What to Expect From Your Editor

Literary agents and book publishers receive tens of thousands of queries and submissions a year. Only a fraction of them are picked up. How do those few rise to the top?

Good story telling, for sure. But as one literary agent famously said, “If I see one typo in a manuscript, I stop reading and go on to the next one.”

Most agents and publishers are not that unforgiving, but overall their rationale is that if the text is sloppy at the outset, it reflects poorly on the story as a whole, so they opt not to spend any time on it.

Manuscripts are also rejected for improper formatting, poor grammar, awkward syntax, “plot holes” and a through-line that  wanders off course and leaves the reader baffled.

Moreover, in this era of the self-publishing juggernaut, authors who have no fear of rejection by an agent or publisher can get scathing reviews from readers who point out these same shortfalls. That, in turn, can result in lackluster sales.

The  advice coming down from on high has a common theme: Hire an editor.

What can an author expect from an editor? What, exactly, does an editor do?

I, along with Shirley Clukey, president of San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN), will answer these questions and many more at the monthly meeting of the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild on Monday, Sept. 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., in San Diego.

“Come prepared to be educated and entertained,” Shirley says.

Discussion topics include:

  • What an editor does
  • Types/levels of editing
  • Common errors that writers make
  • Manuscript formatting
  • Style guides and style sheets
  • Editing fees

To learn more, read the full news release.

I hope to see you there.

For those of you who can’t make it, I’ll post the highlights next week.

In the coming weeks, I have two more speaking engagements:

National Authors Day
Saturday, Nov. 3
11:00-11:20 a.m.
Topic: The Essential Role of the Editor
Oceanside Public Library, Oceanside, CA

San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN)
Topic: Taking the Mystery Out of eBook Production
Thursday, Nov. 15
Joyce Beers Center
1230 Cleveland Avenue
San Diego, CA

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About Polishing Your Prose

Larry M Edwards is an award-winning investigative journalist, author, editor and publishing consultant. He is the author of three books, and has edited dozens of nonfiction and fiction book manuscripts. Under Wigeon Publishing, he has produced six books. As author, "Dare I Call It Murder? A Memoir of Violent Loss" won First Place in the San Diego Book Awards in 2012 (unpublished memoir) and 2014, Best Published Memoir. The book has also been nominated for a number of awards, including: Pulitzer Prize, Benjamin Franklin Award, Washington State Book Award, and One Book, One San Diego. As Editor, "Murder Survivor’s Handbook: Real-Life Stories, Tips & Resources" won the Gold Award in the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Book Awards, Self-Help. For a sample edit and cost estimate, contact Larry: larry [at] larryedwards [dot] com -- www.larryedwards.com -- www.dareicallitmurder.com -- www.wigeonpublishing.com
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