View Full Version : Final answer

04-12-2006, 08:44 PM
If an agent decides to represent you, there should be no fees for editing.
If the ms needs editing, which I assume some will, there is no charge to the author. Correct?

Kasey Mackenzie
04-12-2006, 08:56 PM
1. Correct.

2. Depends. What I mean by this is that if an agent loves your story enough and it just needs some minor editing they will probably go ahead and give you useful comments on how to go about doing that. If we're talking major editing, the agent will most likely pass on your ms.

But yes, the general consensus I've seen is that reputable agents do NOT charge for editing and typically do not refer you to professional editors who charge. Obviously, there may be a few exceptions, but this is the norm.

04-12-2006, 08:56 PM
I know of at least one or two professional authors who have paid editors to help them with their manuscripts. With that said...

If an agent makes a referral to a specific editor, I'd run away.

If an agent takes you on, and then says you need an editor, I'd run away.

If an agent says s/he might be willing to represent you, but first you need to get the manuscript edited, and either does not give you a specific editor or else provides a list of editors with verifiable credentials, that might still be legitimate.


If the agent sells your manuscript to a publisher, there will be editing, and you will not be charged. The publisher should pay for copy edits, as well as any larger changes your editor at the publishing house wants to see.

One possible source of confusion is the difference between your editor at the publisher, who will work with you to make the book as good as it can be, and shouldn't charge you a dime for it (in fact, they should be paying you), and a freelance editor who isn't associated with a publisher and works with authors to get manuscripts ready to submit.

I hope all of that made sense. Another late night with the baby, so my brain's still a little fuzzy.

04-12-2006, 08:59 PM

I hear ya, I have my niece's 8 month old daughter over every Tues. night and between her coughing and hubby's snoring, I need major amounts of caffiene today.

What would constitute major editing?

Massive amounts of spelling errors? A few misplaced commas? I would guess each agent has their own limit, I'd just like a ballpark idea.

Daughter of Faulkner
04-12-2006, 11:11 PM
once it reaches an editor's or publisher's hand.

No run-ons, misspelled words, no holes in the body mss, pristine. THEN, if he falls in love with the story, he will sit down with you and edit line by line.

It should look pleasing to the eye with the words jumping off the page. Usually, you only get one shot with each editor unless for some reason they want your story and you enough to spend their valuable time on...

Keep writing!

Good wishes to you.

04-13-2006, 12:40 AM
The editing that most agent do with you is not *proofreading* you should be able to do that yourself. They will work things like small pacing problems, too little character development, small plot holes. Editing is very different than proofreading. The agent will help you see the things that you didn't see. You should be able to see the spelling errors.

04-13-2006, 12:41 AM
Hmmm, I was reading my post and oit sounded kind of unfriendly and brusque. Didn't mean to come across that way. :)
Maprilynne ;)

04-13-2006, 12:56 AM
It's OK I didn't take it that way.

I'm just paranoid. I've gone over grammar and all that, rereading and brushing up, but I'm afraid that my comma usage is...flighty.

I guess what I'm asking is, if they really like the story, will they work with you?

04-13-2006, 01:15 AM
[QUOTE=Baywitch] What would constitute major editing? QUOTE]

Identification of under-developed themes, plot holes, uneven pacing, under-developed characters, loose ends and some kind of suggestion of how to fix these

Daughter of Faulkner
04-13-2006, 03:25 AM
he'll fix you right up with all the help you need providing he sees you gave it your best shot.
Why not pay someone you know who is an English major / Professor not a Creative Writing person for they might try to put in their 2-cents to change the story, etc., and you don't need that, pay a professional to edit the entire mss for small stuff like that. Set the fee at whatever you deem fair and then you will have bought yourself piece of mind if nothing else. And there's a lot to be said for that. Get it straight up front what they are to do for you and nothing more.

Keep writing!

PS And YES if they LIKE or LOVE your story, and agent will do whatever is necessary to make it pristine before it hits an in-house-editor's desk.

04-14-2006, 07:23 PM
Thanks, both my niece and her husband are English majors. Neither has time. :Shrug:

04-14-2006, 07:36 PM
What would constitute major editing?

Massive amounts of spelling errors? A few misplaced commas? I would guess each agent has their own limit, I'd just like a ballpark idea.If your ms. manifests these kinds of basic errors, no one is going to take you on. They aren't going to read past that stuff to find the good story buried underneath (if there is one. I frankly think that if you can't write a good sentence, you probably can't write a good story either). You need to be self-sufficient at the technical level--grammar, spelling, etc.--in order to have a chance.

On the other hand, perfect grammar and spelling do not a salable manuscript make--there's a lot more to it than that. And a few typos are not going to sink your chances if you have a marketable work.

Many (though by no means all) agents work with their authors to polish their mss. prior to submission (and polish is the operative word. A good agent isn't going to offer representation unless your ms. is basically publishable as is). They don't charge for this--it's part of the service covered by their eventual 15% commission.

- Victoria