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Writing Advice & Discussion > Warning for Writers searching for an editor

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message 1: by Michelle (last edited Dec 27, 2017 12:20PM) (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments A warning to all writers out there! Be sure to do your research on any editor you hired. Last October, I hired a so-called proofreader for development editing on my manuscript, let's call him Mr. Rip Off, and told him I needed it before Christmas so to give over to reviewers to read and review before its release. We settled on a price and I paid half of it upfront, thinking Mr. Rip Off would be getting to work on what I sent. Weeks go by and I receive nothing back, only excuses about why he hasn’t sent anything. Before I paid Mr. Rip Off the last bit of the amount he suddenly told me he doesn’t send ANY material until the final payment is made, which I was never made aware of. (RED FLAG!)
By this time, I had just lost my mother and so didn’t argue about it. I paid him and instead of receiving the first round of edits right away, I waited until early December when I receive the manuscript, and after I review the “work” he did I sent it back asking if he planned on being more heavy-handed on the line editing during the second round. He promised he would and I asked how long it would be. Mr. Rip Off said "5 days or so. So Wed or Thursday I am thinking." That was on the 9th of December. Days and days go by without a word and on Friday the 15th I ask how the editing is going (Again chasing him for the work he promised.) and his response was, "Hi, getting there. I think tomorrow evening. I really do not think you have much work left."
Monday rolls around and I ask again if Mr. Rip Off can send the manuscript back soon. By now, I can’t release my book on Christmas because, well, it’s after Christmas. Again, he promised to have it back and of course Mr. Rip Off never did. Finally, on the 21st I tell Mr. Rip Off that I don’t feel that this is working out and that I want a refund. Not the entire amount, mind you, just the bulk of it and he keeps the rest for the “work” he already put into it. Not only did Mr. Rip Off refuse any kind of refund, but he attacked me by saying it was my fault for breaking the contract because of payments, to which he never mentioned beforehand when I needed to slice up the final payment into two. Mr. Rip Off was just cool with me paying him. Even though he received full payment in November, I never received my manuscript and that’s why I wanted to take my business elsewhere. Mr. Rip Off refused and even took a slight compliment, I gave him and threw it in my face, saying, “See, I was helpful, you said it yourself!” At first, he was willing to negotiate a refund and then quickly changed his mind when I asked what he had in mind, stating that he’d have my book returned after 36 hours. This, after Mr. Rip Off claimed he’d been working on it that evening and to which he never offered proof of that claim. So, I get it back and to no surprise, the editing is lousy. Now I'm having to hire another editor to polish my work, which Mr. Rip Off ought to be thankful because if I were to publish my book and name him as the editor, it would've ruined him. But I care about the quality of my own work too much. So be weary authors. Make sure the editor has good credentials and offers refunds if things don't work out, or else you'll end up with your own Mr. Rip Off.


message 2: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Michael (dreamersalexander) | 27 comments That's so horrible. Thanks for the warning. Our manuscripts are our babies. They're precious and I'm sorry you sent yours to someone untrustworthy. I've freaked out in the past that beta readers will steal my story.


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments Alexander wrote: "That's so horrible. Thanks for the warning. Our manuscripts are our babies. They're precious and I'm sorry you sent yours to someone untrustworthy. I've freaked out in the past that beta readers wi..."

I haven't any trouble with beta readers and I hope you never do. You're completely right. Our stories are so apart of us and entrusting them to someone else to help get them ready for the world is a personal experience. What's really upsetting is that I'm out some cash I could've used to go ahead and pay for another editor and now will have to resave the money to do so. *Sigh* The life of a writer.


message 4: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty (kirstylou147) | 8 comments It's a little concerning, though, that you say you hired a 'proofreader' for 'development editing'. Did this guy state he was an editor or a proofreader? The two are very different.


message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments Michelle wrote: "Kirsty wrote: "It's a little concerning, though, that you say you hired a 'proofreader' for 'development editing'. Did this guy state he was an editor or a proofreader? The two are very different.""
You're right. They are different. He claims that he's a proofreader/ editor. I paid him for development editing and got little in return for it.


message 6: by Kirsty (new)

Kirsty (kirstylou147) | 8 comments I'm sorry to hear that. Do you think a small claims court challenge would make him pay up?


message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments Kirsty wrote: "I'm sorry to hear that. Do you think a small claims court challenge would make him pay up?"

