PDA

View Full Version : Do you need to edit your book before submitting to agents



ChristopherPinnock
03-05-2009, 04:54 PM
I have been submitting queries of my novel, THE VALLEY OF DECISION to agents for representation. I'd like to know if I have to edit it before submitting to agents. I have read that agents will assist in getting your book up to par in the process. Afterwards the editor at the publisher will go over it and edit again. My big question is: DO I NEED TO GET SOMEONE TO EDIT MY NOVEL BEFORE I SEARCH FOR AN AGENT?

Mythical Tiger
03-05-2009, 05:25 PM
If you want an agent then your going to have to edit it. You don't want to send a manuscript to an agent and have them send it back because of errors. If you want to look professional and want to show the agent your serious, then yes your gonna have to edit it.


~Sam

Amarie
03-05-2009, 05:55 PM
I have been submitting queries of my novel, THE VALLEY OF DECISION to agents for representation. I'd like to know if I have to edit it before submitting to agents. I have read that agents will assist in getting your book up to par in the process. Afterwards the editor at the publisher will go over it and edit again. My big question is: DO I NEED TO GET SOMEONE TO EDIT MY NOVEL BEFORE I SEARCH FOR AN AGENT?

Editing means many different things. Are you talking about grammar and punctuation, or are you talking about the flow of the story, the plot, the characterization, etc.? If you are talking about grammar and punctuation, it needs to be very, very good. If you don't feel like you know enough to correct your mistakes, get a book or get someone who can both go over the manuscript and teach you. Eventually, writers need to learn how to do this type of editing themselves, if they don't already know it.

If you are talking about the bigger picture, you don't necessarily need a professional editor (they're expensive), you need some good readers who can point out holes in the plot, things that aren't clear, slow parts, etc. Almost always, an agent will expect revisions, but the story had better draw them in and carry them along, or they won't bother to take it a step further.

Clair Dickson
03-05-2009, 06:04 PM
Your story needs to be the very best that it can be. You should have few, if any plot holes and few, if any, spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. The agent may like most of the story, but not like the scene at the end of Chapter 5 and may suggest that you rewrite it a certain way. Similar with an editor at a publishing house. They may not, but my understanding is that your book will be tweaked along the way, in theory to make it sell better.

You don't have to have a professional editor-- a couple beta readers who are critical readers can suffice.

But you want to submit something that is as good as you can make it. Agents look for work that needs the least amount of help before it can sell and make a publisher profit.

Danthia
03-05-2009, 06:07 PM
You don't need to have it professionally edited if that's what you're asking. You do need to polish it to the best of your ability, and if you can get writer friends to help you do that, so much the better. I'm a huge believer in critique groups.

Many agents will help make a great book better, but they expect the book to be professional quality to begin with. This is a business to them and they want to make the best deal they can on every book they sell. Good for them and their clients.

Marina Snow
03-05-2009, 06:39 PM
My big question is: DO I NEED TO GET SOMEONE TO EDIT MY NOVEL BEFORE I SEARCH FOR AN AGENT?

The rest of the posters have answered this but I wanted to let you know that during the process of writing my manuscript, I had several people fall into my life who edited it for free. One was an English teacher and the other was the head librarian at our local library. One of them helped me with the flow of the book as well as grammar and spelling. The other helped with grammar and spelling exclusively. Make a few phone calls to some friends and talk to your local librarians. You don't have to pay a fortune (or even at all) if you can find someone willing to lend a hand.

I sent each a box of organic goodies and a bottle of wine after they finished helping me.

Madisonwrites
03-05-2009, 10:46 PM
I think it's wonderful that you had people willing to crit your novel like that, Marina.

If you truly think that your book is the best it can possibliy be right now, then you have done your job of editing. If you feel it needs tweeking, then do that. But no, you don't have to pay a professional to edit your story before you submit to agents. I dealt with that question myself and the only place it was answered clearly was right here on AW. :)

Good luck and happy writing! :D

Marina Snow
03-05-2009, 11:20 PM
If you truly think that your book is the best it can possibliy be right now, then you have done your job of editing. If you feel it needs tweeking, then do that.
Thanks for all the encouraging words Madison. I have been tweaking and editing my manuscript for a very long time (long after the two people helped me) and every time I read it, I still find grammar or clarity issues. They become less and less each time, but the longer we don't read our manuscript, the easier it is to spot the errors. I usually put my manuscript away for a few weeks before reading it and then edit again. In the interim, I query agents.

:)

ChristopherPinnock
03-06-2009, 01:18 AM
The rest of the posters have answered this but I wanted to let you know that during the process of writing my manuscript, I had several people fall into my life who edited it for free. One was an English teacher and the other was the head librarian at our local library. One of them helped me with the flow of the book as well as grammar and spelling. The other helped with grammar and spelling exclusively. Make a few phone calls to some friends and talk to your local librarians. You don't have to pay a fortune (or even at all) if you can find someone willing to lend a hand.

I sent each a box of organic goodies and a bottle of wine after they finished helping me.

What does double-spacing mean? Double-spacing of every line or double-spacing of dialogues and paragraphs only?

Is it the right way to use Italics for direct thoughts? I use a different font for direct thoughts. What do you use?

mscelina
03-06-2009, 01:22 AM
double spacing means every line is double spaced throughout the manuscript.

italics are usually the norm for thoughts. changing fonts is a big no no.

Do a search on this forum for "standard manuscript format" and most of your questions will be answered. As to the main question, YES, your manuscript needed to be edited--and probably rewritten--several times before you submit it to an agent or a publisher.

Marina Snow
03-06-2009, 04:39 AM
What does double-spacing mean? Double-spacing of every line or double-spacing of dialogues and paragraphs only?

Is it the right way to use Italics for direct thoughts? I use a different font for direct thoughts. What do you use?

mscelina answered you about this but I wanted to say that *as I understand it* every line in the entire manuscript needs to be double-spaced, including any preface or introduction, and any other front matter. I think that the bibliography can be single spaced. Someone might want to correct me if I am mistaken.