Writing Hacks: Should I Pay For An Editor? (Traditional Publishing)

Short answer: no.

Absolutely not.

Hear me out, though. If you are hoping to go the traditional route, you should never--under any circumstances--pay for an editor.

If you are self-publishing, the situation is different, my friend (this is an entirely separate blog post that needs to be conducted).

So, in general, let's take a brief overview of what this process looks like for a writer who is wanting to get traditionally published.

You wrote a book. This is good. This is the first step. (Enter thumbs up emoji here.)
But, you are concerned that the book you wrote is up to no good. This conclusion came to you after sending 5.1 million query letters to literary agents, and receiving a rejection for them all at the same time, causing an explosion of some sort in your inbox.

Well, we most certainly don't want that.

At this point, you are looking for alternative options. You worked hard on this manuscript, it's your book baby, and you need to find a way to make your dream of becoming a published author come true! But you keep getting rejections, so you probably think it's your manuscript.

Truth: it might actually be your manuscript. Also truth: it might just be timing (sometimes the world isn't ready for your book right away. There have been many people--myself included--who have waited years and years before they got a literary agent. And then, even after that, there's still a waiting game to find editors. See more here.)

The thing about having a sucky manuscript is that sometimes our egos are bigger than our dreams, and it creates an overcast on the truth that simply is, "this book kinda sucks." To make sure we aren't full of ourselves, we need to make sure we have a group of people keeping us in check. These are critique and beta readers. In most cases, these folks have done a fair share of reading/writing, and they can truly help you craft your book into magnificence. (Here's more on how I've used beta/critique readers in the past.)

You can usually find critique/beta readers in writing forums like Agent Query Connect, or in groups you've joined for writers on Facebook or even Reddit.

In addition to this, beta readers and critique readers should ALWAYS BE FREE OF CHARGE.

If they ask for money, it's a scam.
If they promise to get you on the NYT Bestseller list, it's probably a scam.
And to be honest, it's probably not a scam, but still, they shouldn't--under any circumstances--ask you to pay for it.
It should always be a solid, "no" if they ask you to write a check.

It is, however, normal for them to want to do a book swap. This is where they promise to edit and revise your book, if you promise to edit and revise their book.

You can even do a chapter by chapter basis. Or, you can do a test trial to see if you'll work well together.

Again, these are services that you can find for free in writing communities, and I don't suggest you seek to find an editor to revise your book in hopes to land a literary agent.

In the realm of traditional publishing, the money always flows back to the author. This means, after you write a stellar manuscript, and you land a literary agent, whom then helps you land a rocking editor at a publishing house, you do not pay for these services up front (of course editors and literary agents get paid--they work for that percentage in those contracts, but maybe this is a different post for next time). The money you get from a book deal is yours (except for what you have to give to Uncle Sam for taxes, of course), and you do not give the money that you have already been paid back to an editor or an agent. Again, money flows to the author, and the agent & editor's cut has already been taken out.

So there it is, writing community. Don't pay for people to edit your book before you've received a literary agent. Instead, take advantage of the free opportunities you have in the writing world, such as beta/critique readers.

Edit: I've had a few people throw daggers at me in the writing community for voicing my opinion on this. I know. *shrugs shoulder* It's my personal opinion.

I hope this blog post helps.
Still have more questions? Leave a comment below.
Like these posts? Share them in your writing community; it helps me know that I should make more.

Till next time!

Writing Update: The Latest Manuscript!

In my last post, I mentioned I had developed, drafted, and completed a brand new book while waiting to hear back from editors on my first (agentedmanuscript.

Phew. (that felt like a mouthful!)

I also promised a post about it, so here's that promised post!

So, as you know, I've been on submission for some time now (here's more about the submission process and traditional publishing), and they always say, "if you're on submission, make sure to be working on a new project!" (At least, I think they say this??? *shrugs shoulders*.)

And, as suggested, I started working on a new project.

I developed the idea for this project in November of 2017. After I told my literary agent about this new idea I had, he suggested I create a blurb for it and develop a synopsis. (I know, I know, a synopsis sounds sooo scary, but it's not as intimidating as you may think! Here's a post I wrote a while back on how I develop a synopsis.)

By November 28th of 2017, I had completed my synopsis of this new book idea and sent it over to my agent.

He loved the idea, and though I should have continued to work on it, I was soo caught up in edits for the book we were sending out to publishers, that I put it on the back burner.


All this to say, I didn't actually write the first chapter of this book until April of 2018. (Gasp!) I tested the waters by sending it to one of my faithful beta readers, and she had so much positive feedback that it lit a fire in me and got me writing again.

Thanks girl, you know who you are.

