“If the idea is to get it right, Anita is your answer.”
If you’ve talked recently to a literary agent, you know how tough this market is. Book publishers have cut back on acquisitions and shaved advances. Even established authors are finding it more difficult to get publishing contracts in the current climate. So, how do you give yourself – and your book – an advantage?
Virtually every author, no matter how talented, can benefit from a detailed, unbiased manuscript critique by a good developmental editor (also known as a substantive editor or book doctor). A good editor will look at your book as a whole, highlight its strengths and weaknesses, and make recommendations for changes, sometimes minor, sometimes major. Depending on the type of manuscript, those recommendations may involve changes to structure, characterization, pacing, plausibility, dialog, plot, continuity, word choice – any elements of your work that could use a little help.
But how do you know when it’s time to hire an independent editor? Reasons and timing vary but here are some that are typical:
1. If you want to get your book into the best shape before you submit it to publishers or literary agents.
2. If you’ve submitted your manuscript or book proposal to a publisher or literary agent, and you’ve gotten encouragement but no offers.
3. When your involvement in a writers’ group has taken you as far as possible but not quite far enough to put your book over the top.
4. When you’re having specific difficulties with a work of nonfiction, a memoir, or a novel that you can’t fix on your own, involving structure, character, dialogue, tension, or other issues.
5. If your book starts out great, and ends with a bang, but you lose your way in the middle.
6. If you need help figuring out how to wrap up your book with a satisfying, surprising ending.
7. If you sold your book based on a proposal, and you need more help writing your book than the editor at your publishing house has time to give you.
Of course, to get the most benefit from hiring someone for either a manuscript critique or a detailed line-by-line edit, you need a very good editor.
I am a very good editor. Just read the testimonials on the right side of this page.