A Conversation About Publishing

Hello Creative Writer,

During the Spring break there have been no meetings but that hasn’t kept us from having writing on our minds. We have been working diligently on our Prompts but Nick also posed a question to the group…

Nick: “Hey, If a writer is beginning their writing career, where do they inquire about finding an editor for their manuscript,or who edits manuscripts for new writers? Thanks.”

Heather: “That is an interesting question.”

Vinzeal: “Locally, I use Ron Fisher to edit my stuff. Depending on the material, he would charge less than half the national average. I know for novels he would edit it down to 70,000 words of 100,000 for about $500. The average going rate is $1200. And he does something that the other guys don’t; he critiques and make suggestions. Invaluable, to say the least. But any way… small stuff like short stories or contest entries are about $250. He’s a local writer for the Tribune Democrat and a few other publications, and editor of one of them. He also does a TV show thing out of Pittsburgh. He could tell you more about it himself. I don’t swoon over the work of other writers personally, but whatever. Lol. I do respect the guy because he’s honest. He’ll be honest with you about your work. His time is valuable and if you are serious, be honest with him. His contact is fishersince82@gmail.com. Tell him that Vinzeal Wolf referred you so I can get a discount on my next book. I’m submitting Work to Cyle Young this year and he’s your average pompous, full of himself, no nonsense editor out of Pittsburgh. I don’t submit work without putting it through its paces with Ron first. You don’t get many second chances submitting work with most publishers and editors. Best of luck! Binge writing pays off!”

Kate: “If you’re planning to go the traditional publishing route, paying for exhaustive editing of a manuscript before submitting it may not be strictly necessary; if the core of your work is solid and engaging enough, an agent should be able to see through a few errors, and a publisher will typically handle the editing once the book is accepted.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to submit something that’s at least clean and pleasant to read. Learning to edit your own work will make a huge difference—look for online classes or tutorials, read some grammar and style guides, and pay attention to the mechanics and styles of what you like to read or would like to write (if your favorite writers have blogs or books on writing, definitely check those out). It may feel like you’re taking time away from your writing, but it will make you a stronger writer going forward and save you a lot of time in revisions.

It can also help to turn to the other writers in your life. I trade critiques with friends who write because hiring an editor just isn’t feasible for us. Even if it were, it can be hard to justify spending that kind of money on one manuscript when there’s no guarantee that it will sell. Find someone whose judgment you trust. For copyediting: someone whose writing is relatively clean and error-free. For manuscript critiques: someone whose work you enjoy reading, or who you know to have a good grasp of whatever element (characterization, dialogue, pacing, syntax, etc.) you feel may be lacking in the piece you’re looking to polish. Even a non-writer who is simply a good reader may be able to offer a thoughtful critique.”

Vinzeal: “Honestly, that’s sound advice for a term paper but when it comes to published works your buddies will be able to help with spell checking, grammar, and sentence structure but that’s not what sells a manuscript. If you intend on leaving the work up to the editor, you are sadly mistaken if you think they are paying to do your job and five you the credit. Every word that is corrected or changed after it leaves your hand will be credited to the editor as co-author.

Seriously, if you are serious about publishing your work, You will either pay for your own editing, pay the publishing company to edit for you and spit the credit and/or proceeds, or you will just have to self publish and let the chips fall where they may. I’ve done 2 of the 3 and I know from experience that the only authors that get free editing have book deals already in place! Signed authors have their own staffs to do those things.”

Thomasa: “Hello everyone, I’m so happy to see the group engaged in some Spring Break Writing Talk! This is such an interesting and diverse topic and one that I feel is very important for budding and even veteran writers to explore to its fullest potential. There is a wealth of knowledge to explore and different people approached this in different ways.

Nick, you are a good writer and as Kate said it is a great idea to improve your writing, ideas and style by talking to other writers, such as members of this group, and friends for feedback and expanding your own knowledge by reading broadly. Letting others read your work can give you great insight into what works and what doesn’t before you ever even think of submitting your book to an editor, publisher or contest. Because it will ultimately be normal readers who will buy your book. Before you even want to think too hard about grammar and syntax you want to make sure that the story you are telling is compelling and makes the reader want to know how things end.

