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[Critique/editing] Where Books Begin, LLC

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Alpha Echo

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Never heard of them, but it doesn't seem good. A lot of those services they "offer" you can get for free from ready and willing readers and writers here or friends and family. Seems like a scam to me.
 

Medievalist

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Bad idea; they're either clueless or not what they appear.

Plus, they've subjected the English language and HTML to cruel and unusual punishment, which suggests that they're not professionals.
 

Sakamonda

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A writer who can't write his own query letter is a writer who can't write his own book, either.

What a scam.
 

jamiehall

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Legitimate pre-agents exist in the UK. As far as I've heard, none exist in America.
 

Old Hack

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Really, Jamie? I don't know about any. Not that I'm being snarky, it's just something I haven't come across. Can you name some names?
 

Stacia Kane

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Geez, what a crock that whole setup is. $350 for a one-page "reader's report"? How much do you want to bet the report says the books shows real potential but the writer needs help developing it and, gee, WBB can help!

$20 per page for copyediting?!

But this is far and away my favorite part:

AGENT LIST ($200) - Only ten percent of books are sold through agents, but it's the top ten percent. This is a selective list of agents who know how to sell your kind of book, agents that I can personally guarantee are not senile, opportunistic, thieving or hopelessly green.

SUBMISSION TO AGENTS [PER ROUND] ($250) - If you really hate the posting and packing details, we can do them for you, twenty at a time, with follow-up materials sent as part of the package. We are not agents but we are willing to be postal clerks for authors who just can't be bothered.


$200.00 for information you can get for free at any one of a dozen websites, and $250 for them to send snail-mail queries and "follow-up materials" (whatever those are). Um, what if the agents prefer or only take email queries, as most do these days?

Oh! Or this:

OUTLINE FOR FICTION ($300) - No editor is going to read your entire novel before deciding on a contract, even if you cured her pug's cancer. Therefore you have to provide the beleaguered editor with a road map that she can speed through to see how brilliantly you present your characters, how richly complex your plot is and how original your use of setting turns out to be. If you don't want to strip the beautiful writing down to short sentences, we will undertake to convey the book's magic in three perfect pages.

No editor is going to read the whole book before deciding on a contract? Are they serious? Gee, I'm pretty sure my new editor read my entire book before she made an offer. How the heck are they going to convey all of that in three pages, and why? A synopsis is simply to let the agent/editor know you can create a coherent plot and that the book has an actual ending. What on earth are they talking about here?

I think the opposite is true: No editor is going to decide to offer a contract based on a three-page summary (for a brand-new writer of fiction, I mean; obviously established writers sell on proposal all the time and non-fic is different.)

Unbelievable. What a scam. This is disgusting.
 

jamiehall

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Really, Jamie? I don't know about any. Not that I'm being snarky, it's just something I haven't come across. Can you name some names?

I'm not a UK resident, but I know I've heard of "pre-agents" from sources I trust (I just can't remember where at the moment). I believe they are called literary consultancies or perhaps literary scouts.

Hopefully, someone more knowledgeable than myself will come by soon. However, just poking around briefly with google, I found a comment (by isbfy) on this Miss Snark blog post.
 

waylander

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Yeah. Book doctors/literary consultants exist in the UK and have a legitimate role. I used one.
They cost, but if you're in the right place (having done the SYW/writing group critiques) then they can work. They give you a detailed critique and then refer you on to their contacts if they think you work stands up. Not a scam, you get a proper detailed critique, but your work has got to be nearly there for it to progress.
 

JJ Cooper

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We have 'Manuscript Assessment Services" here in Aus. Some good - some not so good. Members of the Australian Literary Agents' Association are not allowed to offer reading fees or editing fees (amongst other things) within their Code of Practise.

There was an interesting post recently on an Australian Literary Agent's Blog (Agent Sydney). An Australian agent who is not a member of the ALAA replied to why she charges assessment fees and why she thinks it is okay to do so. Here's an except:

While I do understand that reputable literary agents do not charge any upfront fees I do not feel that agenting and assessing need to be mutually exclusive. In my own case, the decision to take on manuscript appraisal came partly out of financial need. More importantly though, having seen a number of so-called assessments sent to me by potential clients, I felt that I could provide a more professional service - one that would at least give the client an honest opinion and not be a financial rip-off. Some of these 'assessments' were merely a synopsis, many were semi-literate and/or littered with typos and at least one was done by someone listed on the AALA website under 'Literary Contacts', so there is no quality control there either.

I do many assessments myself but I also have two Sydney-based senior editors I can and do call on for assistance or to do the entire report. If I liked a manuscript enough to think that I could find a publisher for the author I would offer representation and, on securing a contract with a publisher, refund the fee the author had paid for the assessment.

I can understand the reasoning behind the assessment service in an Australian market. I didn't use one before submitting, but if I didn't get picked up - I may have used one. Something I didn't consider at the time.

Just thought I'd let you know that other countries have different 'accepted' practises.

JJ
 

FOTSGreg

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Ellen E.M. Roberts, Editor in Chief – George Flexior, Traffic- Mary Ellen Gavin, Script Consultant-Ellen V. LiBretto, Book Marketing - Doug Wink, Art Director - Elena Vimercati, Web Design/Internet Promotion –Viqui Maggio, Designer and Illustrator

The EoC (Roberts) has some credentials, but those prices are so sky high they're obviously only looking to take your money, not help you make your money.

Instead of sending them $100 for a Query letter, send me $5 and I'll whip one right up for ya' (rtf, doc, text, or pdf format or all 4 for one easy, low price). You can even pay me via PayPal. For $5 a pop I'll pump these out until my fingers bleed and my printer fizzles from the heat.
 

Sakamonda

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I think the going rate for professional copyeditors these days is $3-$5 a page. $20 a page is outrageous.
 

victoriastrauss

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There was an interesting post recently on an Australian Literary Agent's Blog (Agent Sydney). An Australian agent who is not a member of the ALAA replied to why she charges assessment fees and why she thinks it is okay to do so. Here's an except:

I think Agent Sydney's statement is very telling--she started doing assessments "partly" out of financial need. If she were selling books, surely she wouldn't be in financial need. So I'm guessing that she has a scanty track record--which in turn suggests that her opinion should be taken with a giant grain of salt.

I contacted a literary agent at the Australian Curtis Brown a few years ago to ask about agents' opinions of assessments, and he told me that he and other agents pay little attention to them, partly because they are aware that many of the assessment services aren't reputable, but mostly because they prefer to make their own assessments, rather than relying on other people's opinions.

I also contacted around 30 UK agents last year to ask the same question, and most said pretty much the same thing.

Bottom line: if the assessment service is reputable, it may give you some good feedback that you can use to make your manuscript better, but it won't necessarily get you any closer to publication.

- Victoria
 

Old Hack

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Thank you, Victoria. That's very interesting to know.
 

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