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How can I find a good freelance fiction editor?

(19 Posts)
becstarsky Fri 20-Jul-12 11:38:05

So I've written a thriller which I want to put on Kindle as a 99p book. I'm not expecting to make my fortune or be 'discovered', I just like the idea of marketing it myself and would be delighted if I made a couple of hundred pounds. When I submitted it to an agency (Darley Anderson) they said lots of nice things but that although they wanted to read anything else that I wrote in future, the setting and main character meant that it wasn't 'mass market'. They are absolutely right, and being 'niche' isn't ideal for conventional publishing, whereas it can work well in e-books.

But the Kindle 99p thrillers are often really badly edited (or not edited at all!) and I don't want my work to go out like that.

Of course I've been through lots of rewrites, it's been critiqued by my writers' group and my friends, and obviously I've been through it a hundred times looking for continuity, typos etc. It's not enough, it needs an editor before I hit the 'publish' button.

There are a lot of editorial services advertised for this growing market of self-published authors, and it's hard to know whether they are money-making schemes or reputable editors with the right genre experience. I have no idea what a reasonable price would be (it's 86,800 words in length). I have no idea where to find someone. Does anyone have any recommendations or thoughts? All gratefully received!

Condensedmilk Fri 20-Jul-12 11:45:54

Watching with interest, as I hope to be in your position in the near future.

Congratulations on finishing your book. smile
I'm a journalist (or I was until recently) and like you, want to publish my in-progress novel via Kindle, and also like you, I agree that good editing is vital.

becstarsky Fri 20-Jul-12 12:39:22

Thank you Condensedmilk for the congratulations! It's my third book, but the first two weren't good enough and are going to stay hidden in my sock drawer grin

I'm finding the process quite exciting - doing a marketing plan, looking at cover designs etc. How are along are you with your book? (Always sounds like a pregancy, doesn't it?)

Condensedmilk Fri 20-Jul-12 16:56:48

5000 words blush

It's a lot harder than I thought it would be...

becstarsky Fri 20-Jul-12 18:39:23

It is hard, isn't it? Once again, a bit like being a mum. If anyone told me beforehand how hard writing/motherhood were going to be, I might never have bothered with either of them! Yet they're the two things I love best about my life, so go figure...

Have you got a plan of where the plot of your book goes from here? I quite often write a beginning to a novel at a blistering pace, hit a brick wall and want to give up. I put it away, and sometimes it keeps calling me. In which case I take it out, rework it, and write a plot plan for it then write doggedly to the plan for a while. I've abandoned a lot more books than I've finished though and I've made so many mistakes with my writing. The best advice I heard was an author I was listening to on the radio who said that the only way to finish writing a book is not to stop writing it until it's finished. Sounds very simplistic, but it keeps me going on the days when I've lost faith.

justonemorethread Fri 20-Jul-12 18:47:34

Actually I used to be an assistant editor for a London publishing company. I'm now a sahm and would like to do a bit of freelance work.
I'm rusty and don't remember all the proper symbols when editing to send to a printer, so am not ready to offer my services to big publishing companies.

I would love to get back in to it, so could find out going rate and make it very competitive!

Pm me if you're interested!

Hope I won't get in trouble for posting this- we can always report and delete!

justonemorethread Fri 20-Jul-12 18:50:51

Oh however if you want structural work/plot work then I'm not a crime writing expert.

Just grammar, spelling and finding inconsistencies, mainly.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 20-Jul-12 18:50:52

I'm looking for some help. I write children's fiction though. I do have readers but they don't flag up any problems, which is a problem for me as I can't improve it. Another problem is that I'm really short on funds. sad

becstarsky Fri 20-Jul-12 19:12:19

I'll pm you over the weekend so we can have a chat justonemorethread - am on phone so can't do it straight away. Thanks for letting me know.

