Every Tuesday will be dedicated to answering some of the GREAT questions you all have asked!
Today's question is: What is your opinion on hiring a professional editor to edit my manuscript before sending it in to a publisher?
And today's answer will be given by Nikki Arana! Take it away Nikki...
The biggest reason that new writers receive rejections is because they send out their ms (manuscript) before it is ready. So many unpubbed writers think when they finish their first ms, they've finished a book. In almost all cases, they've finished a first draft. If it has been written with the guidance of a critique group of other unpublished authors, it's probably a good first draft, if it was written without any mentoring, it's probably a detailed outline. That's what the first draft of my first book was . . . the agent I sent it to is the one who told me. (grimaces)
The first step toward publication is to learn how to write a book. This takes time unless you hire a professional. There are professional editors, Sometimes called developmental editors, who can do that. But it is VERY expensive, around $75 an hour. They work with you step by step as you write. Like going to college and you're the only one in class. You end up with a book that only needs polishing. You always think of improvements after the first time through. But by then you are knowledgeable enough to make informed decisions on your own.You only get one chance to make a first impression with an editor or agent.
The concern about somehow the writing is not your own if you use an editor I find no basis for. I've never had any editor change a word of my writing that changed my voice. The concern that you can't deliver that quality of writing after you get the contract isn't true either. I'm writing my fifth book and still use the same professional structure editor I did on my first book. I still occasionally have payoffs without setups, have the hero do unheroic things, and have something in the story that doesn't make it to the page. But now, those things seldom happen, so it takes the editor less time and has become much more affordable. I consider the money I spend as my college tuition. Most editors accept payments.
After you know as much as your unpublished critique partners, professional editing is the next step toward publication. Yes, there are always those stories of a newbie sending out an ms and selling it. But out of the hundreds, even thousands of writers who submit mss, that happens very rarely. It is getting harder and harder to break into print. If difficult finances prevent you from using an editor, then try and find a pubbed author to guide you. They can be just as valuable, but often can't give the time needed. There are also conferences, workshops, and classes. It will just take a little longer going that route.
Pray with all your heart and work with all your might. Give your God-given call and God-given talent every opportunity to prosper.
2007 Excellence in Media Silver Angel AwardAmerican Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year - Women's FictionWinner of The Beacon Award
Jessie Cameron Alison Writer of the Year Award
Conference Speaker - Workshops