Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Decision Making: What Would You Do and Why

Okay, let’s suppose you have around $2500 to spend on your writing this year so money is not a problem. The problem is … exactly how you should spend that money. Read on:

You’ve sent her manuscript to an editor you found in a writer’s magazine. The editor looks at the first three chapters and tells you your manuscript is close enough to submit. Do you trust her and begin submitting? Why?

You pay a reputable editor to read the novel and give you her opinion. She tells you she feels the book is marketable and identifies a list of items that might need tweaking. She strongly suggests a line edit, which would cost $1500. Is this the right thing to do? Do you pay the $1500 for line editing? Tell me why.

You’re tempted to trek off to the Writers Digest Editors Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. You’ll have to submit 50 pages of your manuscript before the conference. You’ll attend a one day workshop on marketing and social networking and also learn what they like and dislike about the submissions. The next day you’ll get a thirty minute meeting with an editor to go over your manuscript. You might even come away with a good feel for where your manuscript is. Cost of conference, air and hotel will be around $1100 plus. Would you do this? Tell me why.

You have an opportunity to attend the pitch and shop conference in NYC at the end of September. This conference is by invitation only and is limited to 60 writers. Their main goal is to teach you how to pitch your novel to the right people. They’ll help with weak points in your work so you can improve it. After intense, rigorous training on pitching your novel, you get 15 minutes each with four well known editors who have the power to hook you up with publishers and agents. It is reported that 1 out of 3 attendees get a request for the full manuscript. It is by no means a guarantee to publication but is as close as you can get to the big fish at a conference. The networking, agents, editors and writers are top notch. The cost of this conference including air and hotel is in the 1500 to 1800 range. Would you take advantage of this? Tell me why.

Sometimes we writers get incredibly impatient. We don't know if we even have a marketable manuscript--not matter how many critique partners say we do. We second guess ourselves when it comes to investing in ourselves. Your answers will help friends of mine make decisions on just how to spend their hard-earned money. Be honest... be wise. Share your wisdom with us.


Erica Vetsch said...

Wow, what great questions!

1. I don't think I would roll the dice on an editor I only know through a magazine ad, because anyone can hang up their shingle as a freelance editor. I'd want to know her bona fides, especially if this is a first manuscript.

2. I've never paid for a line edit before. Some writers swear by it. Since this writer has already paid to have the ms macro-edited, perhaps it would be best to work through those items first, before paying so much for a line edit. If possible, find some crit partners who are strong in the areas where you are weak, trade work, and save your pennies.

3. 30 minutes with an editor? Wow! That's...a long time! I'm a big believer in conferences, since I'm also convinced that a lot of publishing is relationships. This seems like a lot of bang for the buck.

4. I would definitely take advantage of this if I had been invited and the editors/agents I am interested in would be there. What a great opportunity. Even if it didn't result in a request/sale immediately, the benefits would stand you in very good stead at subsequent editor meetings and at conferences. It would be hard to regret taking advantage of this opportunity, but easy to regret letting it pass by.

Charles Gramlich said...

Let’s see, here are my answers:
1. $2500: I’d spend it on advertising and promoting. I’d send out review copies and take out a few ads. I’d pay for a book trailer and get a better website.

2. Editor says submit: I’m not clear on this one. Are we submitting to THAT editor? Or to other editors. I’d certainly submit to that editor. However, I’d do some web searching on the editor first to get a feel for what she/he’s done and find out if there are any warnings about them.

3. paying editor: I don’t pay for line editing. I’ve worked very, very hard to train myself as an editor so I don’t need to put out cash to hire someone else in. If the book was going to be a bestseller and sell to the movies, I might consider it, but with a small press book you’ll be lucky to make that money back ever. Even a midlist genre book might just earn you that kind of money, if it’s a series book with a house name, for example.

4. trek to WD editors conference: No. I want the money to flow toward me and not away from me. I like to attend conferences but getting this kind of meeting and feedback on 50 pages just wouldn’t be worth it to me. I think if I were very new in my career I might consider this kind of thing.

5. Pitch/ shop conference: It would completely depend on what type of manuscript I had to pitch. If I were writing something like a genre western or fantasy then absolutely not. You’d never get that deal. If I were writing a large scale thriller or a mystery series, or maybe an urban fantasy series, then it might certainly be worthwhile.

Carole said...

These are just the sort of questions I wish I had concrete answers too.

If you get a line edit you will get an agent and a contract.

If you go to a conference you will get an agent and a contract.

You see where I am going with this. If you come up with the exact answer to your questions let me know.

Angie Kay Dilmore said...

If I had that much money to play with, I'd attend this Highlight's Foundation Workshop. http://www.highlightsfoundation.org/pages/current/FWsched_wholeNovelHist_10.html

I've always wanted to attend one of these intense workshops, but they cost a couple grand, plus airfare. Maybe next year, when I've finsihed the novel!!