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message 1: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments Today I stumbled on a Goodreads posting advertising editorial services. I’m a medical editor (I edit articles written by physicians for medical journals), so out of morbid curiosity I took a look.

Wow.

In the short posting, there were no fewer than 23 errors. Gaffes included the following: missing commas around correlative conjunctions, sense, capitalization, hyphenation, and inconsistency in a vertical list. I wanted to denounce the person who made the post and point out every mistake she’d made, but I believe that discretion is the better part of valor, especially in a public forum such as Goodreads. I’ve read barrages leveled at others who have promoted themselves as having editorial or proofreading skills when in fact those skills were nonexistent, and the exchanges made me cringe even though I agreed with the people who were attacking the promoters’ deficiencies.

That people are touting themselves as editors when they don’t know the first thing about the craft infuriates me, and in the course of my reviews of indie books, person after person has told me that the manuscript had been edited by a “professional.”

There are two sides to this story. First, some people honestly think they can edit but actually can’t. I know this because until recently I offered an editing test, and one person who didn’t pass it was shocked and wanted me to help her become a better editor. Second, some are out to make a quick buck. I know this because people are people.

So here’s my question (finally!): What should I do when I see such things? Ignore them? Point them out privately to those who are laboring under the delusion that they can edit? Expose the “editor” as a fraud? The latter would be doing a small service to fellow indies, but…

It’s a dilemma, and I’d like to hear from others who have wrestled with the same problem.


message 2: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 160 comments I feel your pain! I did medical transcription for 20 years and you know how precise the language has to be. I also wish newscasters would call me and ask how to pronounce something before the broadcast! But there are different types of editors. Some do well with story structure and the big picture and others are down to the minute grammar detail. And others in between. I think a politely worded and helpful post would be a good thing.


message 3: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 158 comments C.M.J. wrote: "Today I stumbled on a Goodreads posting advertising editorial services. I’m a medical editor (I edit articles written by physicians for medical journals), so out of morbid curiosity I took a look.
..."


Hi

I am one of those Indi' writers who has not yet used a separate editor. Some reviews have told me I need one, others have just enjoyed my stories. The fact that I cannot trust some of the adverts on GR does not make me want to rush and employ one. I have not done so yet, simply because of cost! The ROI for the book has to cover all my costs other than my time to write and publish it. I have yet to see a service that will. I would hope that my sales would go up if I used an editor, but there is no guarantee of that.

If you believe that the editors out there offering there services are being fraudulent at worst and offering a poor service at best then please alert us indi' authors accordingly. Whilst this problem persists there is no way I'll part with my money for these services.


message 4: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments Philip wrote: "C.M.J. wrote: "Today I stumbled on a Goodreads posting advertising editorial services. I’m a medical editor (I edit articles written by physicians for medical journals), so out of morbid curiosity ..."

Thanks, Belle and Phillip (and your newscaster comment made me cackle, Belle!).

I see your point, Philip, and agree with you absolutely. I offered the test I mentioned because I was trying to find editors to promote on Goodreads and my website, people I could in good conscience recommend. An abusive response led me to quit that endeavor, unfortunately. As we all know, no good deed goes unpunished.

So, Philip, what would you suggest in regard to possible retribution, should I decide to call the "editors" out in public?


message 5: by Feliks (last edited Aug 28, 2013 11:26AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Take away their flashcards! Throw handfuls of ellipsis at them. Flog them with parentheses!

p.s. Indi'?

p.p.s. "newscasters"...ha! You mean the talking-heads at 12 and 5 pm each day? What can we honestly expect from them? Failed actors, like Don Henley said.


message 6: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments Thanks, Linda and Cody. I'll take the private route first and then see what happens.


message 7: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments I'll be honest, I'm kind of having the same issue with some of these people claiming to be graphic designers.

Granted, I have seen some really lovely portfolios among some of the designers looking for work on here. But I've seen some very non-professional looking stuff as well, and it bothers me to see people shelling out for sub par stuff.

