S igh. I always knew I wouldn’t get away with it. These days, an author is living in a fairy tale if she expects to sail through from agent to publisher without making drastic improvements to her manuscript. At the suggestion of my agent Jill Marr, I have engaged a professional editor to work with me and take my novel up a notch.
Everyone tells you that publishing is under siege and in a time of transition; but what does that mean to authors? It means you pay for your own professional editor if you want your manuscript to get serious consideration from a publisher.
In the old days, publishers were willing to take a promising manuscript and assign it to an in-house editor who would work with an author to develop the book. Bring out themes, resolve plot issues, deepen the story, make the characters more complex, or rearrange scenes for more impact. These days, publishers lack the resources to assign an in-house editor to work with an author for 6 – 24 months before taking a book to market. Lots of them had to lay off editors and some good editors left publishing houses to freelance because the work environment isn’t what it used to be. Hence, today’s publishers want writing that’s as close as possible to market-ready. They may invest editing resources for a writer they know can get the job done but hey, I’m just a newbie. They won't be doing it for me. And let's not even talk about marketing investment.
You can imagine how excited I am to be working with Jennifer Pooley, an experienced and enthusiastic editor that Jill recommended. Jen was a Senior Editor with HarperCollins Publishers imprints William Morrow and Harper Perennial. I regard this as a very positive step. As writers we are always learning, always improving our craft. Jennifer’s feedback at this stage of my writing career is so valuable and will accelerate my learning curve.
Have any of you dealt with a freelance development editor? Share your experience and write a comment below!
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