Thank you, Kirsty. I'm not sure. I thought about looking into it. If anything, this experience has made me a tad wiser. I'll never again hire an editor who doesn't offer refunds or not send back work before all payments are made. :)


message 8: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Beverly (writesistah) | 3 comments Michelle wrote: "Kirsty wrote: "I'm sorry to hear that. Do you think a small claims court challenge would make him pay up?"

Thank you, Kirsty. I'm not sure. I thought about looking into it. If anything, this exper..."


I would if I were you, Michelle. Don't let that criminal get away with scamming you or anyone else. Good luck with whatever you decide.


message 9: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments Pamela wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Kirsty wrote: "I'm sorry to hear that. Do you think a small claims court challenge would make him pay up?"

Thank you, Kirsty. I'm not sure. I thought about looking into it. If any..."


Thank you, Pamela. I think all us writers need a heck of a lot of luck, don't we?


message 10: by Lia (new)

Lia Peele (liapeele) | 22 comments Did you find him on Goodreads?


message 11: by Elisa (new)

Elisa | 164 comments If you paid through PayPal, you can file a claim. PayPal is very buyer friendly and will usually choose the side of their buyer over the seller.


message 12: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments I didn't hire him through Goodreads. If anyone wants to know the guy I'm talking about, I can message you the website so to avoid running into the same problem like me.
Elisa, that's a great idea! I think I'll do that today. Thank you!


message 13: by Judith Anne (new)

Judith Anne  (wwwgoodreadscomwestwordarizona) | 11 comments Kirsty wrote: "It's a little concerning, though, that you say you hired a 'proofreader' for 'development editing'. Did this guy state he was an editor or a proofreader? The two are very different."

That's what I'm thinking.


message 14: by Shoba (new)

Shoba Sadler | 23 comments So sorry to hear about your ordeal Michelle. As someone here commented, yes. A proof-reader is not a developmental editor. And editors usually charge separately for these jobs which make it very expensive for writers. I charge ONE fee for both types of editing and am very thorough. I guess it helps to learn the background of the editors you choose. I am an award-winning author and if you can check those facts which should easily be available at that author/editors's website and verify what awards they won, you should not be caught in such a situation. Once again so sorry for your experience. Better luck next time.


message 15: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Promotion's for Indie Author's csmindiepr (goodreadscommichellechantler) | 5 comments Thankyou for your concern Shoba, but you have me confused with the other Michelle who wrote the post. After being in business for many years I have a pretty good understanding of the industry, but your awareness and concern is terrific. Thankyou Again Michelle Chantler


message 16: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Alcyone | 245 comments PayPal may have changed their policy since I last looked, but my understanding is PayPal's purchase protection does not apply to intangible goods and services. :(

If you used your credit card, you might have better luck disputing the charge there.


message 17: by Shoba (new)

Shoba Sadler | 23 comments Oh, so sorry and thank you for posting to create greater awareness :)


message 18: by Ari (new)

Ari Augustine (ariananelson) | 26 comments Please let me know who he is...I would hate to run into him.


Michelle wrote: "I didn't hire him through Goodreads. If anyone wants to know the guy I'm talking about, I can message you the website so to avoid running into the same problem like me.
Elisa, that's a great idea!..."



message 19: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments Ari wrote: "Please let me know who he is...I would hate to run into him.


Michelle wrote: "I didn't hire him through Goodreads. If anyone wants to know the guy I'm talking about, I can message you the website..."


