Monday, July 8, 2013

When Do You Seek Help?

I'm not referring to psychiatrists! I mean with professional editors. You may have noticed I just started offering professional first five page critiques (see critiquing services page above). This isn't an advertisement, don't worry. But it got me thinking... How do you know when you need something like that? 

I'm clearly not a very good business woman, but I'll start by saying, YOU USUALLY DON'T. If you are improving, learning craft and have good critique buddies you're probably in a good place. But sometimes we need an extra little push. Here are some situations where you may want to seek a professional editor or editorial service:

  1. If you plan on self-publishing. 
  2. If you've gone as far as you can go with your critique group, have queried agents, and haven't had any requests. 
  3. If you have trouble finding a good critique group (they don't grow on trees unfortunately) and need another set of eyes. 
So how do you find the right person?
  1. Recommendations from people you trust. 
  2. Someone who has experience in the area you're seeking help with. For example, if you want a grammar check? Count me out. I'm serious. But if you need your opening looked at? I'm your girl (First Five Pages Workshop).
  3. Make sure you're comfortable paying for it. There are some amazing people out there that I know I just can't afford. I'm lucky though, I have a publisher and wonderful beta/critique partners. If I didn't and I was serious, I'd really have to consider what I was willing to put out to get the right person. 
  4. Make sure you know what you want help with. Do you want a look at overall structure? Line edits? Just the first few pages or the whole manuscript?
No one should have to pay money to be a writer. But there are situations where investing in your own work is a good idea. Never let anyone pressure you. Be sure you feel good about using the person and working with her. 

Have you used an editor for hire? How did it go?


  1. If I were to self publish, I'd definitely hire an editor. I don't trust myself to make the manuscript publish ready.

    Guys, let me just tell everyone that Lisa is EXCELLENT at spotting stuff I've missed. (She's one of my beta readers)

  2. I'm planning on self pubbing and I've used an editor - and she's amazing. It really does add a whole new layer to the story when you've got that extra set of eyes!

  3. I think it's a great idea to use an editor if you're going to self-publish. It'll make the manuscript so much more polished. Otherwise I'd hunt for good critique partners. It could get expensive trying to have a lot of manuscripts professionally edited before querying.

  4. With my first two books, I was lucky to have a great editor who worked for the publisher. Working with her convinced me that editors were a good time investment, for sure. A fresh, unbiased set of eyes is a must.

  5. I think we all stop seeing flaws after a point when we've gone over our work umpteenth times. I'm always awed by what a fresh set of eyes can find. I second Julie's thumbs up for Lisa's "eagle eyes." She's terrific.