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Is anyone on here an editor?(55 Posts)
I need some help My ms has been rejected left right and centre, even though the agents have said it has great potential. I have 4 beta readers but none of them have picked up the errors that the latest agent has flagged up. It appears that the agents don't have the time to do full edits now so I don't know what to do with it. Would anyone be able to help? Cash flow is an issue at the moment IYKWIM
I've just returned to an older book of mine, after having worked on my current novelf for eighteen months or so. I was imagining that the older book would be in a reasonably finished state, and was thinking about putting it onto Kindle, after the other thread about self-publishing.
Not to put too fine a point on it, it's rubbish! I can see so much that needs improving.
That's why I think that leaving your novel and returning later may help - after all, 2 years is nothing in the scheme of things.
I know of one author who spent 20 years on her first!
I have a couple of new readers, she's given me a couple of ideas of things to improve and it doesn't need a lot of work (poor woman was up until 6am reading it as she couldn't put it down ). I'll do some bits and put it away. It does seem to need less and less doing to it each time I get feedback, I always think 'this time' though.
There you are - it's on it's way to being finished, just that the way is long!
The 20 year book? That would drive me up the wall. I have a short attention span but can write quickly. I did the first draft (12k) in two days. I put it away for a month and forget what I've written.
Hi. You gave me some good advice last night. I have a feeling we have talked before! you know me as ninah.
You said to me to put it away for a month. Would this help you, also? Chin up, we've come a long way!
LadyMary, I'm an editor! <arrives panting> I work freelance with authors and as an editorial consultant with an agency, and I specialise in kids/YA. How are you doing at present? Please PM me if you think I could be of help.
Ninah!!! (I was ladySybil until her sad demise ). It's already been put away for a while, I have to finish it. It's so close. I'm so chuffed for you... take your time though
Hi WhitePeacock. I do need a little help, the bank account won't allow it though Thank you for your offer.
Alas, I am pretty cheap (in a manner of speaking...) but can't afford to edit for free I am always up for negotiating, though, and also for being pointed at specific areas of an MS, not necessarily the whole kit and caboodle - so if cash flow becomes a bit more propitious at any point and you feel a targeted intervention might be worth it, do drop me a PM!
The stroke of luck will come one day, even if it winds up being with your next book. The important things are that a) you have the talent to keep people reading till 6 am, and b) you're not too precious to make changes and you seek and accept constructive feedback. Really good luck and fingers crossed.
Thank you. I'm living on beans on toast as it is at the moment. I think some of the descriptions need work as they can be a little flat in some areas. I'm happy to work on those, my creative side is having a break over the weekend though. In the mean time, I have a couple of picture books that need some TLC. I know these have potential, she said they read more like stories than picture books though so I've had another edit and they now no longer make sense without the pictures so I'm assuming they are OK to go. If I manage to sell one I'll have enough to get the novel looked at.
What it is to be a starving scribe fingers crossed for picture books as well.
Description pitfalls I often come across:
Too much detail - writer trying to render everything, rather than the few crucial bits that allow the reader to see what's being described
Writer has got carried away with poetry and lost sight of drive of main narrative to revel in a lushly worded descriptive passage (I always think of Stella Gibbons and her Baedeker stars in Cold Comfort Farm when this happens!)
Too little detail - bald, broad outlines without the touches of shade and colour that make them 3D rather than 2. What is it that you/your character would notice/feel/smell if you were there, because it stood out to the senses? Have you captured that?
Enjoy Easter and hope it comes together v soon
Yup. One day
The descriptions are the first thing that all of the readers mention as they seem to love them. I don't think they are consistent though as I've skimped on some more than others (it's on my 'to do' list). I've captured things through his senses, I think the issue lies with his personality traits; there's too many so he's too complicated for the age of the reader. He starts off afraid, then he's headstrong, then he's considerate, then he's reasonable, then he's afraid again, then he's caring, then he's... In the rewrite he's headstrong but caring. I hope I've sorted it, problem is that I won't know unless I can find an agent who sends feedback. Not all of them do and I won't know as the readers don't always pick up problems.
Thank you, ds is still in bed! Lazy!!
Worth mentioning briefly, when you next submit, that you've had constructive feedback from several not-your-mum readers and have worked with their suggestions, so that this is more polished and closer to being 'ready' than a first draft?
Agents only give feedback IME if it's a really near miss for them, and not very indepth stuff then - they just don't have time. (So if you're getting any that's a good sign!)
Are you going back to same agents or casting net wider now?
