Warning old post alert. I can happily announce that I am now an independently published author. Check out my books and journey by reading my more recent posts or the resources section….
From my very few years active as a ‘writer’ looking to get published someday, there have been many things that I quickly and sometimes painfully learned. Now don’t get me wrong, many of those lessons were from my own making and this blog post is a resource for writers much like me who are doing their research.
I will have to begin this story from a few years back, but if you don’t then simply scroll down to the review of the Oxford editors. My naïve journey to publication was in its first six months. Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project also looked very naïve and well pretty much stunk in terms of everything a part from the basic story.
You haven’t need to go very far from the google search bar to find people who call themselves ‘literary agents’ and having exhausted the list of my ‘top picks’ the dregs were becoming my top choice. Hence my first lesson:
I received a reply from a person calling themselves an editor who worked closely with the agent in hand and that I would receive a reply soon. After some months I eventually got a phone call with someone, the whole situation didn’t feel right. The agent didn’t even seem professional or have an ounce of interest, however the editor showed some likeness towards my book. This eventually led to the agent presenting a piece of paper which I should sign (yes alarm bells are ringing). The editor wanted to go ahead and edit my book even suggesting a price. After sometime I backed out and ran for the hills. My lessons on this case study were:
- Looking back my book was nowhere near the standard of being put to a publishing house. So these people were clearly taking me for a ride
- The whole demeanour of the agent and editor team seemed off to me.
- They took no real interest and then began to offer me ‘contracts’ or ‘editing’ for a price
- They could see a naïve inexperienced author who could have been starry eyed.
Now the back story has been provided I can go on to my review of the oxford editors.
Sometime later and after using the editor (the one who wanted money for editing) and their free advice my novel began to take shape. But still the literary agents were rejecting left, right and center (they still are, sad face).
Maybe I needed my manuscript looked at, just to see if I was on the right track. Doing this from scratch and without an English degree really put me against the odds of ever finding any level of success as an author.
Eventually I found my way into getting a manuscript assessment. At the time just googling such services I came across the oxford editors. For an undisclosed fee they would look at my book, tell me the good things and bad. They would also provide some kind of book report. Sounds good right.
Ok so contact was made along with payment and the manuscript had been sent. Some time had passed and the person who would be assessing the book also made contact. She happened to be in charge of the oxford editors. Being told it would take 6 weeks I dived into editing my second book
More time passed, and more time passed. After a few months and much contact I eventually told them that making me wait for such time for such money was unacceptable.
Then it looked like this particular oxford editor then pushed the panic button as I was sent some half-done report with actually a good few advising points. By this time I had learned that maybe paying sums of money is only really necessary when you can afford to loose it, and nobody is really in that situation.
I accepted that perhaps I had been rolled over but used the few points of advice and implemented them to Clark Thorn and the Warrior project.
Right now it wasn’t looking good for the oxford editors and I was ready to get a review out there. But I decided not and waited.
This year rolled around and I received an email from the person who tried to assess my manuscript. Strange, I thought and decided to ignore it. Perhaps the inbox was being cleaned out. At this stage I accepted the assessment would never appear.
Some more months later I receive another email, it contained two attached documents. The body of the email went something along these lines :
“I was just cleaning out a few files on the computer and these appear to have
bounced back and then gone into the junk file, so I am not sure if you ever
got the entire report and on the script, I also marked in red some of the
many typos etc – I enclose a copy as it should be helpful. I have done a bit
to illustrate where you are going wrong in grammar and punctuation. I would
really advice a good copy edit”
In all honesty I don’t particularly buy the above statement, but low and behold I had received a full manuscript assessment and the whole manuscript had even been highlighted for errors.
It had taken a whole year but I finally received what I paid for.
Right now I am implementing those changes and points to really give myself and Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project a fighting chance to be seen by the world.
The oxford editors were slow, and it took a lot of chasing. Books take time and so do they, parting with sums of money for this service is something you will have to trust your gut instincts with. Overall I am happy with the service although it took a year as opposed to 6 weeks.
- Think long and hard about contacting an editing or assessment agency and if they have a reputation that can be trustworthy. Check them out, look up the people they work with and for on twitter.
- Money is something that doesn’t grow on trees, so really really think about parting with the cash before deciding
- Things take time, although the oxford editors should say that the assessment would have taken longer than 6 weeks they didn’t, but it will take time.
- Use the advice given to you, I know sometimes advice can be critical but make it constructive. Use it to get ahead with writing