Monday, October 22, 2012

In Praise of Appraisals

Post by Jenny

My husband and I have decided to take advantage of the low interest rates and refinance our mortgage. The loan will also include a little cash out for some much-needed updating in our kitchen. (Before stainless steel appliances, black appliances, and white appliances, there were almond-colored appliances. Remember that? My refrigerator does.) So we had to have an appraisal.

It’s easy to take opinions with a grain of salt because they are so subjective, and there’s room in this world for all kinds of eclectic tastes. If you don’t believe me, watch a few House Hunters episodes. (If my husband had his way, he would install a basketball hoop in the kitchen and paint a mural of Wrigley Field on the wall, which, he reluctantly acknowledges, wouldn’t be everyone’s choice.)

An appraisal is a professional opinion with a clear purpose: to place a dollar value on something, be it as small as an earring or as large as a home. And that can feel a little strange. When the appraiser arrived with Nikon and tape measure in hand, I wanted to follow her around and apologize for every imperfection, no matter how insignificant.

There are times in life when a garden-variety opinion just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, paying for a professional’s expertise and advice is the best investment you can make. Take that WIP. Your friends love it. Your critique group loves it. Your mother loves it. For some reason, however, you can’t seem to drum up serious interest from an agent or publisher.

If you’re like me, and you spend way more money on your writing than you earn, it can be tough to fork over the dough needed to hire an editor. But we all have habits that are easy to overlook, words we overuse, and stylistic flourishes that are more of a distraction than we realize. A trained eye can spot the flaws that reduce the salability of a manuscript. If you're ready to bite the bullet, do the research to find an editor with a good reputation. You want a professional appraisal that will polish your WIP and lay a strong foundation for the manuscripts that follow.

Has hiring an editor helped you with your writing?


Patricia Stoltey said...

I hired Trai Cartwright to do Story Notes on one of my manuscripts and she gave me pages and pages of great comments and new ideas. She also does line-by-line editing that she calls Page Notes.

We have other experienced author/editors in Northern Colorado Writers who do a wonderful job so there's plenty of expertise to call on right here in our own back yard.

Jenny said...

So true, Pat. Thanks for sharing your experience. I've never worked with Trai but I know she has a stellar reputation!

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