Landing a traditional publishing deal is challenging especially if you dream of working with a literary agent. Rejection and failure are par for the course and aspiring writers need to quickly develop a thick skin to reach their goals. There are distinct schools of thoughts regarding whether professional editing before submitting your book is required. Now that I’ve landed a deal for my debut adult contemporary novel, Sweet Redemption, I thought I’d weigh in on the debate.
Professional editing before submitting your book
It goes without saying you need to self-edit your book – first drafts are not to be submitted to literary professionals. Also, if you’re self-publishing, then having a professional edit your book is not optional.
My list of pros and cons below are focused on whether seeking professional editing before submitting your book is necessary when trying to land a traditional publishing deal. Spoiler: I didn’t, nor do I intend to in the future.
- The slush pile is not an easy place to be and it can be difficult to get noticed. Having a professionally edited manuscript could make you stand out. Some agents expect it, others don’t, so the decision is up to you and an honest evaluation of your writing abilities will provide your answer
- If you use a qualified editor, then undoubtedly your book will be in a better place after you receive feedback. There are many different kinds of editing and if you’re a new author, you may benefit from a manuscript evaluation to identify weak points. If technical writing isn’t your strong suit, you may need a line editor to ensure you aren’t submitting a manuscript with errors
- If you land an agent, in many cases, s/he will edit your book. Once you get into a publishing house, whether with agent assistance or without, an editor will review your book for “free” (they do take royalties, so free is operative)
- If you find your tribe, you can use beta readers and critque partners to help you polish your novel for free (actually free, minus the time commitment it will take you to repay the favour)
- A good editor isn’t cheap. Some charge a flat rate, others charge by the word, but either way, the quotes I received were minimum $1,000 USD
If you land a traditional deal, your book will be edited. It’s a matter of you paying the upfront cost or opting not to. Do you intend to hire an editor before submitting your book?
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