Tag Archives: editors

Death to Synopses

Ok, everyone knows writing query letters take time, energy, tears, editing, and more tears. However, a synopsis is perhaps the worst thing I’ve ever had to write.

The query has its own cute little synopsis built right in to get your attention and catch your interest. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a long synopsis that lists every major event, main characters, and all the plot twists. As an agent, I’d love to have that to know what’s coming without reading 10 books a day. As a writer I want to strangle my computer.

The problem with synopsis is not giving away all the juicy secrets, it’s the total lack of formula. Finding an example query is not too hard. Most agency websites have them, most Google searches can help you out, but a synopsis can be anywhere from 1 page to 50 pages depending on what the agent wants. It’s even more infuriating when the agent doesn’t say how long the synopsis should be! Rant rant rant rant rant etc.

Thank you for listening to my frustrated brain. I’ve tried looking around for help from my SCBWI stranger/friends, but I’ve come up dry. They’ve been instrumental in helping craft my query and MS, but they too seem to have different ideas of what a synopsis is. Some people thought I meant query letter with the baby synopsis. Nope. Some people thought the synopsis was an old practice. *sigh* Nope. One person read my synopsis and gave me their opinion on what they think I should be focusing on. Umm….nope, but thanks for the second guessing?

It’s very frustrating and concerning. My query has gotten a couple agents interested and I want my synopsis to do the same. There are people I want to send my MS to who also want a synopsis, but I’m afraid of sending the “wrong” synopsis and then have them brush me off as someone who didn’t read the directions. I like directions. I will follow them to the end of time. I promise, agent-who-may-read-this-some-day, I don’t want to flood your inbox with spam!

Anyway, my current synopsis is 500 words (ish) with all the juicy secrets, about 4 characters worth mentioning, and maybe some kind of flow (but not likely.) I’d like to find a way to improve my brain fart of a book summary. Please, does anyone have a great source of where to find good example fiction queries?

I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I like to be helpful when I can in my blog, but right now I’m at a complete loss.

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Filed under agent search, book synopsis, query, writing

A little reflecting on editors

I am working on a project for an entrepreneurship class that I want to use to expand into my existing business as a self-published author. This mock-business has developed into a resource for new authors looking to self-publish for the first time. Ideally, this business will be filled with online resources on how to find the right self-publishing company, editors, cover artist, etc. For the final in this class I will only have bits and pieces of this greater goal. Especially since I have only published one book and the field is constantly changing, I cannot be that resource just yet.

However, I got to thinking and I really wanted to take some time to wrap-up my experience with finding editors. It is easy to think that publishing companies will take care of everything for you and make it simple to publish. Easy is not always the best way. Self-publishing today is getting a better reputation, but there are still enough authors out there who do not put in the time necessary to produce a good product. Looking at my book now I find mistakes that make me *facepalm* but I know without the help of my editors the book would not have the story structure and flow that it has now.

When I started out looking for self-publishing companies I discovered that they all had packages that would make it easy to publish my book. I admit I was tempted. I like having a one-stop-shop to get everything done, but there was something fishy about the editing packages available. Author House was one of the places I looked. At the time I was thinking I did not want a package but it would be nice for them to edit the MS. I called to ask what they would charge. I learned a fun fact–they charge per word on all their edits.

Keep in mind: at this stage my book was 100,000 words. It was long (too long) and getting that thing edited was going to hurt the budget. If I went with AH I would be paying close to $3,000 just to get the grammar checked! If I wanted content editing it would be almost $5,000. It is possible they do a fine job, but I did not know this company. I needed to figure out my other options to see if editing really is that expensive all the time.

By this time I had joined SCBWI, which has been one of the best decisions I have made as an author. I joined some message boards and began asking around to see what people had used and if there were better options. This is where I discovered my editor, Chris Eboch. She, like other freelance editors, is much more affordable than publishing packages. She also specialized in MG/YA fantasy which was perfect for “The Healing Pool!” I read her testimonials and emailed her.

She completely turned my MS around. She knew when to cut, what to ask, and how to get 12 year olds to care! She pointed out how my descriptive chapters read more adult-like and that children would be less interested. She knew her audience and could articulate well how to fix some of the plot holes and where to cut chapters. Although Chris only does content editing she taught me more in her edits than in any english class I have ever taken. I now look at my writing and other writing with her in mind to help make drafts more efficient.

For my line editing I decide to use the company Yellow Bird Editors. They did a fine job and had a quick turn around. Their prices were much more reasonable than publishing packages, but line editing is expensive. It just is. I went with Yellow Bird since they seem to have good standing with their editors. They each have testimonials and bios, and authors have the option to ask for specific people they want to work on their book. I admired that quality in the business and I am glad I chose to work with them.

In short, never take the easy way out. Working a little harder to find the right people and the best decision for your wallet will lead to a book you feel closer to. I enjoyed going through the purple pen markings Chris gave me and the 1,500 Word reviewer comments Kristen (Yellow Bird) gave me! If I decide to self-publish again I will likely keep looking for other options even though the ones I have are already pretty fantastic. It is best to connect with individuals rather than a large corporation.

Have any questions for me? I would love to help if you are just starting out! Or, do you have a great editor? How did you find her?

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Filed under Editing