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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

Before an editor sees your work

Noor - Tiger by Sheri McGuinn
What happens to a rough draft?
  • If the editor is working for a prospective publisher, it's going to go back to you with little of it read - or it will land in the trash if there's no SASE.

  • If you're paying an editor by the hour, you'll spend more money as they fix things you could have done yourself.

  • If you're paying a per-word or flat rate, they'll deal with minor technicalities and give you less in-depth advice.

Even if you've hired a developmental editor, you want the manuscript to read easily so they can focus on the larger picture. Before an editor sees your work, make sure it's your very best effort.

Before an editor sees your work:

Look at comparable work.

Look at work meant for the same audience to understand what is expected for the genre and general conventions:

  • Fiction: What's the usual length? How is the story structured? Are there elements that seem to be in every story? What kind of ending is the norm?

  • Non-fiction: How is the information presented? Are there particular formats, charts, visuals? Are there footnotes? Bibliographies? What kind of language is used - is it appropriate for your intended audience?

Participate in a good critique group and/or find good beta readers.

This needs to be people who will give you honest feedback. If possible, some of them should be familiar with the genre of fiction or the subject matter of non-fiction. If they spot places the story doesn't fit expectations - listen to them!

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