No graceful way out of that one, near as I can tell.


message 8: by Feliks (last edited Aug 28, 2013 09:39PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) It wasn't so long ago that starry-eyed idealists were clamoring for the day when an everyday citizen could be walking down the street and, on the spur-of-the-moment, suddenly start making a movie; or composing a song arrangement, or some other endeavor. Now, its happening; and not only that, people are 'publishing books with just a few strokes of their finger'.

Guess what, this superabundance of 'artistic freedom' produces mostly crap! Why did these aesthetes imagine that talent and professionalism would be as equally distributed to the new degree that technology would be? A thousand people making new artwork doesn't suddenly mean that we have 1000 new and wonderful pieces of art! It rather means that we can no longer really find the art worth our time. Anytime you flood a market with convenient knock-offs, you debase the authenticity and originality we'd like to see preserved.


message 9: by L.F. (new)

L.F. Falconer | 92 comments Feliks wrote: "It wasn't so long ago that starry-eyed idealists were clamoring for the day when an everyday citizen could be walking down the street and, on the spur-of-the-moment, suddenly start making a movie; ..."

well said.


message 10: by Cate (new)

Cate (catesbooknuthut) | 75 comments Straight to the point, and well said Feliks


message 11: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 70 comments I read a lot of indie books, including beta reading, and I find a lot of them start out OK, then fall apart somewhere at 40-50% mark. I suspect some unscrupulous editors only work on the beginning of the manuscript, hoping the author will trust their work and no re-read the whole thing. Some authors have confessed to me that they have not checked the "edited" version and simply either put it "out there" or gave it to the betas. As with any new industry, which self-pub is, by comparison to traditional, there are a lot of frauds out there. Please expose them, for the sake of authors and readers both!


message 12: by Regina (last edited Aug 28, 2013 07:20PM) (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments My editor returns my manuscripts so covered in red pen they look like the victims in a slasher flick. I don't turn a page without seeing her writing, so I know she's doing what I'm paying her to do. I'm lucky to have found her, from the sound of it.

Putting stuff out without going over it for a final edit is reckless. Writers really do need to look after themselves and make sure they know what's going on. There's a lot of people trying to take advantage out there. :-(


message 13: by David (new)

David Ir may not have been the same post, but the price seemed too good to be true.


message 14: by David (last edited Aug 28, 2013 09:04PM) (new)

David Devere | 10 comments My first novel is actually about to have a minor update because of small typos that have (miraculously) appeared in the text. I don't go through editors per se, my wife is my editor and my proofreader. Sometimes we have off days, and sometimes things just get missed in the process. Does this mean that I am terrible at what I do, or that she is a hack as an editor? I don't really think so. Professionalism aside, I think that the striving for excellence is the best that I or anyone can offer; and who knows, maybe in the course of the journey we get better at it.

I know that I don't trust very many people to be honest about my writing. It's difficult for me to separate professional critiquing from superiority complexes, and if what you say is true about substandard editors taking advantage of writers, then I'll stick with my method, and pray that a faithful reader will over look an errant comma or word, and look inward to the story as a whole.

If my missing comma or semicolon is enough to ruin the read for them, then that's too clinical for me to consider a valuable use of their time.


message 15: by Pemry (new)

Pemry Janes | 9 comments I am baffled why a writer would publish without going over the final edit. I had to stop myself from going over my work again and again.

But let's not pretend that professionals don't make mistakes, even big ones. Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond is sitting on my bookshelf right now, it's missing about 50 pages of text.