Here's his website. Yeah, keep your work and money away from this guy. http://www.pubsolvers.com/


message 20: by Chris (new)

Chris Liberty | 47 comments Michelle wrote: "A warning to all writers out there! Be sure to do your research on any editor you hired. Last October, I hired a so-called proofreader for development editing on my manuscript, let's call him Mr. R..."

I'm sorry that happened to you, Michelle. If you still need an editor, you should hire CA Szarek. She is a published author with 16 books, and I've used her for all of mine. She is fair, offers advice, and fixes mistakes none of my other editors had noticed. Her facebook homepage is https://www.facebook.com/caszarekauthor


message 21: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Terrible! I have used people that I've followed for awhile and several have given back to me in a timely fashion, and generally what I expected. I insist on not paying top dollar, therefore, if something untoward happens I would be okay.

Don't give up-keep going. I've encountered trolls and nastiness but am doing the best I can. Good luck to us both!

Caroline


message 22: by Nichole (new)

Nichole Wolfe (nicholew7288) | 11 comments So...I went to the website and checked it out a bit. This kinda caught my eye.

"Have your manuscript professionally edited before submission"

AND

"Manuscript submission services"

What are you submitting your manuscript to if not an agent or publisher? Agents understand that the submissions will be unedited, and traditional publishing houses have their own editors to work on manuscripts...so why hire them to edit your manuscript just to submit to a publisher that will then hire an editor (a real one this time) to edit your manuscript...again? Yeah, fishy language.

If you are submitting your manuscript for traditional publishing, you DO NOT need to have your manuscript professionally edited. It is a waste of money as the publisher will go through that edited manuscript and change it again anyway.

Also, "manuscript submission services"...what? Again, why do you need them to submit your manuscript? Are they a literary agency? Their website certainly doesn't suggest that. You don't need to hire someone to submit to an agent. And you need an agent to submit to the major publishing houses, not these guys.

It sounds like whoever runs this website doesn't know much about publishing...or editing it sounds like. And they're counting on people that don't quite understand how the industry works to fall for their professional sounding bullshit. What a bunch of scumbags.


message 23: by Kevin (last edited Jan 26, 2018 03:54PM) (new)

Kevin Chilvers (kevinchilversauthor) | 17 comments First I'm sorry you've had a hard time and why the hell can't we name and shame these people? Second - leave him an awful review on his website and anywhere else he advertises but I cannot agree with Nicole. Agents these days want a polished MS. They do accept some editing may be required but want to see you have done everything possible to reduce that. Quality editing from a "reputable" source is a good selling point and they may even point an exceptional MS to the gatekeepers. This editing is also a learning experience to extend your writing skills.


message 24: by BookzBookzBookz (new)

BookzBookzBookz (areneehunt) Wow! I had a similar experience with a traditional publishing editor. The company, which is The People I Do Not Name has done this to several others. It was about sixty percent why I chose to go indie. Best of luck to you.


message 25: by Alex (last edited Jan 26, 2018 08:37PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Kevin wrote: "Agents these days want a polished MS. They do accept some editing may be required but want to see you have done everything possible to reduce that. Quality editing from a "reputable" source is a good selling point and they may even point an exceptional MS to the gatekeepers. This editing is also a learning experience to extend your writing skills. "

This article is written by Jane Friedman (her website is super-informative and she was president and chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide from 1997-2008) and the comments on the article are quite telling:
2. I review “professionally edited” manuscripts all the time, and I see no evidence of professional editing. And in consultations with writers, I hear about some pretty lousy advice that has been delivered by these “professionals.”
...
Can you benefit from a professional edit? Maybe. Your work already needs to be very good and deserving of the investment. Even the best editor in the world can’t turn a mediocre work into a gem. But they can make a good work great.
http://writerunboxed.com/2010/03/19/s...


message 26: by Kevin (last edited Jan 27, 2018 01:43AM) (new)

