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Writers – read this before you choose an editor!

You’ve finished your manuscript and are looking for an agent or publisher that’s great. However – as an editor I’ve seen too many excited authors get ahead of themselves; making them easy targets for those willing to profit off of literary ambitions. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1) Agents and Publishers ARE looking for great manuscripts – there is always a need and you might just have what they are looking for! So never give up.

2) However, they are generally looking for very clean, very well constructed, ‘finished’ manuscripts that don’t take a lot of reworking. They might recommend you get it edited (or they might just reject you over and over).

3) Getting a professional edit is a very good idea if you’re serious about your writing, BUT: first of all, give it to as many people you know to get their feedback. Ask them to be critical. Better yet, join or start a writer’s group. This is like getting FREE editing. Be open-minded and listen to everybody’s suggestions; don’t be so stubborn and try to ‘explain’ your book to others. If it needs to be explained, it isn’t written well enough.

4) Ignore the details! What a waste money paying for proofreading, and have some one fix all the spelling and grammar mistakes, without looking at the much more important story itself! The story is ALWAYS the most important thing. Focus on the story. Why does everything need to happen just as it does? Why do your characters act and respond as they do? This part cannot be rushed, but is crucial to developing a great book. So many times I’ve had eager writers with ‘print ready’ manuscripts go back for a major rewrite after some constructive criticism.

5) The point? Don’t rush. You’ll spend much more time, energy and money trying to rush through the project than you would have if you let yourself take it slowly. (This doesn’t mean you should procrastinate – just focus on “how can I make this better” instead of “how can I get this published”.)

The secret to getting published is to have the BEST manuscript and the best story; quality is not something you can rush.

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