They didn't fall out, they simply never got printed.


message 16: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments There is one almost unrelated example I want to bring from my work in a humanitarian foundation here in Armenia. Together with our benefactors from the Armenian diaspora, we were able to put together a project of providing computer equipment to schools in Tavush region of Armenia. Within the project we were able to provide more than 1000 computers (which means that all the 72 schools of the region now have a functioning computer labs). Before the project, there were almost no computers available for the children there and the IT classes were carried out by drawing diagrams on the blackboard. Now, for more than a year, the students have the opportunity of using up to date equipment. Not all of them have excelled equally but a student from Artsvaberd border village who had never used a computer in his life before last September was able to come up with an IT hub development idea that was recognized with the Award of the President of the Republic of Armenia. The point of this short story is - more opportunities do mean more possibilities that we will have breakthroughs - better films and books and art and technology. Monopolization of any industry within a select group of people of limited number of countries is counter-effective.


message 17: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 158 comments For any industry we should look at the barriers to entry. Skill is one barrier, but so are closed shops, high controlled prices, cost of production and raw materials. With Indi' (apostrophe because it's an abbreviation) writers we now have much more raw material. The traditional publishing industry, just like the music industry, will do everything it can to prevent it's market from being changed and consequently it's margins being eroded. Yes there may be trash published (you might think mine is) there might be gems or brilliance. Will Self recently published Umbrella, which has almost no punctuation. What happened to the editing there?

I have read major books from top writers in hardback with typos and grammatical errors. A common one is starting sentences, not in dialogue, with but and and, which are conjunctions! However, (yes I know!) this drives my wife mad, and gets her cross when reviewers comment on my grammar. I may misuse commas, for example, to force pauses, so that the reader pauses with me. It may make it clunky, and an editor may hate it, but it's my story and my style. Would a professional editor correct that?


message 18: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments The editors are as scared to lose their jobs as everyone else. With the facilitation of the market and the progress of technology, a lot of the services provided can be done automatically while preserving the essence of the unique style of every writer. The same can be said about the cover designer and illustrators as we can see more and more people doing their own illustrations and designing their own covers. Not all are brilliant, then again - are all the major publishing house certified book covers brilliant?

Don't really want to hijack the topic - going back to the editor in question - it is his/her right to offer the service and our right to choose to use the service or not. The professionalism of the editor is the concern of the editor him/herself as well the writer who may have the (mis)fortune of using their services. It is as simple and as hard as that.


message 19: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White (rawhite) | 361 comments Vardan wrote: "The editors are as scared to lose their jobs as everyone else. With the facilitation of the market and the progress of technology, a lot of the services provided can be done automatically while pre..."

I have to agree on that point--at least in the U.S.-- the editor should have the right to sell his product, even if it is crappy. On the other hand, we have the right (and responsibility, even?) to warn others about the crappy product.


message 20: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments R.A. wrote: "Vardan wrote: "The editors are as scared to lose their jobs as everyone else. With the facilitation of the market and the progress of technology, a lot of the services provided can be done automati..."

Absolutely! There are reviews for indie authors (sometimes quite harsh ones) and I do not see a reason why the support staff such as the editors and the designers should not be adequately rated, their work - reviewed.


TheEditingCompany (theeditingco) | 4 comments Ouch!!!! We all make typos now and then (even editors), but 23 errors in an ad for your editing services is pretty unforgivable. In my experience, a lot of people think that all it takes to be an editor is a decent natural grasp of grammar and spelling. Not true! I remember when I took my first copy-editing course - what a wake-up call.

It's so important to get a sample edit before you start working closely with an editor. If they refuse to give you a sample edit, or want you to pay for it, walk away!

There should definitely be some kind of review system for editors (ratemyeditor.com?). Is there a Goodreads discussion group where people can discuss independent services they've used and what they think? Maybe there should be!

Jessie


message 22: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2189 comments TheEditingCompany wrote: "Ouch!!!! We all make typos now and then (even editors), but 23 errors in an ad for your editing services is pretty unforgivable. In my experience, a lot of people think that all it takes to be an e..."

