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Hiring an Editor For a Query

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#1 Kelz1990


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Posted 26 June 2018 - 10:15 AM

I started rewriting my query letter a while back, and not because I was trying to get an agent (since I'm nowhere near that level), but I thought you needed an updated query to get a critique partner or beta reader. Well I've recently joined Scribophile and I'm also looking into Critique Circle.


But when the time comes for me to look for an agent, would it be best if I hired a freelance editor to work on my query letter? Every time I posted my query on here, it either didn't have the right elements (goals/obstacles/stakes) or people complained that the stakes weren't there early enough, and that I needed to take remedial steps to tweek my query (i.e. ripping the story apart from its backbone). Would it be worth it to pay hundreds of dollars to have an editor look at my query in the near future?

#2 JoQwerty


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Posted 27 June 2018 - 08:05 AM

Before hiring an editor, ask for a money back guarantee. :wink: If the query letter the editor helped you write does not result in at least one request for the full manuscript, then it was worthless and you should demand your money back.



Seriously, there are several points to keep in mind.


First, many people offer one shot reviews of your submission material. Such reviews can be more costly than they look as creating a good query letter is an iterative process and you will have to pay for every iteration.


Second, the people offering these services are not experienced agents and their opinions are not worth more than the opinions you will find here. The only person who can give you better advice than what you can find for free on the Internet is an experienced agent, but they are too busy reading all the queries they get everyday. The only experienced I agent I know who runs a query writing service is Janet Reid. You can find her at the Query Shark, but hers is a public service where she makes comments she hopes others will find useful and publishes your letter in her blog afterwards.


Third, a single query letter is rarely enough. The advice I have been hearing is to send out a batch of 10-20 queries. If you get no requests for more materials, you need to revise your query. (Here is where that money back guarantee would come in handy and why no one will give it to you...)





#3 KitCampbell


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Posted 27 June 2018 - 09:19 AM

As an editor myself, I'd recommend against it. Query letters are highly subjective, and as JoQwerty mentioned, they often go through a lot of iterations, so you're going to spend a lot of money on something that may not get you any hits in the end. The ONLY time it might be a good idea is if you're already working with an editor for your manuscript--then they'll be familiar with your work and can perhaps offer some input on whether you're hitting the core conflict and hook in your query. But I still wouldn't rely on them for finalizing your letter.

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