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Old 02-05-2013, 08:33 AM   #1
Soliloquy
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Hiring an editor for short works?

It's long been said that editors are a must for novels, but what about for shorter works?

I have a non-fiction piece that's around 900 words that I'm hoping to submit to literary journals. Is it worth it to hire an editor before I send it?
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:37 AM   #2
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Given that most literary journals pay you a token amount, if anything - no, it's not worth it at all. 900 words is very short. You can easily workshop that here or with other writing friends.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soliloquy View Post
It's long been said that editors are a must for novels, but what about for shorter works?

I have a non-fiction piece that's around 900 words that I'm hoping to submit to literary journals. Is it worth it to hire an editor before I send it?
If you mean is it cost effective, almost certainly not. If you have valid reasons for believing the story will sell to a market paying substantially more than an editor's fee, that may be a different story, but 'valid reasons' would likely consist of a long list of previous publications sold to markets paying in the same range -- and if you've got that track record, you probably write well enough you don't need to hire an editor.

However, some people choose to pay the money to work with an editor as a one-on-one learning experience with a trained professional. It's an investment the way buying a copy of Self Editing For Fiction Writers is an investment. In that case, you may find it worthwhile.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soliloquy View Post
It's long been said that editors are a must for novels,
By whom? Certainly not by publishing industry professionals. Publishers expect writers -- especially fiction writers -- to be able to bring their manuscripts up to submittable quality on their own. (Exceptions would include people with visual disabilities or for whom the language in which they're submitting isn't their native language.) Writing at a professional level is what professional writers do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soliloquy View Post
but what about for shorter works?
Well, since hiring an independent editor for novels isn't standard, it follows that it's not standard for short works, either.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:34 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soliloquy View Post
It's long been said that editors are a must for novels, but what about for shorter works?

I have a non-fiction piece that's around 900 words that I'm hoping to submit to literary journals. Is it worth it to hire an editor before I send it?
I've never heard this said by anyone except "editors" who want you to pay them. I don't know any pro writers, any successful writers at all, who have ever hired an editor.

Think about it. You're wanting to hire an editor before you send the piece to an editor. How much sense does that make?
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:35 PM   #6
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What Terie said. I may pay for a critique of a few pages at a conference as a way to make a connection and learn a lot, but I'd never pay for a full edit. I have two critique groups, two discussion boards I post to, and a few individuals I can e-mail for comments. I also have a degree in the teaching of English as a second language and a Word Processor that can handle the basic typos for me. I'd never pay for a professional edit when so many resources are free.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terie View Post
Publishers expect writers -- especially fiction writers -- to be able to bring their manuscripts up to submittable quality on their own.
Publishers provide their own editors for every manuscript before they publish it. I've yet to see a publisher (a legitimate one, not e.g. PublishAmerica) just print whatever the author submitted.

No, publishers don't expect authors to hire editors prior to submitting their works.

Where editors are necessary is before self-publishing a book. Just as regular commercial publishers hire editors, so you, too, as the publisher should hire an editor.

Even people whose day job is editor at a major commercial house expect to be edited when they sell their works.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:20 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice! I'll just get back to polishing my writing before submitting it to a publisher.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:54 AM   #9
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900 words is really not an issue for self editing or even getting a mate to scan it over. The main reason I find an editor useful is for longer works as scanning over thousands of words often means you go word blind and miss what are often really obvious mistakes. Editors are better trained to spot those.

I would advise you close the file and walk away from it for a little while before you do any self editing. A couple of days at least where you do not even think about it. Have a break, work on something else, do something not related to writing. Then come back to it with fresh eyes and the idealised version of it you will inevitably have in your brain wiped clear from your memory. This will put you in a better position to be more objective about it.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
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The main reason I find an editor useful is for longer works as scanning over thousands of words often means you go word blind and miss what are often really obvious mistakes. Editors are better trained to spot those.
One tip to avoid this is to go sentence by sentence through the work backwards. Sometimes I'll go paragraph by paragraph. It can be tedious, but it's amazing what you catch yourself. This is a copy editors' trick as far as I know. There are others too.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:34 PM   #11
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Oh, I have used that trick myself loads of times. And it does work. Though I still prefer someone else looking at it if it is a longer work because even then I have missed things. Though mostly what this involves if it is aimed at a publisher rather than self publishing, is two of my regular beta readers who are also experienced editors rather than paying someone. For self pubbing, I would prefer to pay someone as you don't have the benefit of the publishers own editors looking it over too.
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