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Thread: [Editing] The Literary Consultancy

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW GeoffNelder's Avatar
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    [Editing] The Literary Consultancy

    While my subs to agents wait for responses I've sent queries to a few publishers that take unagented submissions. Usually the reject comment is merely a 'not for us', 'too funny for a serious premise', 'too serious', et al. But today a publisher said they didn't have time to write even a short note to hint at why they rejected my masterpiece but recommended I engaged the editorial services of The Literary Consultancy. The implication being that after dishing out hundreds of pounds with them, their report would illuminate my errors. For once instead of responding with a polite thanks for considering my ouevre anyway, I allowed steam to power my keyboard into sending a comment that I thought it smacked of a setup for them to promote another company, whose report, would I engage them, still wouldn't enlighten me as to why my novel was rejected by themselves.
    They responded to say they were not connected to TLC but that it was a reputable company. They miss the point and I say so to them. I've already paid for that novel to be copy edited and critiqued. I know full well that if I paid TLC they will come up with areas of improvement. If you put 5 editors in a room, you will get 6 different opinions. I said I would have appreciated a simple 'too much exposition' or 'characters not sufficiently crazy'. And such a comment would have taken less of their time than the batting to and fro to justify boosting the business of TLC.

    I know TLC are recommended by other publishers and agents - a growing trend. And they are said to be impeccable, but at the AltFiction writers' con last weekend I received comments from several writers who were not happy with the service from TLC - analysis too vague and general to be helpful for example.

    Any one else find this trend regretable?

    Geoff
    Last edited by GeoffNelder; 05-03-2007 at 11:46 PM.

  2. #2
    What publisher was it?

    In general, referring someone to a specific service is a big warning sign.

  3. #3
    Got the hang of it, here Absolute Sage jchines's Avatar
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    This is not a trend I've heard of or encountered myself. A response like that would likely eliminate that publisher from my list of places to submit.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW GeoffNelder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havlen View Post
    What publisher was it?
    Snowbooks.

    To be fair he also said he wished me every success with my writing and best of luck in my placing it elsewhere.


    Geoff

  5. #5
    I'm not as familiar with UK publishers, but they are a small press and looked genuine enough by the website. (At least, no warning signs I saw).

    That said, I wouldn't take it as a sign of things to come simply because one editor said it. Generally speaking, it is common for companies to have policies against referrals to a specific service unless there is an agreement in place. They'll generally advise to refer customers to multiple services. (This is true outside of the publisher world as well as within.) This is just smart business -- you don't want a customer coming back saying "You told me to do this and now..."

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I don't think it's a trend--it's just this particular publisher's way of saying "We pass." Perhaps they feel that they're being helpful by suggesting the service.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    Also, I noted on the website they went to extra lengths to say that they use a form rejection letter and why they use the form letter. If you did get a personal reply that is usually a good sign.

  8. #8
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  9. #9
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Anyone had any dealing with these guys recently?

    I noticed on the Hodder site that they recomend them. Price seems steep though - I can get a crit from my beta for the cost of a 6 pack.

    Anyone here used them? How many authors are they able to get agents for?
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  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW GeoffNelder's Avatar
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    Shaldna, you don't mention which agency you are asking about. Surely not The Literary Consultancy or one of their many offspring - well known to be shark infested. Their ads appear in many respectable places including The TImes website, but mainly because they pay an agency [sic] to place them and the host site then has little control.

    Geoff

  11. #11
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    In most cases, an editing firm is useless. An editing firm being recommended by agencies and/or publishers is ESPECIALLY useless because not only does said editing firm usually lack the editing skills of a professional but it also ALWAYS spells out that there's a kickback to someone somewhere. In that case, I'd avoid any agency and/or publisher that would recommend one. Paying an editing firm (with credentials and experience) could be useful to a niche market work or a non-fiction work, or if you feel your editing skills are REALLY bad and you would benefit from seeing a pro do it, but that's about it.

    Pick up some books on editing (I know somewhere in this forum there's probably recommendations), get some beta readers and save your money.
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  12. #12
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    There are some respectable editorial consultancies here in the UK. We've had the debate several times about whether it is worthwhile using one and my position has been clearly set out.
    What is also clear is that the attitude to using such a consultancy is quite different in the US to the UK. To broadly state that an editing firm is useless is not in my view, or experience, correct.
    Last edited by waylander; 02-20-2010 at 12:54 AM.

  13. #13
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Snowbooks is a very well-respected independent press, and that I am certain it will not be accepting kickbacks for referring writers to the Literary Consultancy.

    I can understand the concerns voiced here, but in this case I'm convinced that they're baseless.

    Whether or not an editing service is worthwhile for anyone or not is a whole different matter which has been discussed many times here now.

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