Pre-submission editing

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Thread: Pre-submission editing

  1. #1

    Pre-submission editing

    I have almost a collection's worth of short stories I have written this year, which I have been in the process of submitting to various places. Only rejections so far and I'm not fazed, but I am starting to consider the possibility of outsourcing editing to try to make the stories more polished.

    Not totally comfortable with the idea of spending money on something I could, theoretically, do myself, but editing is not my strong suit. I have minor dyslexia. Not to the point of my work being incoherent, but to the point it means I often find myself missing SPAG details during editing even if I try very hard.

    Of course I don't know if that's causing the rejections, it may well not be anything to do with editing, but it would be nice not to have to spend countless hours scrutinizing and still be unsure if my work is free of nitpick problems. I also have a tendancy to overwrite descriptions, which I have got better about catching, but in the context of several thousand words I am sure is still not quite where it's at and would like some of that red pen. I also really hate editing! More than anything I think just having a neutral-but-qualified set of nitpicky eyes on my work would help polish. All the people i know who might do this for me are either not neutral or not qualified.

    Anybody else who pursues traditional submission-based publishing looked into this kind of thing? If so, did it help with getting the nod? Any good sources for freelance editors who are reasonably priced? I'm thinking somebody with some experience (though not necessarily heaps) and a MFA or something would probably be sufficient.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  2. #2
    How much you wanna pay? I have sources.
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  3. #3
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  4. #4
    No, you don't need to pay for a freelance editor if you're going the trade route. If it's a good collection, a few minor issues on grammar, syntax, or punctuation won't get you rejected. I will say it is harder to sell an anthology with a publisher, though.

    If you do feel you have no other option but to get a freelance copy/proof reader (as you're saying you don't want a content editor), and you keep getting multiple rejections, then there are questions to ask to help see how professional they are. E.g., Do they know about protected speech? What dictionary/style manual do they use? Are they a specialist in your genre? If they don't know about the first, then I'd walk away. But my feeling is you'd need a content editor, not copy.

    Authors rarely make good editors of their own work; it's why editors themselves have editors when it comes to their own work. Please don't think it's an easy job that an author could do: you're too close to your work and you need that objective stance from a professional editor. You can revise to the best of your ability, and it's then down the editor to help guide beyond that, and they will if the story/ies is/are sellable to their market. No good freelance editor should ever take your money if they can see your work won't sell in the long run.

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