I'm not sure. She said I can send it back for advice, not as a submission though and she takes months to get back to me (she's busy so it's understandable). There isn't a lot of agents who deal with both picture books and older children's novels so my net is very small. Most have already rejected both (she's one of two who's given feedback) so I can't really approach any of them again. I mention the readers in my sub letter, I don't note what they have said though (it's 100% very positive) as they may want to come to their own conclusion. There's a few left to try, the temptation to return it to the helpful agent as a 'look at what we've created' and keep my fingers crossed that she loves it enough to offer rep is there though.
My mum hasn't read it, nor have any members of my family.
I assumed from what you'd said they were non-mum readers - sorry, didn't mean to suggest you were a green-ink submitter (Well MY mUm loved it AND I will be The next JK ROwling you foOLs)! Do you mention having incorporated reader criticism too?
Why not look at agents who don't do picture books but are the best imaginable fit for your current MS? You don't have to have just one agent, after all, and if your net is small I would try widening it to increase your odds of getting the stroke of luck. Bear in mind too that picture books represent a big initial outlay of money for a publisher so they're an increasingly hard sell (that's why fewer agents do them now, climate too risk-averse.)
Keep friendly agent up your sleeve. If you think your book's ready, or as ready as it can be, you probably want to submit more than you want to wait potentially months for 'advice'. Widen your net and go for older kids' lit agents. G'wan g'wan g'wan! time I turned my full attention to the beggar I'm actually editing
I might try it next time I send of my fiction novel. I'm not the next JK Rowling, I never say that. I'm sure that being the next CS Lewis is more than enough. I make sure always to use comic sans when I submit and I make sure to use purple ink and bright neon paper, it adds an extra 'umph!', along with telling them they would be crazy to turn me down. There must be a lot of crazy agents out there though
I am kidding (don't ever do this)!
I mention reader criticism and say that I'm always happy to receive feedback and make amendments. I
stalk follow a lot on twitter so I get to know a little about them before I send it off.
The picture book is 'lovely'. One publisher has seen it, they loved it but I screwed up the meeting with the editor (nerves). I'm sure it will find a home. I'll have a think.
Thank you. Enjoy your Easter.
haha ladym, you make me laugh!
headstrong but caring sounds believable
Just keep trying! I think it's harder in a way when you've been working for a while and getting some maybe's. The next step is a yes, there's no reason why it shouldn't be you or I, eventually ...
I like the idea of sending the YA book to a new bunch of agents. Good luck! have a nice Easter!
We'll both get there, I know we will
I'll sort it out first, then try and rehome it. Poor thing.
I would never mention other readers. Agents don't care - what matters is if they like it. An exception might be if you are friends with a very famous author.
I have read slush piles and rejected tonnes of books (and now for my sins am trying and failing to write my own - very hard to take my own advice!) and most were rejected for being competent but not having that extra spark I wanted.
Sometimes what you've done just doesn't 'click' with whoever's reading it. All you can do is send it off to different people and in the meantime write something new. Too many people fixate on getting one book right. Write lots of them! Edit lots of them! Soon you will look back on this book and see errors that you couldn't possibly detect now.
Or you might sell it to the next person you send it to
Thank you. A new reader has read it, she loves it as well. She's going through it with a fine comb. I've done some work on the main character, he's great now (I am slightly biased). You're right, it's very hard. Nothing like a challenge though.
LadyM, whenever I whinge about it being hard dh says 'But it's GOOD that it's hard because then there will be less competition!'
He's clearly never looked on the Authonomy wed site! I think a lot of people want to write books, which causes issues as the publishers and agents are so busy shifting through it all.
Oh, he isn't implying there isn't lots of competition, just that there would be even more if it was easy!
There's already loads. A first timer has other first timers to compete with, celebrities
who get a ghost writer and then there's the established writers. It's like trying to get into an exclusive club.
But it is at least a club whose entry is (with the exception of the celebrities) dependent on how good your work is, so you can always improve your odds by working away at making it better, while other people who are less committed fall by the wayside. That's the thing. Keep on plugging away through the grim and frustrating periods and you will emerge on the other side a better writer, with more better odds of success.
I'm well known for being a persistent sod. Problem is, it's so hard to get good feedback. When I do manage to get some I will use it and think it's all OK. Then I send it off, only to find there's more problems with it. I work on it again, send it off, only to be told there's different problems. That's if I get feedback at all. I really don't mind working on it, I hate to waste people's time though and I can't afford an expert eye. It's the same with the picture books.
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