My masterpiece is finished. I’ve gone over and over it, and received many critiques. Am I ready to publish? Not quite. It’s now time to send it to a real editor, and the state of my budget is very much on my mind. I know editing is a vital aspect of creating a successful book, but it isn’t cheap. Even though I’ve pored over the words until I’m cross-eyed, and writing peers have given me wonderful suggestions, an editor will look at the manuscript with fresh, professional eyes that can spot not only punctuation and grammar mistakes but also plot holes, pacing problems, and other potentially fatal flaws in my work.
If I had a publisher for my book, they’d send it to be edited. (Not yet.) Even sending to an agent, the work should be edited. Certainly if you intend to self-publish, you need an editor. Some people think they can skip the editor, believing they know what to do. Big mistake. Going without professional editing is akin to literary suicide. Okay. That may be a bit dramatic. But, the truth is that readers have many options available to them on the internet, and they won’t suffer through bad grammar, punctuation, or boring writing. Remember, your name is out there. If it’s attached to poor work, the reader won’t give you another chance. Nor, for that matter, will an agent. I did that, sent out my manuscript without having it edited. The agent was kind. She said my writing was good, the concept solid, but the writing needed tweaking. What might have happened had it been edited?
Good editing requires time and skill, and can be expensive. But the expense is necessary. The question for me now is where in my budget can I find that extra money. The answer, though readily apparent, is difficult to digest. I’ll have to forgo one of my writing conferences.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend three writing conferences: New England Chapter of Romance Writers of America (NECRWA), Thrillerfest, and Crime Bake put on by Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
The spring NECRWA conference and the November Crime Bake are fairly inexpensive and take place in Massachusetts where I live. The July Thrillerfest, held in NYC, has a higher conference fee, and requires traveling money.
Each conference has its perks.
For those who serve up a little romance with their murder, NECRWA might work. Included in the fee is the opportunity to send in ten pages of your manuscript for two in-person critiques from either an agent or publisher. This year the conference is in Burlington, MA on April 24th and 25th.
If you’re looking for something to do this summer, Thrillerfest in NYC will be held from July 7-11. The pull of this conference, other than big-name authors, is their Pitchfest, three hours in which you can pitch to as many agents (50 or more) as possible. It is an awesome experience.
New York is also home to another summer conference, the Writers Digest Conference from July 31st to August 2nd. Friends who attended last year raved about it. The Writers Digest also has a pitching frenzy with 50 or so agents and great classes with well-known authors.
I like to finish out the year with one of my favorite conferences, Crime Bake. November 6-8 in Dedham, MA. Crime Bake features a single-pitch session and the opportunity to have an author read pages of your work ahead of time and discuss it with you at the conference.
These writing respites have given me the chance to learn about the craft of writing and the latest trends in the field. as well as meet new people. Authors, new to the game or well versed, published or unpublished come together to enjoy a special weekend. I’ve made some wonderful connections and keep in touch through social media.
It’s through my writing links that I found an editor. Despite the fact that the price for me will be one less conference this year, I’m planning to attend them all next year with a preview of a soon-to-be-published masterpiece tucked under my arm.
And all I have to do is…….keep writing.