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Do you read extensively in the market you’re targeting?
For example, if you’re targeting Christian fiction, do you read a lot of Christian fiction? If you’re targeting mass market romance, do you read a lot of mass market romances? If you’re targeting fantasy, do you read a lot of fantasy?
If the answer is no, you are definitely not ready to hire a freelance editor.
You may not realize it, but freelance editors can really tell when you haven’t read extensively in the market you’re targeting.
Whether it’s a particular genre or a particular publishing house you’re targeting, if you haven’t done your research by reading those books, it’s obvious in your writing.
For example, I have read manuscripts targeting, say, a Harlequin category romance line, who don’t have the hero and heroine meeting in the first chapter. If the writers read those romance books, they’d know a requirement of the line is for the hero and heroine to meet in the first chapter.
I have also read manuscripts targeting mainstream fiction, but the stories read like an academic paper. If the writer actually read current mainstream fiction (not fiction from ten or twenty years ago), they’d pick up the patterns of how modern novelists craft a story, how a novel is structured, how a novel is paced.
They’d see that modern fiction has a deeper point of view than older fiction, that modern fiction relies heavily on dialogue and conflict, that modern fiction creates an experience for the reader that a writer should strive to emulate in their own store.
Reading books in the genre or line of your target market can be as valuable as reading writing craft books, going to classes and workshops, or going to conferences. Writers pick up subtle things about writing that sometimes cannot be articulated, but which are there and real. And those things make your writing stronger.
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