Pre-submission editing


Results 1 to 9 of 9

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.
    Hidden Content
    "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." - Groucho Marx

  3. #3
    Member Jack Dammit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Your antipode
    Posts
    40
    Redacted
    Last edited by Jack Dammit; April 1st, 2019 at 08:19 AM.

  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.
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.

    Hidden Content

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquilo View Post
    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.
    To clarify, I am not trying to sell an anthology/collection. I am trying to get my stories into those of other peoples. I am seeing rejections, which I understand is expected, but I am worried some of these rejections may be due to my own poor editing...
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    To clarify, I am not trying to sell an anthology/collection. I am trying to get my stories into those of other peoples. I am seeing rejections, which I understand is expected, but I am worried some of these rejections may be due to my own poor editing...
    Ah! Did you get any advice when you were rejected or was it just the standard reply? Was it a themed anthology? Sometimes another author can hit the theme more closely than another author. Or sometimes two authors can have the same subject matter, written very similarly, where there's only place for one. It's not always down to poor editing, just bad luck on that particular call etc.

    Most times it's useful if you get an explanation for the rejection, and it frustrates when you don't. Saying that, getting accepted comes with its own risks. I was accepted for charity anthology with a number of authors. I went through edits, then saw a notice of publication that said the anthology was ready to go out, only I didn't get the notice. When I asked why, they said they were sorry, but rejections went out weeks ago. I said 'but I have been accepted and went through edits with the story'. It left a lot of scratching heads and shoulder shrugging. Then I got an apology and an "Oh, yes, you must have gotten lost in edits". There's just so many ways for things to go wrong and the work getting in there, lol....

    Your posts are really well constructed, so I can't see it being down to minor grammar issues etc.
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.

    Hidden Content

  7. #7
    I tend to have a different approach to short stories than to longer pieces. For me, often the difference between acceptance and rejection in periodicals (digital and/or print) is conciseness. Editors want stories that readers can devour. If a story is slow or overly complicated or pulls the reader out of the mood, it's often the publication that gets dropped. If a story drags the reader to the end, they'll read more and more. The publication grows in appeal and its profile grows.

    Readers of short stories want a short, sharp interlude, and publishers know it. Even if a piece is well edited, it could be rejected because the publisher has concerns a reader might hesitate to continue.

    Late last year I had more than a dozen stories that weren't being accepted. Many others were, but this small bunch kept coming back. I sat down and edited them all with conciseness in mind. As of a few weeks ago, all of them have been accepted.

    A few typos won't get you rejected, but if there's something that slows the reader and breaks the mood, it probably will with a short story.
    Hidden Content - a saga of sacrilege, penance, duplicity, demonic possession and a man's reliance on a bicycle.

  8. #8
    I think you are missing a very important step. I've had many stories published but even now would never send one out on submission without getting other eyes on it first. It's amazing what someone else picks up on that you missed.

    Then you realize you do the same problem things over and over again. I don't pay editors because I don't find it necessary. We are all readers and it's not rocket science to know when something someone else wrote seems off to you and why.

    Then, of course, you have to cultivate a whole new set of skills, deciding which critique suggestions to keep and which to toss, but it's no biggie. Just one step at a time, that's all.

    Giving and getting critiques has helped my writing more than anything else by far so that's what I suggest. I suggest workshopping your stories here and giving some critiques yourself as well. Both are invaluable.

    Even better is if you have someone who will read your stories to you out loud. The ears catch what the eyes miss!

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    You could check out Jennie. She's the resident editor/proofer for IndiesUnited right now.
    https://www.indiesunited.net/jennie-rosenblum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.