Present word count of WIP: 36,232
Seth Godin’s Advice for Authors:
9. If you have a ‘real’ publisher (see #7), it’s worth investing in a few things to help them do a better job for you. Like pre-editing the book before you submit it. Like putting the right to work on the cover with them in the contract. And most of all, getting the ability to buy hundreds of books at cost that you can use as samples and promotional pieces.
I couldn’t agree with this more, particularly the pre-edit suggestion. Editors at publishing houses these days do not have the luxury of time they once had to spend on their authors’ manuscripts, trying to get them polished just so. For a while now, that job has fallen to agents (many of whom are former editors). Perhaps even agents don’t have the time or willingness to do it all that much anymore, because I’ve come across a number of published books that could have used a good edit! It’s far easier for an agent to drop your manuscript for the one that’s already polished to a sheen.
Some writers are funny about editing. It’s as if this masterpiece they have created will no longer be theirs if they allow someone to read it, make suggestions, and point out things that don’t work. To these writers, I simply say: There is no such thing as a perfect novel. Even if all (or at least some of) the edits are incorporated, it won’t be perfect…but it will generally be better.
That’s why I have no fear about submitting my finished manuscript to an editor, such as someone from the Precision Editing Group, which is headed up by a friend of mine. I want my manuscript to be the best it can be before submitting it to a publisher. And, no, someone with a Master’s degree in English will not necessarily do. I want someone who reads a lot of books for a living, someone who knows what sells and what doesn’t, someone who understands the pace and thrust of story and plot.
As for Godin’s other two suggestions (getting the right to provide input on the cover and obtaining an option to buy lots of copies of your book at cost), both are answered best by getting a good agent. And getting a good agent doesn’t cost money, only time.
So, hold out for what you really want and be patient while you keep writing.
Originally posted 2012-02-17 17:14:13.