With a name like The Editing Company I would think you would have an opinion on this issue lol. I'm in agreement 23 errors is a bit much especially when they are saying they wish to edit. We all make errors and mistakes and heck I am sure that I a making some right now but the thing is I am just making a comment and not offering editing services.
I've come to notice some people are touchy when you make errors on here in threads. Honestly I don't think it matters if your just making a comment. However if your doing this and offering something and the very thing your offering your making mistakes on? yeah I can see where there would be a problem.


message 23: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments Having a decent grasp is not enough. I have a decent grasp. And yet, I just got out of a long meeting with my own editor, and my manuscript is (predictably) cut and bleeding and covered with red pen. She probably ran that pen dry on my manuscript, in fact.

Which is exactly why I'm paying her. It's impossible to edit and proof your own stuff. I don't care how many mad skiz someone thinks they have. I made mistakes I'm looking at and going "Seriously? I did that?"

As for posts on GR threads, people need to lighten up. Nobody's editing our posts. Flawless writing does not happen in a vacuum.

I kind of like the idea of a thread or group where sort of an "Angi's list" for editors and artists and whatever is discussed. That's a good idea.


message 24: by Jane (new)

Jane (janeap) C.M.J. wrote: "Today I stumbled on a Goodreads posting advertising editorial services. I’m a medical editor (I edit articles written by physicians for medical journals), so out of morbid curiosity I took a look.
..."


Thanks for this C.M.J. Can you share with us the name of the test/how to access it so indie authors could use it as a way to screen editor candidates?


message 25: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments I was thinking about asking the group moderator to start a folder in which people could rate their experiences--good and bad--with editors, designers, etc. There are inherent dangers in doing that, though: retribution, sabotage, and the like. Still mulling...


message 26: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments Well. Yeah, I hadn't thought about that, but you're right. That's a good point, and I understand there are some people on his site (as on any site, I suppose) that would do that. That's unfortunate.


message 27: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalivingstone) | 134 comments C.M.J. wrote: "I was thinking about asking the group moderator to start a folder in which people could rate their experiences--good and bad--with editors, designers, etc. There are inherent dangers in doing that,..."

Sounds interesting. I will be watching this space. Could be helpful.


message 28: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments Jane wrote: "C.M.J. wrote: "Today I stumbled on a Goodreads posting advertising editorial services. I’m a medical editor (I edit articles written by physicians for medical journals), so out of morbid curiosity ..."

My test is no longer available because of an abusive response I received. I was hoping to promote editors who passed it (none did, by the way); apparently, that was a pipe dream. I also considered giving it to indie authors as a screening tool, but someone--aka me--would have to grade it, which is a significant investment of time.

I haven't abandoned the idea, but I can't think of a practical way to help people without actually offering my services as an editor, and I'm not willing to do that. (Given enough time and frustration, though...)

PS: One respondent is eager to learn and I've been helping her, as I alluded to at the beginning of this thread, so my scheme wasn't a dismal failure. I plan to promote her after she's whetted her skills a bit. Stay tuned!


message 29: by Feliks (last edited Aug 29, 2013 11:09AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) "The editors are as scared to lose their jobs as everyone else. With the facilitation of the market and the progress of technology, a lot of the services provided can be done automatically while preserving the essence of the unique style of every writer. The same can be said about the cover designer and illustrators as we can see more and more people doing their own illustrations and designing their own covers. Not all are brilliant, then again - are all the major publishing house certified book covers brilliant?"

Oh, but this kind of thinking simply promulgates obstructionism! Counter-revolution! Wrecking! Don't you know digital books are the greatest thing since Gutenberg? Aren't you willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of us in the vanguard and the spearhead of high technology, as we stride boldly forward into the dawn of a new, golden age of digital publishing?

No? Guards...seize that man! He will appear before the tribunal at a later date!


message 30: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments Regina wrote: "Well. Yeah, I hadn't thought about that, but you're right. That's a good point, and I understand there are some people on his site (as on any site, I suppose) that would do that. That's unfortunate."