A great deal of writing is re-writing- often whole chapters, and even acts, of your story will never make it to the final draft. You don’t want to spend a lot of time or money editing parts of a story that will never see the light of day anyway.

As was also stated, publishing is a business, first and foremost, and should be approached as such. When you are getting people involved who expect to either be paid for or to make money from your work you should have something that you feel is ready for this part of the process. These people are not friends. This is about making money to them. Their time with your story is valuable.

Have you started on your manuscript yet? I’d love to read it and give you some feedback when you have reached the point where you are ready to share.”

Vinzeal: “Hi All,

I do think that is a great point made about allowing people around you to gauge whether your content is compelling and/or relevant. Which makes it good to get feed back from people you trust. And the fact that publishing is a business, makes It even more relevant to do things in an orderly fashion and with confidential agreements in place. We had the discussion in one meet-up where we talked about query options. Most queries only discuss subject matter. Whether you can really write or not doesn’t come into light until after someone actually says that they’re actually interested in your content.  Since a lot of what you write won’t make the final cut and if you are depending on others to edit, you want to track your changes during the process. No matter who makes the changes, it’s a good idea to go from draft to draft or version to version. That’s why it takes so long to complete a piece of work. You can bang out an idea in a very short period, but making it publisher worthy will take time. With that considered, paying for editing is the last step you would want to take. And it shouldn’t happen until you are satisfied that you have exhausted all of your preliminary efforts. Not everyone is at that stage of their writing careers. Just knowing that so much goes into the business side of writing is an indication of how much writing that has to be done to consider yourself serious or a hobbyist. This is why I encourage binge writing and contest entries as often as possible. Even free submissions will build up your courage for bigger projects!

At the end of the day, however, you can’t beat having relationships with other professional writers and editors. Reach out to locally published writers. The would probably love to engage in conversations like these.”

Thomasa: “Vinzeal, I completely agree! J Nick, tracking your changes (and any changes those trusted readers make or suggest) is vital! Because every person who reads your work will have different experiences, preferences and interests; You don’t want to edit your story down to cater to just one reader. You want to be as balanced as possible in your approach to grasp as many readers as possible. Sometimes, this is difficult. You want the person who is taking the time to read your work to feel valued because their opinions definitely matter, but at the end of the day it is for the good of the work that we must decide for ourselves how things will progress.

I’ve heard stories of great writers who slaved over their manuscripts for years before letting anyone read them and I’ve also heard of writers who published sections all over the internet to gauge the real world response to the ideas and characters they would later craft into their work. This decision is very personal. It’s really up to you.

And Vinzeal definitely is right. Keep in mind that at some point, eventually, you will want to share what you write and strangers are going to judge it. You always want to put your best foot forward in life- so to, do that with your writing. When you begin networking (and you will because if you want to publish it will become very important to make connections) make sure that you approach these contact respectfully and professionally. You want to be someone that they will want to work with.

The biggest thing to remember at this point in your writing is that you don’t need to rush. You have a lifetime to publish—you will keep improving and learning with each interaction and through each story you write.”

Vinzeal: “Good stuff Thomasa!!”


This was a great continuation to our craft talk about querying and the business side of writing. I asked if it would be alright to post this here so that any or our followers who might have some additional insights and advice can add to the conversation.

Publishing is a huge part of writing. It is so important though to remember that the work itself comes first. We agreed that you need to do all the preliminary work first before presenting anything to anyone “in the business” but you can get your work to the point of submitting by sharing with trusted friends and colleagues, other writers and trusted readers.

Every writer wants the “inside scoop” on what it takes to see their name in print and to become a famous or at least notable author. If you have any advice please share it in the comment section below..

Happy Spring Break by the way and Happy Writing!



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