Author Topic: When to let it go...  (Read 1644 times)

Offline Jodic

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When to let it go...
« on: February 01, 2019, 06:41:26 AM »
Hi Everyone!

I had an agent really like my mg novel, and she asked for a line edit and to cut 30 pages.

I cut he 30 pages, but I must admit, in my ignorance, I thought a line edit was a copy edit. Anyways, I cut the pages and cleaned it up with copyediting in mind and sent it back.

She said she felt the cuts worked well, but the language still needed a polish. Her assistant said they are going to step aside.

Okay...this is where maybe I must let it go. I can hire an editor to do a line edit (now that I've researched this).

Should I email this agent back and say I'm still willing to do a line edit and would she take a look? Or is this stepping over a line and I should let 'sleeping dogs lie'.

I'm having a tough one with this. I usually air on the side of conservative and polite (so let it go), but sometimes I know if you email back with a polite request it might work.

Any thoughts or experiences would be great!!



Offline Munley

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 07:47:14 AM »
I would have assumed a line edit was a copyedit.

What makes you think you misunderstood? What did you find in your research that contradicts this?

So, if it is not copyediting, what is a "line edit" and can the definition of it vary with whoever is asking you to do one?

Offline Waterfall

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 08:20:22 AM »
I'd say there's no harm in asking. Say that you weren't clear on their goals when they asked for a line edit, ask for a couple of examples they found of what they consider infelicitous structure, and make it clear that you want to work with them to make the book the very best it can be. The worst that can happen is what's already happened, which is that they say no.

To Munley's point, I would also have taken "line edit" to mean copyediting, which always includes repairing the occasional clumsy sentence along with spelling and punctuation and formatting. It doesn't sound to me like you made any sort of mistake in what you provided.

Offline jessikalindst

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 11:05:46 AM »
I was recently asked to do a line edit myself with own manuscript from an agent and I too, was wondering what exactly that was. Well, turns out a 'line edit' addresses creative content, focusing on how the story is communicated to the reader.

Here's an article about it for anyone curious: https://nybookeditors.com/2015/01/copyediting-vs-line-editing/

Offline Jodic

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 01:39:42 PM »
First of all, yes, Jessikalindst is correct! I too found out it is not a copyedit.

Jessikalindst, have you found an editor yet, or are you planning to do this on your own?

Just curious!

Thank you everyone for chiming in and offering your thoughts.

I may email the agent back...

Offline 007 fan

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 07:41:29 PM »
I was recently asked to do a line edit myself with own manuscript from an agent and I too, was wondering what exactly that was. Well, turns out a 'line edit' addresses creative content, focusing on how the story is communicated to the reader.

Here's an article about it for anyone curious: https://nybookeditors.com/2015/01/copyediting-vs-line-editing/

That's a great link! The article describes the differences better than my quick search when Jodic began her thread.

I may email the agent back...

If you do, let us know how it turned out. Karma for luck!  :)

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Offline RJP

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2019, 02:28:15 AM »
Is this a common thing? For agents to request a line edit? Because if so, it seems like a shady practice. I mean, there’s absolutely no reason for them not to tell you to spend your money on that. There’s zero risk for them. Of course they’d prefer you to spend $2000 of your money to give them a pre-edited manuscript before they try to sell your script to an editor.

But what happens when every agent asks for a line edit (because it’s your money so why not?) Then You’ve got talented writers having to compete against droves of borderline ghost-written manuscripts.

And what happens to the original voice? I find it hard to believe that a line editor doesn’t just infuse their own voice and style into every job they do.

P.S. Sorry for highjacking your post.

Offline Jodic

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2019, 01:48:03 PM »
Yes, yes, I see your point.

I've never had a line edit before. I have contacted a person and they are taking a look at the first five pages.

I'm interested to see what they do, what problems they see and what I can learn.

I agree with you in that if they don't have a sense of my voice, then I won't follow through.

I guess what I want to know is do I need to work on my writing craft in this dept. and if so, where?

Offline jessikalindst

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2019, 03:06:33 PM »
First of all, yes, Jessikalindst is correct! I too found out it is not a copyedit.

Jessikalindst, have you found an editor yet, or are you planning to do this on your own?

Just curious!

Thank you everyone for chiming in and offering your thoughts.

I may email the agent back...

Hi Jodic!

I am actually doing this with the help of a beta reader and fellow writer who posts on here. We've been combing through each other's MS for a couple months now and there has been much improvements, at least I feel there has for sure. :)

Is this a common thing? For agents to request a line edit? Because if so, it seems like a shady practice. I mean, there’s absolutely no reason for them not to tell you to spend your money on that. There’s zero risk for them. Of course they’d prefer you to spend $2000 of your money to give them a pre-edited manuscript before they try to sell your script to an editor.

But what happens when every agent asks for a line edit (because it’s your money so why not?) Then You’ve got talented writers having to compete against droves of borderline ghost-written manuscripts.

And what happens to the original voice? I find it hard to believe that a line editor doesn’t just infuse their own voice and style into every job they do.

P.S. Sorry for highjacking your post.

I share this concern too, which is why I chose to do this without hiring an editor; I still want to keep my original voice and style.

I was recently asked to do a line edit myself with own manuscript from an agent and I too, was wondering what exactly that was. Well, turns out a 'line edit' addresses creative content, focusing on how the story is communicated to the reader.

Here's an article about it for anyone curious: https://nybookeditors.com/2015/01/copyediting-vs-line-editing/

That's a great link! The article describes the differences better than my quick search when Jodic began her thread.
Thanks 007 fan! I too was glad I found this article that describes the differences clearly.  :)

Offline koji

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2019, 06:06:17 AM »
A talented editor will edit and make suggestions in a way that amplifies your voice instead of muddying it or changing it to their voice. The unfortunate thing is there are a lot of poor editors out there who do not know how to keep their own voice out of edits.

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2019, 12:00:55 PM »
That's a really great article from JessikaL. I didn't know that about line editing. It's more comprehensive than I thought. I'd probably email back and say you assumed you knew what line editing was, and went over your MS but then recently found out line editing is different to what you thought.

Will they accept a re submission with line editing. 

No harm in trying. Be really polite though and say you know they're busy but you were wondering etc.

I think I remember your first pages and they were really good. Maybe rest of book not quite as polished as the rest ( that's a guess ). Did they say anything specific when requesting line editing to help you know how to approach your revision?

Offline alexatd

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2019, 12:40:20 PM »
I know I'm late here but I want to stress: you don't need to hire an editor to do a line edit. I don't think that agent was suggesting any such thing. It's understood in the industry that if you're going to be a pro author that you learn to self-edit on this level/produce prose at this level. You can find a CP to help you with it, or learn to do it yourself. I do think the agent was a bit obtuse to call it a line edit--a concept most unpublished writers don't understand--when they could have just told you the prose wasn't as sophisticated/flowing/efficient as it could be (or whatever the specific issue is). You can definitely learn to self-edit/write on this level, though it takes practice. It means looking at your word choice, length of sentences/paragraphs and sentence construction/variation, watching for telling/info-dumping, white room syndrome, looking for spots where you are dramatizing when you should be narrating and vice versa, etc. Wish the agent had just told you this and let you do a proper R&R. So sorry this happened to you, OP.
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Offline Ro

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Re: When to let it go...
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2019, 07:03:46 PM »
Wow, sorry you had to go through this. Honestly, I don't know if I'd want to work with an agent who can't communicate things to me clearly or makes assumptions about what I should already know instead of asking me directly.