeps them turning pages. A typo or three, or a few grammatical no-nos aren't going to sabatoge an otherwise compelling read. Every (legitmate) publisher has editors on staff who work with the writer to polish his/her manuscript.

For free.

By all means have a friend or four, or some fellow writers from online sites such as this, go over your work. Trade proofing services with them. Polish the work to the best of your (combined) abilities. But the only time I believe anyone should consider hiring an outside editor is if they've already decided to self-publish and want the finished product to be as error-free as possible.

Gamer_2k4
September 19th, 2011, 09:26 PM
Writers should also learn how to create a style sheet that aids in keeping track of recurring words and phrases. Style sheets deal with capitalization, situations where you can’t remember if you used one word or two (fund raising vs fundraising), proper names, special or technical terminology, etc.

That's excellent advice. I can't believe I've never heard of it before.

patskywriter
September 20th, 2011, 12:19 AM
That's excellent advice. I can't believe I've never heard of it before.

A style sheet is what the editor who's assigned to your book creates for him/herself and the proofreader who checks the edits against the new printout. (I used to freelance for a few publishers.) :)