Kevin Chilvers (kevinchilversauthor) | 17 comments Which is the point. Jane Friedman's articles are excellent. Research your editors and go with those who are established and have a good reputation. My new novel was developmentally edited by Writer's Workshop. The editor was Eve Seymore an established author who knows the agent and writing market. The report was thought inspiring and very thorough and returned to me within four weeks. I now have a bit of work to do to apply those suggestions to the MS.


message 27: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lowe (michellelowe7gmailcom) | 11 comments Thanks everyone for the advice. I've already posted a warning in Reddit and aim to do the same in other writers' forums. I did try to find where to leave a review on the website, but either I'm missing it, or there's no way in doing so until this so-called "editor" posts only good reviews on his site, which given the fact he's horrible, seems just about right. I have found another editor and she's wonderful and I feel like I'm back on track again. I'll even be able to sign copies of the book at this year's WonderCon. Yey! It is a shame when people like this joker takes advantage of authors, it really does stamp a bad name on the field they're supposedly working in. And I agree that when something like this happens, a writer should speak out and warn others so to try sheering them away from these unprofessional sorts.


message 28: by Christine (new)

Christine (christineparkerco) | 5 comments Authors: always always ALWAYS insist upon a contract before sending anyone any money.

That goes for all levels of editing including developmental, copyediting, proofreading, even paid beta reading.

A contract can protect you in the event you need to take legal action. If the editor doesn’t supply one, draft your own. It doesn’t have to be super complicated or full of legalese in order for it to be legally binding. Do an internet search for “sample editing contract”—there’s lots. And if an editor refuses to sign a contract, that’s a major red flag. Do not work with that person.


message 29: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Lapidow | 7 comments Kirsty wrote: "It's a little concerning, though, that you say you hired a 'proofreader' for 'development editing'. Did this guy state he was an editor or a proofreader? The two are very different."

Kirsty is absolutely right to ask this question. As a freelance copy editor I always make sure that I know what kind of editing or reading my clients want.

A developmental edit is a high level of editing that is done not to fix grammatical mistake or misspellings but to see if the manuscript as a whole works. A developmental editor will point out areas that don't work for any of a variety of reasons (pacing, poor motivation, plot hole, weak dialogue, confusing language, settings that are not described, etc.). The DE will then explain why a section doesn't work and make suggestions to better the manuscript. This type of editing should be done after the writer feels they have a good draft. The writer should be prepared to make significant changes to their manuscript after working with a DE.

A beta reader, on the other hand, reads the manuscript and gives the author their honest feedback about what works and what doesn't. This can include reasons why something isn't working, but often doesn't. A beta read could be done after a first draft when you are just trying to see if your manuscript works as a written work.

Contracts should be signed and you should not give an editor all of the money until you have received back your manuscript with their edits and/or comments.


message 30: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Promotion's for Indie Author's csmindiepr (goodreadscommichellechantler) | 5 comments This seems to be a major problem surfacing everywhere. Everyone please do your homework. Remember cost is not so much the issue, it certainly helps when cheaper but check out ANYONE who you are seriously looking at.


message 31: by Christine (new)

Christine (cefletch) | 31 comments I agree with pretty much everything in this thread.

As a professional beta reader, I suggest the following:
1. Agree beforehand what type of beta reading you need. Is it a quick overall impression, grammar and punctuation proofreading, plot critique? Be clear in your expectations - on both sides.
2. Agree on a time frame. One week? Two? Are you in a rush?
3. Agree on payment, if any. Generally, if your beta reader is paid, 50% should be paid upfront and the balance when finished.
4. Be realistic. A beta reader is not going to rewrite your work.
5. Don't be bullied. A beta reader suggests changes, not demands. It's still your book.
6. Ask for references or testimonials.
7. Sign a contract and/or a non-disclosure agreement.

Above all - communicate!

https://bluecatbeta.blogspot.com/


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