What must you do to get past the slush pile?
Most editors, and indeed agents, nowadays, won't take a second look at you unless your work has been professionally edited and/or critiqued.
Even though you may think you're pretty good at grammar, it's still wise to have a professional editor look over your work. Yes, they cost money, but then so do lots of other things in life. Also, it's an investment, because the next time you come to write, you understand why the machine keeps giving you squiggly lines under your work, and you begin to write better anyway.
Why do I keep getting rejection letters?
A lovingly crafted novel means the world to the author, but to the editor it's merely a product that either will or will not bring in money. Read some tips on coping with rejection.
What am I doing wrong?
Probably nothing, but there may be some things you should do such as getting your work critiqued, edited and proofread.
I need a good editor and critiquer. Can you recommend one?
Yes, the Jacqui Bennett Writing Bureau - friendly and extremely reasonable, around £180 for up to 100,000 words!
Why do I need to spend money on a critiquer? If my work is accepted, won't the publishing house edit it?
Yes, but if you want to get past the front door and the slush pile you'd better realise that one spelling mistake or grammatical error can be the difference between acceptance and rejection.
I feel foolish sending my work off to have it critiqued. What if I'm no good? I don't want to spend money on it if I'm not.
Get a free 500 word critique at the Jacqui Bennett Writing Bureau
Why edit? Good question, which until you've had a book edited and realise how much you don't know about grammar (and having been a PA for 30+ years I thought I knew pretty much everything) is a hard one to answer. All I would say, is that it can make the difference between your book being read and enjoyed or merely being put back on the shelf after a cursory glance and a realisation on the reader's part that it can't be a good story because you've made a common mistake of confusing it's and its. Unfair - but there you go - the reader is your customer and he wants to feel he's getting value for money.
Unlike proofreading, where the proofreader's goal is to correct your spelling mistakes and give you a final text that will be sent to the printer, editing helps you improve the flow, plot and grammatical sense of your book. And believe me, once you've worked with an editor, realise how much you learn about writing from them, you'll never want to 'go it alone' again.
Also remember that editing, like layout and proofreading, is usually a one-time fee; in other words any subsequent print runs can be taken directly from the CD held with the print house.
Meet the Pathfinder Team of Editors