Thanks so much to everyone who came out for our first-ever Blydyn Square Books free webinar on May 1, 2021 (stay tuned for news about more workshops we’ll be planning over the next few months!).
This time, the topic was “The Bitter Truth About Submissions: What You’re Doing Wrong When You Send Your Work to Agents and Publishers.”
We covered some of the most common mistakes writers make when they submit their work and how to avoid them. For anyone who missed it, here’s a screencast of the first part of the webinar, where I went through a lineup of the most frequently seen “literary criminals” we encounter in submissions.
In our Q&A session after the presentation, we talked a lot about how important it’s become to hire a professional editor to help you thoroughly develop your work before you even think about submitting it for consideration. I promised to post some places where you can find good editors (and not use your aunt Sally or some shyster who self-published a book and is now hawking his/her services as an experienced “editor”).
First, you need to know what kind of editing your work needs. If you’re not sure, publishing professional Jane Friedman has some excellent information on her website to help you figure it out.
Once you know if you’re looking for a developmental editor, copy editor, proofreader, or what, you can do a simple Google search or try one of the websites that vet freelance editors for you, like those listed on The Write Life. Places like Authors Publish can also help you find places to submit your work (thanks, Marylou Ambrose, for that tip!).
Beware, though: In my experience, even a lot of the editors listed on these sites, who have supposedly been checked by the websites, are NOT legitimate, professional editors, so always be sure to do your own homework.
Check the person’s credentials:
- Has he/she worked as an editor (not an assistant, not a writer, not an agent, not a marketing professional) in traditional publishing for a long time (anything less than 5 years and you’re dealing with a newbie)?
- Is his/her website well written and free of errors?
- What are his/her rates (if they don’t say upfront, you’re probably dealing with a scammer who hopes to suck you in once you start corresponding)?
Use your common sense, do a little digging, and see if the person seems smart and experienced, and if he/she feels like a good fit for you and your work.
Note: Most real editors will NOT do a sample edit for free. If someone offers to do even a page or two, the chances are he/she is not an experienced professional editor. Can you imagine asking a plumber to install a few free pipes so you can “try out” his work? Of course not. Don’t expect an editor to do the same thing. You wouldn’t work for free, so why should we?
Of course, the best place to find a good editor is from someone you trust—a writer friend, a colleague, someone you know who’s worked with the editor and knows his/her work.
I hope this helps! And as always, feel free to reach out if you need more advice: firstname.lastname@example.org