But, by the summer of 2018, life got chaotic, and it was hard to carve out time to write. My writer's block was on a whole new level of ridiculousness, and even when I tried, I barely got a sentence out of me. It continued like this through October of 2018, and by the Holidays, I had lost my job due to some bizarre misclassification case (it was a nightmare). I didn't find a steady job until the end of January (which, btw, my new job is great!), and after that, I found myself ecstatic about life again. The concept of creating new worlds in my head through books and writing was where I wanted to be.

By February of 2019, I was writing almost everyday. My main character in this new book was practically screaming words into thin air for me, and I needed to get everything written down as quickly as I could. For weeks, this book was all I ever thought about. It stuck to me like a terrible virus, and the only way to rid it was to complete the manuscript. (Like, I couldn't even sleep in on the weekends--that's how menacing this new book was! And, for the record, I loooveee sleep.)

By March 4th, I was able to partner with my beta reader/editor to work on drafts with me as I continued to work on the manuscript.

Then, by April 8th, my doctor diagnosed me with Dry Sinus Bronchitis. (It was the worst.) She prescribed me three types of medication, and she also suggested I change my allergy medicine (guys, my allergies are killing me this year--anyone else feel this way?).

With all this new medication, I couldn't focus at work, so I stayed home for a couple of days--terribly sick--and I wrote from sun up to sun down. My dog and my boyfriend were worried, but the words kept coming, and it was hard to sleep!

On April 11th, right before midnight, I sent my agent a delirious email about how I'd finished the book and how excited I was. This was on a Thursday evening, and the poor guy probably thought I'd gone bonkers (plus, the months of April/May are usually pretty busy for those working in the publishing industry. There are many events!).

And on Saturday, April 13th, I had finished self-edits of my manuscript, and the first draft of the book clocked in at a little over 54,000 words.

I sent it over to my agent immediately, and he confirmed that he received it on Monday, April 15th.

You guys, I am BEYOND excited for this new project!!!!!!!!!!!
I can barely breathe when I think about it. Can you tell???

Anyway, last time I sent a full manuscript to my agent, it took him two weeks and three days to read it (I know, I'm a wee bit crazy).

It has officially been one full week, and I'm hanging onto the world by a ledge as I await commentary.

I'm not even sure how many details I can share on this new book (because contracts and whatever), but I developed the idea of this book from a word I had come across--monachopsis (mawn-a-khop-sis). It means: the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.

And as fate would have it, my main character is a time traveler (cue another gasp here!).

So again, I'm not sure how much I can share, but here's an aesthetic I've created for this book. You are more than free to develop your on theories on what you think it might be about.

I'm wishing and praying and crossing every finger and toe I have in hopes that this book makes it through the submission process successfully. 

Ultimately, and for the last nine years, my dream has been to get my stories into the hands of readers. 

So, more than ever, I'm really hoping for a breakthrough. 

Friends, wish me luck!
I'll keep you all updated with this new adventure. 

Still have more questions? Leave a comment below.
Like these posts? Share them in your writing community; it helps me know that I should make more.

Till next time, blog world!

And of course, Happy Writing. :)

Writing Update: On Submission

So, like, being on submission kind of sucks.

But it's also exciting.

It's a strange dichotomy.

Recent insta post: check it out!

Here's what they don't tell you: "Once you've found a literary agent, you must then submit your manuscript to a publishing house. You may be an overnight success, or you may never succeed at all."

It's a bit bonkers.

I've been on submission for two years now (it could be more or less, but it's been so long, I clearly can't remember the exact time frame).

In this time, I've drafted, developed, and completed an entirely new manuscript (more on this to come!). My agent is still very confident in the book I have on submission, and I feel he will work tirelessly to get it into the hands of the world. But as the clock only continues to turn, I truly believe that the current book I have on submission is hard to sell because it's not a high-concept commercial YA (side note: is anyone else struggling with this, too?).

Long story short: the world can't handle it, y'all.

This is such a strange journey, too, because at any given moment, my dream could be made into reality, and in that same moment, it could be turned into dust (hard stuff to swallow--literally).

Anyway, that's the official, official, update on where I am in this lovely writing process.

Hopefully (all fingers and toes crossed), I'll have another book on submission soon!

Again, more to come on this new manuscript. But also, is anyone else struggling with being on submission to publishing houses, or being on submission with literary agents?
Share below!

Still have more questions? Leave a comment below.
Like these posts? Share them in your writing community; it helps me know that I should make more.

Till next time, blog world.

The Book Process: Rejections From Publishing Houses

What does rejection feel like while on submission? It's completing a 5k in record time and then realizing that you've only ju...