This month I'm full of launches and editing. It's Writers Week in Listowel (www.writersweek.ie) - its 40th anniversary and since its set up the week has been a showcase for both national and international writers.
On Friday 4th June in Listowel I'm launching my latest novel A Type of Beauty, the story of Kathleen Newton (1854-1882), and on Friday 18th June I'm having Dublin launch in the National Yacht Club, Dunlaoghaire (www.nyc.ie) The genre is what's called in the business fact-led fiction. While it was a joy to research and write, not to mention edit on more occasions than I care to count, it took longer than I'd anticpated about three years in all. But holding the book in my hand, I know it was worth it which brings me breifly to the subject of editing.
I gave a workshop on Saturday in CFCP (www.cfcp.ie) and afterwards someone asked, 'When you've finished your book, is it okay to send it out to an agent or publisher?' the short answer it no, it isn't. That person was not thinking of editing, considering that would be done in publishig house. Time was it would, but times are different now and the more print perfect a manuscript the more likely a writer is to be given a contract.
My advice to emerging writers is not to let a manuscript out of your hands until it is as good as you can make it. Believe me, deep within your heart, you'll know when you've reached that stage.
As for the plethora of freelance editors who abound on the Internet - by all means use them but make sure they have the necessary credentials to bring your manuscript to publication standard. I suggest you submit a few hundred words for them to sample edit. Also check if they only copy edit, ie., syntax, spellings etc.
A s well as the above, a publisher's editor will be aware of stucture, point of entry, development of plot and characters, locations, etc. - all the skills that raise a book from the ordinary to the readeable extraordinary.
Good writing until next month...