View Full Version : Agents and editing

11-17-2004, 07:40 AM
New to the business, but I can't see where an agent couldn't have an editing service he trusts. After all we're both after the same goal, and that is to sell my work.

11-17-2004, 07:57 AM
You're confusing an author-paid editing service and an editor at a publishing house. I'll leave a full explanation to the pros because DVORAK IS HARD!:cry

11-17-2004, 08:17 AM
I see your point, but either way am I not still charged for editing service?

11-17-2004, 08:37 AM
With a legitimate publisher, if there is any need for editing, the publisher assumes that expense. The author will likely be involved in reviewing and approving any recommended changes, but the author isn't charged for that.

When an agent suggests that you use an editing service so that your book will sell, the author is responsible for the cost. One of the risks in this is that the agent may be receiving a finder's fee from the editing service. As well, there is no guarantee that the changes will be suitable to the publisher, assuming that one wants the manuscript. In fact, it wouldn't be at all unreasonable to presume that the publisher will want the manuscript edited to the publisher's standards. Consequently, spending money on an editing job before acceptance is usually a waste of the author's money unless the author's writing skills are so absolutely atrocious that only pre-editing will gain the manuscript a reading.

11-17-2004, 10:26 AM
Thank you Dave. I have done tons of research trying to be as right as rain when I submit my novel. It must be the editing services that keep the search pages full preaching, your work needs to be edited before submitting, even to an agent. They really had me worried. I'm lucky, I couldn't afford it.

11-17-2004, 11:51 AM
Some agents edit or help you brainstorm problems, no charge.


11-17-2004, 12:10 PM
Cham -

Depending on the quality of your draft and your knowledge of the craft, it can be not only appropriate but also beneficial to have your novel evaluated by a professional editor or story analyst before submitting to agents.

A large number of manuscripts are submitted to agents before they are ready to be submitted. Many writers do not have the tools to take them to the next level - i.e. the level where an agent would sign you.

Although there are many bad editors and scammers out there, just because someone charges for their services does not mean they are trying to rip-off writers. There are some very talented, honorable hardworking editors out there and they have every right to charge for their services.

11-17-2004, 09:47 PM
My apoliges to the editing profession. I certainly did not mean to discredit any of you. Your services are highly valued and needed, espically from dumb 'ol boys like me. I can tell you first hand that whatever the fee it's worth it. My novel is lengthy and would cost around $3000 to edit. No money, no editor, so I was forced to attempt a self-edit. You talk about work! My wife and I went over and over and over a 262,507 word novel. GEEZE! I can only pray by the time the next book is finished I can afford the luxuary of a professional.

I might note that during my automotive career I too was put in the same position. Sorry but the doors are open to make a profit, no money, no repair. Lest we forget.

Randy Chambers

Julie Worth
11-18-2004, 04:19 AM

You may have too many words there. Most agents Iíve queried donít want more than 120k for a first time author, with 80-120 being a typical range. Of course, after you make it big, then you can do anything you want.

11-18-2004, 07:04 AM
The story grew. Everytime I reread I found something to add. It is being looked at to see about breaking it up into a series. Something I should have already done when the story began to grow. BUT THAT'S MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT. (Quote from song) If I had done that one would have already been on the market. OK since I'm dreaming, and the publisher would be begging for more. A-A-AH!


11-23-2004, 04:18 PM

I've read that Novels are generally between 45,000 words and 120,000 words. So it's likely that you have way too many words.

It's a good idea for beginning writers to first learn the format that their scripts should be written in (this includes length and word count). Then you stick to the standard, finish the script, and move on to your next project. Send out the first, and if need be, use a script consultant.

No one would charge you $3000 for an edit. That person is an obvious con artist. Legit consultants/editors generally charge in the low hundreds (some even lower than that).

ALso, buy books on novel writing. Buying books and consulting professionals is a worthwhile investment of your money and time. Or if you can take classes that helps.

11-24-2004, 03:01 AM
Novel length: 50,000 is about as low as you can go, unless it's something like The Time Machine, which everyone already knows about so it isn't a sales problem.

A book that's 120,000 words long is not a problem if you're an established author with lots of enthusiastic readers, because the publisher gets substantial economies of scale on books with high print runs.

If you're Joe Schmoe, nobody's ever heard of you before, and the default promotion every conventional publisher does for every title is only going to wind up selling four or five thousand copies of your book, the economies of scale are not going to be on your side, and 120,000 words may be hard to justify. Ninety thou is easier.

11-26-2004, 12:58 AM
Thanks to all for the valued information. The book is being reviewed and I am breaking it up into a series, the first being at 80-85000 words. Would this be too long for a beginning author? If the book did get accepted by an agent and later published, with a little rewrite I would already have 3-4 manuscripts to follow up.
Another question, I have received an offer to co-write a how to book. The main author has been persued by this company to write the book and has a contract to do so. She has the expertise, but not the talent to write so that it dosen't read like a boring text book. My job is to turn it into an enjoyful reading expierence. That I can do. My question is, since I am now an unknown author, should I wait until the book is published before submitting my novel. At least then I would have some credit. Or should I say in the credit line that I am a co-author of a book soon to be released?


11-28-2004, 10:34 AM
"My question is, since I am now an unknown author, should I wait until the book is published before submitting my novel. At least then I would have some credit. Or should I say in the credit line that I am a co-author of a book soon to be released?"

I don't think there's any real reason to wait. After you've signed the contract to work on the book, then you can mention it in your credit line. As it currently stands, you aren't the co author yet.

James D. Macdonald
11-02-2005, 03:28 PM
No, it isn't necessary to have your book "professionally edited" before submitting it.

No, it isn't kosher for an agent to suggest one specific "editing service."