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Keys to Effective Writing

Getting Published

Secrets Tips from an Editor

If you have written a manuscript and had it professionally edited, then you know that editing is expensive. If you're hiring a good and reliable editor, then yes, you are going to have to pay for his/her services, and those services are not cheap. So what is it that you're paying for? Proofreading? Proofreading shouldn't be that expensive, right?
 
An editor's job is to prepare your manuscript for mainstream publication. What does that mean? That means that your editor is preparing your manuscript for the readers. If your reader is not hooked in the first chapter of your manuscript, then you are done for, and you're not going to sell books. If you can't sell books to readers, then you're definitely not going to sell your manuscript to a publishing company.
 
So specifically, what will editors change in your manuscript?
 
1. Passive Voice- Editors will try to eliminate almost ALL passive voice from your manuscript. You might think it sounds beautiful to write in passive voice, and you're right. In some cases, it does sound beautiful. However, readers want to be engaged in your plot. For that to happen, your text has to be written in active voice.
 
2. Conciseness- You have long, eloquent, gorgeous sentences. That's great, but if you've hired a professional editor, then your editor will shorten your sentences. In general, readers get lost in long sentences. They get bored. A good editor will alter your sentence so that it has the same meaning in a shorter package.
 
3. Eliminate Wordiness- Is this the same thing as conciseness? No. It's not. Your editor will try to take out as many words like 'that' and 'which' as possible. The point is to make every word count.
 
4. Eliminate Slang and cliches- A good editor will tell you that cliches are horrible. You might like the way they sound, but a good editor will cut them completely.
 
5. Alter Dialogue- A good editor will make your dialogue 'reader' friendly. What does that mean? It means that people do not say things like, "I do not understand the concept that you attempted to portray." A normal person would say something like, "I don't understand what you mean." An editor knows how to tailor your dialogue to make it more realistic, easier to read, and ultimately, please your readers.
 
These are five of the top issues that your editors will be looking for in your manuscript. A good editor knows what publishing companies want, and he/she will prepare your manuscript with that knowledge. Here's a good rule of thumb. ALL manuscripts need editing. Trust me on this. Every famous author you know has an editor. If you get a manuscript back and there is a change on every line of your manuscript, then don't freak out immediately. It does not mean that you are a terrible writer. Instead, it means that you have good editor.

A New Year, A New You

It's a New Year, Writers. Are you Renewed and Refreshed?
Here we are at the beginning of a new year. As writers, this is the time to renew our energies, refresh our drive, and create a plan for success. I have talked to so many writers who are frustrated with the publishing industry. 'You can't get a book published unless you're already famous.' 'I have only received rejection letters, if I receive a response at all.' 'I cannot find an agent. Why won't they respond to my queries?' 'Maybe I should just self-publish.' I sympathize with your complaints. I really do.
 
However, as a writer myself, I can tell you that if you have a good manuscript, then you CAN get published with a REAL publishing company. I work as an editor for a publishing company that published books by new authors. It CAN happen.
 
So with today' blog, I hope to give some encouragement to all the writers out there who have a dream and a kick-ass manuscript. You need a plan. First off, make sure that your manuscript is in order and ready to be published. If you haven't hired a professional editor, then do it. I know it costs money, but if you're serious about you're dream, then you've got to have a manuscript that is damn near perfect.
 
HIRE AN EDITOR. Letting your friends, family, and co-workers read your manuscript doesn't count. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR WHO HAS EXPERIENCE IN PUBLISHING AND KNOWS WHAT PUBLISHING COMPANIES AND AGENTS ARE LOOKING FOR IN A MANUSCRIPT.
 
When you're sure that your manuscript is ready, then start writing and sending out queries. Come up with a specific plan. One of the easiest things to do is to send a query to a publishing company AND an agent each day, 5 days a week. That's 10 letters a week.
 
Secondly, don't get frustrated and quit sending out your letters. Keep sending them. Hell, send them until January of 2014 if you have to, but don't stop.
 
Persistence is the key to your success. Don't give up.
 
I know that there are hundreds of writers who don't know where to begin in this process. Keep in mind that I can and will help you. I can help you write a query letter for $20. In addition, in January and February, I'm going to offer a customized contact list for clients for $40. This will be a list of publishing companies who accept unsolicited manuscripts and agents that accept queries in your particular genre. If you don't know where to start, send me an email at owner@coghlanwriting.com and we will start the journey to getting you published.
 
If you've already got queries written and have a list of publishing companies to contact, then GET TO IT and DON'T GIVE UP.
 
 
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