I’ve finished reading your manuscript and feel there was a great deal working for it. Based on our conversations last week, I can see what you’re trying to do, and there certainly a few areas of developmental opportunity we can talk about.
However, before I tuck into the big-picture stuff, we should talk about copyediting for a moment.
Whether you decide to move forward with substantive/developmental editing or not, you should know that your manuscript is eventually going to require the attention of a copyeditor. I want to be clear that this should not be taken as a criticism of your writing or interpreted so as to diminish what you’ve accomplished. The fact is all manuscripts require copyediting, which is the reason why traditional publishers subject their manuscripts, even those written by established authors, to at least one round of copyediting. Often times multiple rounds.
Writing and editing are two different skills, and even an individual blessed with ability in both can’t effectively write and edit at the same time. Furthermore, a disciplined author going back and trying to copyedit something they’ve already written is going to be naturally handicapped. Editing your own prose is difficult for a couple of reasons: (1) we tend to be blind to our own quirks and foibles, and (2) it is almost impossible to pass your eyes over something you’ve written without reading what you intended to write rather than what you actually made its way onto the page.
Which is certainly not to suggest that authors shouldn’t bother going back over their work with an eye to cleaning things up and tightening the prose. Rather I am trying to suggest that a fresh set of eyes—especially if they belong to a trained copyeditor—will usually find things that authors have missed.
I was a buyer in the book industry for a number of years and was once told by a rep that Alexander McCall Smith and Cormac McCarthy were known for submitting near letter-perfect manuscripts—the latter no doubt riding out of the setting sun with his latest novel tucked into his saddlebag. They were known for this precisely because it was noteworthy.
Most authors require copyediting, and you’re no exception.