OUR EXPERIENCE WITH AN EDITOR
We are the first to admit, that editing isn’t exactly our strong suit.
For quite a while we weighed up whether or not we should send our middle grade manuscript to an editor. This manuscript was something we had created and cultivated on our own and we had grown extremely protective of it. We weren’t sure that we wanted just anyone reading it. There was also the factor of cost that we needed to consider.
After a lot of deliberation, and a ton of research, we decided to take the plunge. We enquired with a literary agency in London called 'Cornerstones'. They responded so promptly and professionally and couldn’t wait to help us out. That same week, we sent through our 47,000-word manuscript, were assigned an editor and the process began. It was a two-week turnaround time, from when our editor, Bryony, began reading our manuscript, to when she was finished her read through’s and compiled her feedback. She replied with a 15-page report, relevant documents and returned a digital copy of manuscript with notes all over it! We could not have imagined we would get so much helpful feedback from her! To be honest, we were a little deflated when we received so much feedback, because in our eyes, our story was pretty good (how naïve we were). But once we took our time to read through the feedback and really consider everything she was saying, we were kicking ourselves for not realising some of our mistakes sooner. Bryony raised some extremely relevant and helpful points and we cannot express how far our manuscript has come because of it. A few of the key elements she spoke about were: our pacing and how it affected the overall story, the importance of every single scene in the manuscript and the factors that placed our story in a lower middle grade category.
After really focusing on her notes for a few weeks and having discussion after discussion about what we really wanted our story to be, we decided to make some changes. We re-worked everything, taking some her feedback into consideration and ended up with a result that we loved way more than the first. We were hoping that our manuscript would appeal to all of middle grade so a lot of the changes we made were centred around this. We were approaching 75,000 words with this new edit and were almost finished!
It was then time for our 1.5-hour Skype session with Bryony (which was part of our editing package). We waited about two or so months to have our skype meeting, so we could ensure that we had a real handle on our updated plot and had ironed out any issues raised by Bryony in the report. Once again, we were guilty of thinking our story was more polished and completed than it was. After our session, we had even more helpful notes and ideas for the revised manuscript that we couldn’t wait to implement. We are now currently re-working it but will without a doubt be sending it back to cornerstones once again for another edit when we are done. We are so glad we chose to get our work reviewed by a professional editor and it has taught us so much. We cannot express how much we would have regretted it if we had sent our original version out to agents or publishers. If anyone is considering submitting to an editor, we would highly recommend it! It has helped us tremendously and our story would not be what it is today without it.