Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q = Querying with an Unedited Book Gets You Nowhere

Welcome, A to Z bloggers, visitors, and of course all my faithful regular readers! This year's theme for my A to Z:
Short & Sweet Reasons Why You Need an Editor

So without further ado . . .

Querying agents with an unedited manuscript will get you nowhere fast.

There’s a bit of misconception among newer authors that it “doesn’t matter” what the manuscript looks like because a publisher is going to take care of editing anyway. This is a huge misinterpretation of the process.

In actuality, you should always hand in the cleanest copy possible, hiring a copyeditor for the final polish before querying. Putting your best foot forward is a solid step in the right direction, because an agent is unlikely to want to slog through the rough stuff to see if there’s a possible diamond in there.

If you get picked up by a publisher, then yes, their editor(s) will have a go at making the book even more shiny, complete with a proofreader once the typesetting is done.

In the meantime, though, the buffing is up to you. Shine it up!

10 comments:

  1. I can't imagine submitting something that's not received some editing on it.

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    1. I can't imagine thinking it wouldn't matter. I hear such bad advice being passed around on forums.

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  2. Those who think like that don't occupy slots in the publishers' catalogues - other, more diligent, writers will be selected.

    It's a little early to be acting entitled, isn't it?

    Someone who is really good or has some other platform may be unedited - but it will be because they are approached by an agent or publisher due to that platform.

    For submitting, my guess is that agents and publishers are really good at eliminating unfinished work from consideration, at least when the lack of basics makes it obvious the writer is not professional.

    I think I got as far as I did with my first novel because, although I needed to learn a lot (last century this was), there wasn't a misplaced comma or quotation mark or a misspelling in what I submitted. I got some nice 'try us again with the next one' handwritten notes. Of course, that was a long time ago. I don't know what submission is like now, but I do know there are more writers submitting for fewer slots.

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    1. Your guess is the same as mine: your MS will end up in a slush pile pretty quickly if it doesn't even have the basics covered.

      The fact that there are more writers going for fewer openings should make it even more obvious to people that every effort should be made to submit the best work.

      Delete
  3. Hi Lynda - I think presenting one's work at its best is the most sensible thing to do - we don't want to get knocked down at the first hurdle - what a waste of the writing ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Good imagery, Hilary—knocked down at the first hurdle. It would feel like a huge waste of time to be eliminated before the real process gets underway.

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  4. I wouldn't send sloppy work to a publisher any more than I'd offer sloppy work to a prospective reader.

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    1. I have a hard time making my way through a poorly written news article or blog post. I can't imagine being a publisher and having to (try to) read even a few chapters of that stuff in a book.

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  5. A manuscript should be as shiny as the author could possibly make it before it goes out. End of story.

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    1. I don't understand why people don't get this. It's like going to a job interview dressed in sloppy clothes you would clean your house in.

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