I offer my independent editorial services to non-agency clients (writers I do not and will not represent) on a per-project basis. I love working with writers on their manuscripts (or book proposals—a distinct beast!), helping to improve what’s already there and maximizing writers’ chances of getting published.
I firmly believe that writing our stories is no less than what’s required to save our lives, and our communities; no less than what’s required to ensure we survive—and thrive—from one generation to the next. I’ve seen it happen from the frontlines—how writing saves, heals, educates. But from deep within the publishing trenches, I can tell you: writing is not publishing. There is the work writers are doing on the page, the work they are doing in their hearts…and then there is the marketplace. Sometimes these things collide; sometimes they don’t. And that’s okay. Some of you have publishing ambitions, and some of you don’t. You don’t have to. I firmly believe that the act of writing our stories in and of itself is infinitely worthwhile and valuable.
Whether you are interested in becoming a published book author or just want to improve your manuscript for yourself, it’s a good idea to have an experienced professional in your corner. What I see again and again is that there is a lot of misunderstanding, bad information, and just plain ignorance out there about the publishing industry…and how it is that aspiring authors can get their books up on the shelf.
I won’t lie, the publishing bar has never been set higher. Editors at publishing houses have increasingly large mandates to fill, giving them less time than they once had to take on projects that are less than polished. Like a domino effect, agents—even those who, like me, are very editorially involved or “hands on”—find themselves with less time to devote to whipping a project into shape before submitting it to publishers. Keep in mind that most agents get paid only on commission, and you can see why it is so hard to get an agent to sign you if your book still needs a lot of work.
Enter the independent book editor! I think in today’s tough marketplace, it makes a lot of sense to hire an editor before trying to get an agent or book deal. That said, there are many individuals out there claiming to be professional book editors who have never had any real publishing experience. So, be careful: make sure the editor you hire has worked on real books that have been published, and that they have the testimonials to back up their work.