Editors and Agents -- experiences and stuff

So I’ve pulled on my big girl pants and have decided I want to be just like everyone else and get their book published :raised_hands:t2::tada: I’m hoping self publication is a last choice; I don’t have the money for it. So I’m hoping to get my hopes and dreams stomped on and attempt to get traditionally published.

I don’t really know how to go about finding an editor other than a quick Google search. I don’t really have any idea about prices, reliability, the procedure, the next step, the works.

On the other hand, agents. Would I need to get one to get traditionally published? I dunno what to do about that aspect of things.

Soooo, yeah. Cool famous writing peeps, help a noob out :ok_hand:t2:


I’m no expert but the writers market almanac is a great place to look for editors. Here’s a website that my old teacher mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It might be helpful.


Also something like the writers market (current year) is good because it takes the guesswork out of figuring out the market. Let’s say someone is interested in an editor/agent based on his /her credentials. The market book says he doesn’t accept fantasy or sci fi and that’s what the author writes. You know to avoid submission to that person because they’re not worth sending to. It’ll be an automatic reject.

Don’t get roped into paying services for agents or editors. Those people are not really in the author’s best interest and why would you pay for someone to read your work and possibly reject it? It’s too much of a gamble. Most self respecting agents will read your work for free.

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Not sure I’m famous, in fact I’m pretty sure I’m not but there you go.

In order to get trad pubbed you need to have

  • a unique story that fits the current market requirements
  • it needs to be polished to the n’th degree
  • clear synopsis, perfect query letter (well, as perfect as you can make it)

How much feedbac have you got on the story you want to query? I did hire a developmental editor to check my story, but that costs money. If you are part of critique groups and have betas, that might be enough for the moment. Your story must be as perfect in terms of grammar and punctuation as you can make it, however there are tools for that, and they don’t cost a bomb.

If you find an agent, they will help you tweaking the story further. A publisher will provide you with an editor (I’mgoing through that process right at the moment). You either query agents (for the bigger publishers) or you try indie presses. You could check out the pitmad events. That’s how I found my publisher.

But to be very clear - what you submit has to be pretty professional in the first place.

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Also to harp on the point of agents/editors and pitches.

Pitmad is great, like an online writers conference where everyone does an elevator pitch.

But writers conferences are a really great way of networking. I’ve never been to a really big one like RWA’s or any of the ones that get huge names but the chance to mingle with agents and editors in person is even greater than online. At least an agent is looking at you and more likely to give you a chance to listen to you than if you were on a computer. It is much easier to pitch on a computer than in person though, I’ll bet.

Writers conferences are more expensive but they’re worth it for the networking and potential publishing. However Pitmad, you get all the benefits of pitching without having to pay for a conference fee

What do you mean? Aren’t you supposed to be paying for their services? Like, $80 per 10K words or something?

For an editor perhaps. But for the initial submission for a literary agent, no. Any literary agent who asks for money upfront is more than likely going to scam you.

Yeah, I know. I’m pulling out as many stops as I can to do that. But I feel that I need my book to have a complete look over before it even goes to the first stage of publication.

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Seems legit.

That’s a good approach,:+1: I did the same. Developmentals are costly though. Even copyediting or proofing doesn’t come that cheap. Before you invest in a developmental, try to get betas and into a critique group. Cheaper that way

How costly? What’s the difference between developmentals and copyediting?

This is what google told me:

So, what is this difference? Copy editing (sometimes written as one word – copyediting), is checking a copy for spelling, capitalization, punctuation, verb tenses and other grammatical errors. … Content editing (also called developmental editing or substantive editing), as the name implies, involves checking the content.

If you are going the traditional route, you don’t need to pay for an editor - that’s what your publisher does.

Yes, if you go traditional, the first step is to write a query letter and research agents that represent your kind of work. Here is a link that should help.

No. When traditional publishing, the money flows TO the author. You shouldn’t have to pay anything. It’s only when you self-publish…when you ARE the publisher that you hire editors and yes in THAT model you have to pay them.

Some authors will pay to have their book edited because it’ll make it stronger during the pitching, but in your original post you said you didn’t want to self-publish because you don’t have the money for it. You are kinda doing the worst of the two worlds…paying for editing (like a self-published author) but going the traditional route (which will have lower per book income).

FWIW - I DO NOT suggest any author pay for developmental editing. The reasons are (a) it’s very costly (b) its very subjective © the good ones are all booked and you can’t get them and the bad ones (who have time on their hands) are just as likely to harm as to help.

A BETTER choice to get developmental feedback is beta readers and finding a critique partner in your genre where they can read/comment on your work and you can read/comment on their work. Yes, it is time consuming, but it’s free and you’ll get a more “well rounded” evaluation because you have multiple opinions. Plus, you learn a lot by critiquing the other author’s work – I found that even more valuable then the other way around.

So in short of everything you just said:

  • Find beta readers

  • Find critique partner

  • Find agent

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Mostly, but there are some other steps as well.

  • Write the first draft
  • Let it sit for 2 - 6 weeks and consider if there are weak areas that need addressing
  • Go back and fix items found in #2
  • Read the book from cover to cover like a reader and see if it is as good as you can make it.
  • Go over the whole book for line editing and copyediting to get it as polished as you can make it

At this point you have a book that is “ready for others” and the others would be critique partners and beta readers. You may have to go through several “rounds” which each depending on how strong or weak the versions they get are. Once your critique partners and beta readers are all singing the praises of the book, then you are ready to move onto querying an agent.

If you go the traditional route you don’t need to pay for an editor. They will provide editors. Keep in mind, though, that your manuscript needs to be as good as you can get it.

The size of the publisher you’re after will determine if you need an agent. The Big-5 don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts so you’ll need an agent if you want to be published by one of them (e.g., Penguin, Hatchett). Small publishers and many medium sized ones don’t require an agent. But you have to look at what a small publisher can do for you that you can’t do yourself.

Hey, so. If you’re looking for beta readers, I use a site (not affiliated in anyway but willing to take their money if they’re interested) called betabooks.

Like wattpad it allows inline comments but also questionnaires for the readers, or guiding comments before and after the chapters. The free version lets you have one book and three beta readers, and there’s also a list of beta readers you can look through to contact, though I don’t remember it that falls under the free membership or not. Books are only viewable if you invite a reader, so strangers can’t just stumble over your work.

The main draw is the comments and questionnaires available, and he database of readers you can query to beta read your book. Otherwise gdocs has all the same functionalities. Still, worth taking a look if you’re serious about beta readers.

Interesting. I’ve never heard of them. I do have questionnaires for my beta readers. I find it’s necessary to get the feedback I’m looking for and to make sure they are “on track” with reading and deadlines, as I can see who has read what chapter when.

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