I considered offering to tell people by private message who the editors were, but I wouldn't know whether those asking were affiliated with the editing service, and as I said before, there's the possibility of retaliation. I'm an author and am reluctant to take that risk. I'll keep thinking about it, but at the moment I can't see a good solution.


message 31: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2189 comments Okay so what are we talking about here? In simple terms, editors offering their services when they themselves need editing or probably don't know the first thing about the craft. Obviously if your going to offer something then you need to know about it. That doesn't just go for editing. When it comes to Goodreads I think it's not just shady and not up to par editors we need to worry about it's also potential reviewers. Reviewers are the same way, some say they are skilled in reviewing books or that they aren't biased but then we get a review and think to ourselves wait..what?!

With editors and reviewers on GR who are their services need to show that they are in fact legit and know what they are talking about. Show us a link that brings us to your service or a list of names of people you have edited for. For reviewers, that you've thoroughly reviewed at least 5-8 books here on Goodreads and or Amazon(or both) and they aren't one sided or botched in any way.

You can't blame people for trying or wanting to reach out in helping other authors but what it comes down to is know what your talking about. Know what your offering and know that if you don't know what your talking about with what your offering, your going to get called out on it but in a honest and appropriate manner.


message 32: by Abby (new)

Abby Vandiver | 124 comments C.M.J. wrote: "Today I stumbled on a Goodreads posting advertising editorial services. I’m a medical editor (I edit articles written by physicians for medical journals), so out of morbid curiosity I took a look.
..."


Readers are not editors and don't have the skills you have evidently honed in your profession. They wouldn't even recognize the errors that you found. And probably not care about them either. I have never read a book that I didn't find an error, so I'm guessing that an editor that doesn't catch all the errors is only human. No, you should not blast them, unless their errors are so egregious that no one would be able to read or enjoy a book that they've edited.

Every editor is not the same. Skills may not be as good as the next. Just because they can't pass your test doesn't mean they shouldn't be editors.

Finding an affordable, competent editor is difficult and it's hard to know if you have a good one until others comment on it. Although we may strive for perfection, I doubt that it will ever be achieved.


message 33: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments Abby wrote: "C.M.J. wrote: "Today I stumbled on a Goodreads posting advertising editorial services. I’m a medical editor (I edit articles written by physicians for medical journals), so out of morbid curiosity ..."

No, Abby, skills from editor to editor aren't the same, as you said, and I agree that just because someone didn't pass my test doesn't mean they shouldn't edit. However, because I would have been promoting those who passed on my website, on my Goodreads page, etc., I didn't think it was too outrageous to require a certain standard of excellence.

There's no such thing as perfection. If you're a human, you're faulty, period. But my criticism of that editor stands.


message 34: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Feliks wrote: ""The editors are as scared to lose their jobs as everyone else. With the facilitation of the market and the progress of technology, a lot of the services provided can be done automatically while pr..."

There was certainly vocal(?) support for silent movies, replacing vynil with cassettes was a blasphemy and MP3s can never compare to CDs. What's the point? Why dislike independent authors? Is there are suppressed desire to write yourself? If there is - do not hesitate and as our beloved major and thus certified, quality assured brand would say - just do it! (the same phrase used to motivate the child workers in obscure factories in places like Bangladesh)


message 35: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Regina wrote: "Having a decent grasp is not enough. I have a decent grasp. And yet, I just got out of a long meeting with my own editor, and my manuscript is (predictably) cut and bleeding and covered with red pe..."

Do you believe that all the alterations made by your editor are justified?


message 36: by Regina (last edited Aug 29, 2013 01:30PM) (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments Yes. Absolutely. In two cases no, but that's only because in both particular cases I was more knowledgeable about an (admittedly somewhat lesser known) subject than she was.

Once I explained what I meant, she understood...BUT that also told me I needed to clarify what I meant by the two passages in question. Just because it made sense to me, that didn't' mean it made sense to a reader. I'm a western buff and I was playing with trivia. So I'm keeping the reference, but I also know now I have to clarify it. Other than that, she was absolutely dead on correct.