Do you go to a writers' group LadySybil? Mine are brutal - which I find invaluable! I find with friends that I only ask the ones who would say 'yes your bum looks huge in that'! My 'nice' friends are no use at all for critiquing.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 20-Jul-12 19:18:41

I haven't managed to find any here, yet. They are not friends, they are other writers that I have met on Twitter. I'm in an online critique group as well but it doesn't seem to help. I get a lot of 'your character is well developed/your descriptions are amazing/you'll find a publisher for that' etc. I've had a couple of agents interested but it doesn't seem to work out. It has to be my writing, but I can't see where I'm going wrong and I can't get the feedback.

becstarsky Fri 20-Jul-12 19:22:49

Oh sorry - how frustrating for you. It is such a hard business.

LadySybildeChocolate Fri 20-Jul-12 19:29:49

It is a little, I want to improve though and am finding this quite hard as I just can't get the feedback. My novel is with a publisher at the moment, she was going to look at it a few weeks ago and send me some feedback, I've not heard back yet though. I know she's busy but I feel as though there's things wrong with it that I can't see and she must hate it (I'm probably being paranoid).

tenlittlebuns Fri 20-Jul-12 19:33:47

OP, you will find a reputable copy editor if you consult the SFEP website. You can see from the directory entries what areas each editor specializes in, how much experience/qualifications they have.

justonemorethread Fri 20-Jul-12 20:16:40

Just to comfort you all, I used to sit in front if the unsolicited manuscripts and at one point it was my job to keep on top of it. It was a tall bookshelf, prob 5 or 6 shelves high. It was always so full stuff would topple out. Reading everything would have been a full time job, really.

But we did try to give everyone a chance. Sometimes things would sit for weeks before being touched.

Sometimes you would read something you liked, but too similar to others. Sometimes senior editors would like it but then it would get rejected by management or marketing.

It's very very tough, I admire anyone with the resilience to keep trying!

becstarsky Mon 23-Jul-12 16:48:57

Thanks for that link tenlittlebuns - I've got a short list of editors to email with an enquiry now. I still don't know how much it will cost, and am not sure how to choose the best person.

And I owe you a PM onemorethread! - haven't been at my computer but I will be in touch. It's grammar, spelling, and howlers that I want a final pair of eyes on so you might be the right person.

medievalgirl Tue 24-Jul-12 23:11:57

Becstarsky, I can't help with recommending an editor, I'm afraid, but may I be cheeky and ask how long you had to wait for a response from Darley Anderson? I've subbed to them and the wait is killing me! (Sorry to jump on your thread and ask an unrelated question.)

LadySybildeChocolate Tue 24-Jul-12 23:19:53

Some of them don't reply, medievalgirl. I've been waiting for 16 months for RCW to get back to me. Just keep submitting elsewhere. smile

PiedWagtail Tue 24-Jul-12 23:28:41

Look at the SfEP site for specialist fiction editors - Most copy-editors worth their salt will belong to the SfEP smile but they are professionals and will charge as such.

becstarsky Wed 25-Jul-12 11:11:20

Hi medievalgirl - it was 12 days. I submitted via email and they replied via email. Their response was very positive, even though it was a rejection sad Ah well. They were also very professional, unlike other agencies I've submitted to. I'll send them my next book - they asked me to do so in their reply but I would anyway as their response was so thoughtful and prompt.

One agency I submitted to were just awful. I carefully researched the agent I was submitting to - who he'd taken on recently, what he'd said in interviews etc. I wrote a very carefully crafted submission with my work set out in the exact way the agency specified on their website. Six weeks later I received a photocopy of a standard rejection letter with my name scrawled on it in biro and a tea stain on it. They had mis-spelt my name. I won't say which agency as I do want to be an author one day and don't want to piss off the industry! But I figure that if they're that sloppy about how they respond to submissions I wouldn't want to be represented by them anyway. We're all busy at work, but I'd never send something out that looked like that. Take some pride, people!

Thanks PiedWagtail I've got a shortlist from that website and am going to e-mail them. Very kind of you!

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