A few weeks ago, someone asked me to do a blog on the editing process and who to trust when it comes to submitting your work. After all, there are many people out there who claim to be the best at editorial services and lets face it, you could end up paying quite a substantial amount. Some editorial services are really costly, charging thousands of dollars per word count, while others are quite reasonable. Some offer mentorships and editing, while others focus solely on editing. Some provide feedback and assessments of your manuscript, while others do all of the above. And then, you can also get your mum, sister, well-read beta-reader, writing course classmates or teachers to edit your work: so I get it, it can be confusing! I’m not here to tell you what to do, I’m just going to let you into my own process and how each service worked for me.
I have now paid for my manuscripts to be edited and assessed three times for various projects. I have also been a part of two different writing groups. I have also had university supervisors mentor, edit and assess my manuscript for two years (which was incredibly valuable).
The Manuscript Appraisal Agency: The first service I ever sent my MS to was The MAA who was then owned by Brian Cook, now the director of The Authors’ Agent. This service was one of the best in Australia. There was another one in Perth called, The Book Doctor, and I don’t even know if they’re around anymore. But I decided to go to The MAA and I remember borrowing $800 from my mum for them to assess my entire 400 page manuscript. They didn’t edit it, they just provided an extensive essay summary on my MS and how they saw it fitting in the market. I remember getting their feedback and sobbing my heart out with how utterly shit my MS was. Lol. I was only 18. After dusting myself off, I reworked their suggestions and sent it to the again. Brain Cook remembered me and this time he was really impressed with it. I never cried after getting feedback after that. About five years later, Brian Cook moved from The MAA and started The Authors’ Agent, so I submitted the same MS to him, and luckily he remembered me! He ended up being one of the agents who phoned me to say how much he loved my MS. Of course, I thought I was really close to gaining representation through him. But the ending needed work and I couldn’t be bothered with that story after working on it for about 7 years!
Louise Allan: I came across Louise Allan through another writing course I was doing run by author, Marlish Glorie. I’d heard about Louise through the grapevine and happened to fall upon her awesome blog which I read with interest. She had amazing stories about gaining representation and the road to publication and her agent then was Lyn Tranter who had also showed massive interest in my previous MS. I thought, If Louise could help me with The Hidden, perhaps she could pass on my name to Lyn and Lyn would recognise me. I saw that she did mentorships and editing services, but I didn’t want to be a part of her writing group, as I’d already been through uni doing creative writing and was part of a writers group, so I wanted one-on-one support and her professional feedback and advice. I basically wanted someone who would tell me the truth. She didn’t know me, I didn’t know her, so I knew she would. I sent the first 15,000 words and within a short week, Louise had edited my work and wanted to catch up for an hour long meeting to discuss it. She was blown away by The Hidden and instantly said she’d help me to get it published. It’s having that editor who knows people in the industry, who is well-known in their own right, that makes choosing someone like Louise more attractive than other services. Louise had a big following and was friends with authors who I greatly admired like Natasha Lester. Luckily, because of Louise, I really believe her mentoring, support and absolutely fabulous attention to detail in my edits have got me where I am in such a short time. And now I am connected to really well-known authors! It’s great.
Curtis Brown Creative UK: I also stumbled upon this course 24 hours before the closing date of applying. This course was $3000, but well worth it. I knew a course of this calibre would get me places. When I got accepted (Only 15 were accepted) I understood that this would be an investment into my future. Best selling authors and agents themselves were my teachers. Editors and literary judges and critics were my tutors. The price meant nothing, because I knew what valuable teachings I would get out of it.
There are so many writing courses and editorial services out there now. Back when the Book Doctor and The MAA were the only well-known ones, I didn’t have much choice. Now, most authors are running services too. I think the great thing about going with an author is:
#1 you’re supporting writers.
#2 there are plenty of networking opportunities and potential contacts you could gain through them.
#3 They have knowledge and editorial experience through their own publishers and what they expect to see.
#4 They are great at editing and picking out errors, because they’re constantly editing and reworking their own writing.
I hope this has helped some of you make the choice in who to seek for your editing woes. Look up various services and compare prices and what they offer. Like I mentioned earlier, you may just want an edit, or a mentor, or an assessment, which are three very different services. Choose wisely instead of just sending off to any Joe Blog.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for stopping by,