And some of the corrections were word inversions that I think are due to the fact that I speak Southern American English and not standard American English. Yes, I know the "correct" standard forms, but that does not mean that a regional language quirk (modal stacking, and the occasional Middle English holdover, in my case) is always going to be noticed by me during a rewrite, for instance. I know what's correct, but I have to notice it to correct it. Sometimes I don't.

Some of the stuff she caught just about made me cringe. I actually stared at one page, unable to believe I'd actually typed something the way I had, and said "Oh, no I didn't." And of course she laughed and said "Oh, yes you did!"

It was actually fun, but I'm not going to kid you, it was brutal. I must be a little bit of a masochist.


message 37: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 491 comments Ah It must be nice to have such an editor, but I am quite sure you paid her good money for her services too. I think we need to remember that if we pay 100$ or 200$ for a service it can't be as good as if you pay in the thousands. However, no matter how much you pay, I don't think your manuscript should ever come back to you with more errors than it had before you sent it.


message 38: by Regina (last edited Aug 29, 2013 02:05PM) (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments I paid her, yes, but she's not working through a company. I didn't have to take a second mortgage out on my house, let's put it that way. She is a friend who happens to have considerable editing experience. I realize I am in a very lucky position.

The first book, what I did was this: I crowdsourced my editing and chose three editors. I paid them with a modest fee, a trade paperback, and swag from my online store. Then I rewrote and paid editor number four(the current editor) to do a final on it.

She did such an amazing job that for the next book I decided to pool my entire editing budget and give it all to her. It was less work for me, more money for her, and she is someone who is now comfortable enough to go through my 'script hard as she needs to.

It's a learning process.

But now, whoever you chose absolutely must be competent. You can have an error riddled script for free! :-D You don't need to pay for that. So if someone is setting themselves up for editing and taking money for it, they need to know what they're doing.


message 39: by Claire (new)

Claire Wingfield | 16 comments I'm an editor and agree with many of the points above. I trained in a publishing house and spend a lot of time on every job I undertake; however, I have to say that when I work with individual authors rather than publishing houses sometimes the work isn't actually ready to be edited. I try to weed this out at the beginning of my dialogue with a writer of course, but sometimes a very good opening or writing sample can hide a shakier text - where really more developmental work needs to be done by the author before it is ready to be edited. I can provide commentary on this to show the writer what is needed but sometimes they simply want a quick fix. I.e. they are looking for a ghostwriter more than an editor. (Where possible, I redirect these writers to a 'reader report' service, indicating what needs to be done in order to bring the manuscript up to the standard I would expect for editing.) It's also a question of budget, of course. A publishing house will pay for several rounds of editing and proofreading as they know that no one can spot everything on one read. They will often also have several editors / proofreaders on the same job - and these are tried and trusted professionals. So, I have no doubt that writers need to be careful to pick the 'right' editor, someone who has the professional expertise to substantially improve the draft, but at the same time it's important to have realistic expectations.


message 40: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Regina wrote: "Yes. Absolutely. In two cases no, but that's only because in both particular cases I was more knowledgeable about an (admittedly somewhat lesser known) subject than she was.

Once I explained what..."


Don't you think that the certain regional elements in your writing actually add to the style and the unique presentation of your book? I mean, don't get me wrong - I am all for the editing and other support staff communities, but don't you feel that the more the editor works on your novel the further you are from your original author's voice and closer to the mainstream neutrality?


message 41: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 135 comments I totally get what you are saying, Vardan. And remember...as an indie, I can (and occasionally do) reject a suggestion made by my editor. I do retain the right to get the last word in, if I so desire. That's what is nice about being an indie...one does have greater freedom to remain true to one's artistic vision. She points out the transgression. It's up to me what to do about it.

In some cases, yes, my own folksy, regional voice is a very useful tool to have as a writer, and when I'm writing dialog or need a folksy narrative voice, I can do it effortlessly. However, I don't want stacks of modals or triple conjunctions in something that's supposed to be more formal or mainstream.

