Author Topic: Book editor etiquette  (Read 1869 times)

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Betelnut

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Book editor etiquette
« on: October 15, 2012, 09:26:43 AM »
Hello all:

I've recently written a book and, being a newbie, I want to get some advice from a real editor.  Through the internet, I found a service that will set you up with editors that have experience in editing and working with publishers for the type of book you've written (in my case, a children's picture book).

My dilemna:

I got an email from one editor and set up with her to have a free 15-minute phone consultation. After setting this up, I then received an email from another person whose email (and subsequent emails) have convinced me that she would be a great match for me as in the services she would provide for the cost that I can affored.

Should I cancel out the free consultation with the other editor?  I sort of feel bad but it IS only a 15 phone call that was going to be free anyway.  Or, should I still get the consultation, since it is free, even though I plan on going ahead and hiring another person anyway?

Is this rude/unethical to do?  (Getting free advice when I know I will be hiring someone else?)
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artk2002

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012, 09:52:03 AM »
If you're certain you're going with the other person, then yes, it would be unethical.  That said, I wouldn't be making the determination about either editor without spending time with them. The first one could be wonderful when you work directly with them, while the second one could be awful. One e-mail is just a hint, not the whole person.

In other words, do a consult with both and then make a decision. "Choose in haste; repent at leisure."
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

jmarvellous

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012, 10:32:02 AM »
It's the person's decision to offer the freebie, and that's exactly why I don't offer such things -- there's no guarantee it will result in business. I do an email exchange with a quote and maybe one or two lines of 'free' feedback.

So while I don't necessarily think you should take up her valuable time without thinking of using her services under any circumstances, I don't think it's wrong to do so, either.

Editors do understand that it's a business transaction -- or they should.

magician5

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 02:44:25 PM »
Forgive my blunt opinion, but the whole thing sounds like a scam to me.

You never pay an editor, unless you're hiring a freelance editor to correct your grammar (etc).

Editors do not offer you an "in" to publishers - they come attached to a publisher that has already accepted your book.

See this:

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/10/should-you-pay-someone-to-edit-your.html
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 02:47:53 PM by magician5 »
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Littlepinkshell

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2012, 02:57:40 PM »
Agreed. A genuine publisher will want to pay *you* for your book and your work and the rights to publish it; only a vanity publisher will demand fees for editing your work and publishing your book. Avoid anyone who wants to charge "fees" to read/edit/proof your work.

Publishing is a gamble - the publisher aims to get more money from the sales of your book than they originally spent to get it on the shelves. It shouldn't cost you personally any money to get a book into the hands of potential readers.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 02:59:37 PM »
If you aren't already, you could join the Society of Children's Books Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) where there is a plethora of helpful advice.  They have lots of critique groups as well as a list of vetted freelance editors you can hire to review your work.

If you found someone willing to do a free consultation, then go for it! They make this offer (presumably) understanding not all individuals will ultimately hire them.  Like another poster said, speak with each editor first to get a sense of them and make your decision from there.  I think if you do decide to go with the second editor, you can contact the first one with a "Thank you so much for your time, but I have found a better match for my needs" or whatever.

And good luck!  :D

eta - I am operating under the assumption this is a freelance situation.  The list of freelance editors I mentioned above, for example, are all clear that you are getting advice only.  The one I hired does technical editing, concept/plot/character comments, and will help guide you towards agents or publishers that would be appropriate for your material.  She is very clear that you are on your own with actually getting it published  ;)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 03:03:38 PM by Tabby Uprising »

Betelnut

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 03:12:23 PM »
Hello all!  Thanks for the advice.

The editor I hope to be working with never said that she would get me published, just would provide help with proof and copy editing, formatting the text for submission to a publisher and help with the submission letter.  I don't think it is a scam although I will NOT pay until the work is done!  Yes, it would be a freelance situation.

I think I will go for the free consultation also--heck, she offered so I might as well see what she says!
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jmarvellous

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 03:19:25 PM »
I should mention that I do freelance editing for publishing through an affiliate ebook creator company. I do agree that for formats other than self-publishing, you should NOT have to pay an editor. If you are satisfied that your book is in shape to be sold rather than self-published, that's honestly the route I'd go, self-promotion aside.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 03:23:16 PM »
I should mention that I do freelance editing for publishing through an affiliate ebook creator company. I do agree that for formats other than self-publishing, you should NOT have to pay an editor. If you are satisfied that your book is in shape to be sold rather than self-published, that's honestly the route I'd go, self-promotion aside.

Right, but if you are interested in having a freelance editor review your work (professional critique) then payment would be customary.  Just like hiring for any other type of service.  No one is promising you will get published. 

Amara

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 05:06:33 PM »
The editor I hope to be working with never said that she would get me published, just would provide help with proof and copy editing, formatting the text for submission to a publisher and help with the submission letter.  I don't think it is a scam although I will NOT pay until the work is done!  Yes, it would be a freelance situation.

I wouldn't call this a red flag but I am a bit wary that your proposed editor wants to help format the text for submission. There are lots of good sites where you can get this information--Janet Reid's blog, for example--and many publishers have their own guidelines as to what they want to see. There is no one right way for everyone. Also, I agree that SCBWI is excellent. You can get lots of superb help there with your letter, far better than letting someone else write it.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 09:10:25 PM »
Yes, freelance editors do exist.  They're of varying quality, the good ones are REALLY expensive, and agents/publication editors count it as a mark against you if they find out you had a professional editor "fix" your work.  (The assumption goes like this: will she write as well without an editor?  How much of this author's voice is her own and how much was rewritten by her editor?  If she's spending money already on just the chance to get published, how realistic is her understanding of the industry?)

I wouldn't even consider hiring a freelance editor until you've done most or all of the following:

1) read every agent/editor blog you can get your hands on

2) joined SCBWI, RWA, or whatever writer's group applies to your work

3) found a local writer's group you can use for beta reading and critiques - local groups vary in usefulness, of course, but it's worth a shot

4) join an online writer's group for people who write in your genre, again for beta reading and critiques

5) get recommendations from other writers (not just from the editors themselves) if you still want to hire someone

6) go on Preditors and Editors and look up any potential editors you might like to hire

7) look up Brenda Novak's online auction - you can get a real agent or editor (as in, someone who normally works accepting the type of books you're trying to publish!) and you get more bang for your buck that way

If you've done all that and you STILL feel like you need to pay someone to edit your work, then go for it - but go in with your eyes open.  (And as for your original question: don't make the decision before you get the free consultation!  It's free for a reason - and it's not rude to cancel.)

Betelnut

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Re: Book editor etiquette
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2012, 09:27:02 AM »
Thanks for the advice everyone!  Very good ideas...
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