Critique Giveaway and a bonus!

MS editor extraordinaire, Aimee Salter, has stopped by today
to give away a first chapter critique – yah! She critiqued my manuscript, so speaking from experience, her advice rocks.
Aimee also did interviews with me on my two group blogs YAtopia and Writing Teen Novels, so check them out for some great free advice on making your manuscript sizzle.

 

So some quick questions before the giveaway.

 

Sharon: What’s the best thing
about editing other people’s manuscripts?

 

Aimee: Without question, the best thing about critiquing is what I
learn about my own writing from identifying the problems in others. We writers
are always too close to our own work to truly edit effectively. But by
identifying structural, phrasing or plot problems in someone else’s manuscript,
I’m able to better see where mine has gone wrong.

 

Sharon: And, what’s the worst
thing about editing other people’s manuscripts?

 

Aimee: Having to tell people their babies aren’t perfect.

 

Can I say, in defence of all critiquers / editors: We tell
you what we see because we want your story to be even better. Don’t view suggestions
for improvements as criticisms of your talent or your story. See them as the
rungs on a ladder to making your story shine and revealing your true talent to
your readers.

 

Sharon: So, how did you get
into freelance editing?

 

Aimee: I learned how to critically analyse a manuscript in a
critique group which included published and represented authors. In any
“clinic” we’d each give our full manuscript to the Administrator who assigned
it to someone else, then gave us another manuscript to read in full. When I saw
how much my writing improved as a result of being on both sides of that coin, I
knew every writer should do it.

 

Once I’d been doing that for a couple years, some of the
authors approached me outside of the group structure because they’d found my
comments helpful and wanted to start working as partners. I was excited – but I
remembered how hard it was to find that group and gain credibility in those
circles. I knew there wasn’t enough of that kind of help out there for everyone
because most authors with that kind of experience already have a critique group
they trust. They aren’t often looking for new blood.

 

I also know most fledgling authors can’t afford a full
editorial consultant. So I decided to offer critiques at an affordable price
(usually in the vicinity of $225-275 for an entire manuscript up to 100,000
words) because I want to see more authors watch their babies grow up like I got
to.

 

Sharon: What advice would you
give to other people considering hiring a professional editor, such as
yourself? 
 

 

Aimee: Do your homework. Make sure the editor can actually help
you. Then make sure their style works for you. Everyone works differently and
you need to make sure you can accept the tone and structure of any given
editor’s work.

 

Don’t pay money to anyone who can’t provide an editorial
sample (and by that I mean a portion of an actual manuscript with their notes /
marks on it as they would present to you in your work), or who hasn’t been
recommended by someone you know personally.

 

Keep in mind that online recommendations (especially Twitter
/ Facebook) could easily be dummy accounts set up by editors trying to drum up
business. Don’t pay any money until you know what you’re paying for.

 

If you can’t afford a super-reputable editor who freelances
outside of a traditional publishing career, read self-published books until you
find one whose prose and plot make you wish you’d written it, then find out who
edited it. Hire that person – or someone they recommend.

 

And if you weren’t able to anticipate the majority of my
answers here, hire me. There are samples of my critique work on my website. I’m
a lot cheaper than a qualified editor, and when we’re done, I guarantee your
manuscript will be noticeably improved (if I can’t improve it, I won’t let you
hire me).

 

Most importantly, because I’ve worked with published
authors, I know what a “submissible manuscript” looks like. And because I don’t
believe in critiquing the same manuscript more than once, I won’t lie to you
about how close (or far away) yours is.Thanks Aimee!!

So, you can enter the competition below to win a first chapter critique from Aimee, and I’ve also thrown in a $15 B&N voucher. You’ve got until September 3, 2012 to enter.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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