She also catches things like punctuation problems (stuff the average person probably wouldn't even notice), clumsy grammar, spacing issues, repeated words, accidental overuse of words (I thought she was going to hit me with her thesaurus yesterday :-DDD ), anachronisms, misspelled names, unclear storytelling, etc. Stuff a spell and grammar check might not grab. These are all things I'd rather not have in my book. And she's a smart lady...she knows when to play the hand and when to call it.


message 42: by Vardan (new)

Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) | 429 comments Regina wrote: "I totally get what you are saying, Vardan. And remember...as an indie, I can (and occasionally do) reject a suggestion made by my editor. I do retain the right to get the last word in, if I so desi..."

You say that you are very lucky but I would say that she is the real lucky one as not always does one encounter such a grateful author who has nothing but praise for someone who has provided them a service. Cheers to that, Regina!


message 43: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Dietz | 354 comments As one of the people who took C.M.J. Wallace's editing test, I can vouch for the fact that she's blunt without coming across as mean. She's been an immense help to me in my pursuit of better editing skills, and I'm grateful for the eye-opener she provided.

Although I didn't pass her test, I'm also appalled at some of the posts made by editors here on Goodreads. I may not know all the rules (yet!), but I usually know bad grammar and punctuation when I see it. In fact, I'm a wee bit paranoid when posting here, reading and re-reading for typos prior to hitting the "post" button. It doesn't matter whether it's formal writing or a Facebook post: my writing should be as error-free as possible in order for people to take me seriously.

The low prices offered for certain editing services here are very difficult for me to understand. How can someone say, for example, "No editing job over $60!" as I've seen on one of the boards? How on earth can that be done without knowing whether the edit involves a light touch or a complete overhaul? If it's going to take me sixty hours to get through your book, you'd better believe I want more than $1 per hour.

Nobody wants to be told the job he's doing isn't up to par, but if it's the only way to improve, we have to welcome the criticism and see it for the favor it is.


message 44: by David (new)

David Devere | 10 comments Lynda said: "In fact, I'm a wee bit paranoid when posting here, reading and re-reading for typos prior to hitting the "post" button. It doesn't matter whether it's formal writing or a Facebook post: my writing should be as error-free as possible in order for people to take me seriously."

As a person that usually enjoys bulking and kicking against the traditional norm and atypically questioning everything, I have to ask. Don't you find that sort of thinking (that only serious people have no mistakes) is, I don't know, a tad on the obsessive and compulsive side?

Personally, I have many attributes that get me taken serious, or should I say professionally outside of having to fret over whether or not someone will find that split infinitive and run me out of town on the rail. Of course, I'm not an editor. I'm a storyteller, I make junk up; my editor makes it readable.


message 45: by Philip (last edited Aug 30, 2013 07:09AM) (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 158 comments Lynda wrote: "As one of the people who took C.M.J. Wallace's editing test, I can vouch for the fact that she's blunt without coming across as mean. She's been an immense help to me in my pursuit of better editin..."

Lynda,thanks for the input from the editor's perspective. As with the price of books no one seems to want to pay for anything. I would love free editing just like I love free books; however, normally my own books are not free and I would like to be able to justify professional editing.

I was quoted by one reputable firm with a long list of clients $1300 for my second book. At a Kindle 70% royalty rate min price is $2.99 for this rate so I need to sell 621 copies to cover editing alone. Consequently, $60 sounds a bargain even if it isn't. I commented about Return on Investment before - ROI - It has to add up and high priced editing does not guarantee sales, just like high priced adverts. Nothing guarantees sales - Lone Ranger anyone!


message 46: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 491 comments David wrote: "outside of having to fret over whether or not someone will find that split infinitive and run me out of town on the rail. Of course, I'm not an editor. I'm a storyteller, I make junk up; my editor makes it readable"

Well, I bet Startrek's fans don't fret about Kirk's famous sentence: to BOLDLY go where not man has gone before... :P


message 47: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Dietz | 354 comments David wrote: As a person that usually enjoys bulking and kicking against the traditional norm and atypically questioning everything, I have to ask. Don't you find that sort of thinking (that only serious people have no mistakes) is, I don't know, a tad on the obsessive and compulsive side?


I don't necessarily think only "serious" people have no mistakes. However, if someone is telling you they will fix any errors in your manuscript, wouldn't you think that person was unqualified to do so if his own post was riddled with errors?

If someone can't take a quick glance to make sure a post about editing is error-free, I wouldn't trust him with my manuscript. If you're a storyteller, I expect you to tell a story I can follow. It should be as error-free as possible, of course, but it's ultimately the editor's job to make it so, once your storytelling is in his hands.

Lest I sound like a goody-two-shoes, I assure you I do my share of kicking against tradition: I homeschool. :)


message 48: by R.A. (new)

R.A. White (rawhite) | 361 comments Lynda wrote: "David wrote: As a person that usually enjoys bulking and kicking against the traditional norm and atypically questioning everything, I have to ask. Don't you find that sort of thinking (that only s..."

Thumbs up to the homeschooler.


message 49: by C.M.J. (new)

C.M.J. Wallace | 193 comments Part of an editor's job is knowing when to change things and when to keep the grubbies off. To some editors, English is nothing more than a set of rules that must be followed, and that's too bad because they miss the beauty and just plain fun of our exceedingly versatile language.

Some of you might not have thought of it this way, but publishing a book with proper punctuation and grammar is a courtesy to your readers. As someone said in this thread, there are people who won't notice errors, but for those who do, encountering mistake after mistake is like being slapped time after time. It jerks the reader out of the story and ruins what might otherwise have been a good book. Like it or not, correct grammar and punctuation are an inextricable part of good writing.

David, Lynda has a wonderful mindset about her posts because she offers editorial services and what she writes is how her potential clients will judge her, the only contact they may have with her. (Might as well out her now: she’s the one I’m planning to promote.) :)

Philip, there's nothing wrong with starting a sentence with a conjunction. And you can trust me on that one. Sentence fragments? They're fine too. The more conversant you are with grammar and punctuation, the more you can bend the rules to give your writing power. Yep, that’s right: done correctly, rule-bending will improve your novel. But you’d better know what you’re doing or have an excellent editor or you’ll wind up looking foolish.

GG, the "rule" about not splitting infinitives is based on Latin grammar, in which it's impossible to split the infinitive. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to impose it on English, does it? Kirk's line just wouldn't be as good if some grammarian had insisted that the line be written "correctly." It would kill the euphony.


message 50: by David (new)

David Devere | 10 comments Lynda wrote: "David wrote: As a person that usually enjoys bulking and kicking against the traditional norm and atypically questioning everything, I have to ask. Don't you find that sort of thinking (that only s..."

I absolutely agree that as a writer, I want the person to whom I entrust my story to be as good as possible. That's a given, really. I mean, if I could, I would want a team of people combing over my work and making it into Tolstoy or Dostoevsky... (lol). Though, I know I'm not that good of a storyteller, and it shouldn't be up to the editor to fix my book to that extent.

My father was very fond of a saying: "You get what you pay for."

He was very old school consumer minded, and believed that good work reflected in fair and competitive pricing; but not to the point that we sell ourselves too short.

I think that individuals offering their services as an editor is fine, to some degree, but, there needs to be a very realistic sense of "buyer beware" within the minds of the independent author as well. I would like to think that I am savvy enough to recognize a scam when I see one; but for every half-wit with a red correction pen out there that I disavow, there are still several that dupe many young fresh writers that see stars in their eyes too deeply.

In many circles on the internet, it has become the next "big thing" to be a proofreader, or editor, or my absolute favorite: a prereader. Children with a semester of English Lit, and some "skillz" pompously strutting their talent, and trying to bend the writer to their will.

Which is what I feel is the case, with the opening post here. People looking to cash in on the writers, rather than people like me, looking to cash in on the readers(hope that doesn't sound greedy).


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