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My (AARGH, #@%&) Editing Moments2

Edit to this story.

Editing is not cheap and it’s a necessary evil. You don’t want to publish something you’ve worked on for so long to contain all sorts of mistakes. Also for me, who deals with attention deficit disorder, getting someone to check my work is crucial.

So, off I went in search of an editor to suit my genre and needs. Finding the right person became a challenging task I never accounted for and cost me more money than I was able to spend.

The first editor I worked with was more eager with being paid than doing her job. I, unfortunately, didn’t find this out until I e-mailed her my manuscript, and in response, she wrote back: The countdown to payday starts now. I knew at that moment that I’d made a huge mistake contracting the work out to her, but I’d already given her my deposit and signed the contract, and I forged on.

Needless to say, one thousand dollars later, we parted ways. In retrospect, her poor attitude may have been because my manuscript wasn’t good. I wished she had been forthcoming, at least I would have felt as if I got some value for my money.

The second editor was very good. I immediately clicked with her. She offered me valuable insights into my writing flaws, and her recommendations were always dead on. But then, as we got deeper into the editing process she wouldn’t respond to my e-mails for days and ended up holding on to the manuscript for months before she turned it over. Luckily, my financial investment with her was negligible.

The third editor was pricier than the first two, but she was very professional. She answered e-mails the same day or within minutes and explained in detail the editing services I should consider. As a newbie, I appreciated her guidance. She set a timeline that worked for both of us and stuck to it. The one time she needed an extension she immediately e-mailed to let me know. Her harsh evaluation of my manuscript drove me to tears and prevented me from writing—for days. I decided she was exactly what I needed.

Edit: To my disappointment and dismay, the third editor flaked out on me when working on my next novel: The Guilty Woman. Her MS evaluation was a three-paragraph e-mail and her line/copy edit of the manuscript was minimal. The manuscript was returned with few changes and many, many, many errors that would have been caught by a sixth grader. When I asked how it was possible for my writing to have improved so dramatically that it required such minimal editing, she went on with a song and dance to assure me I had.

With my budget blown, I had to resort to editing the entire manuscript on my own. And let me just say that if I didn’t need the services of a professional I wouldn’t have hired her in the first place. Anyway, I got through it as best as I could and have now moved on to my fourth editor. I’m hoping the fourth time’s the charm. 

I doubt my experience is unique, and as much as I checked references and the fact that each of the editors was a member of an accredited editing organization, it came down to a hit-and-miss situation.

After all the ups and down and the aargh #@%& moments, in the end, I still believe editing is the right option if you want to make my work as good as possible and to become a more confident writer. The challenge is finding the right editor.

I’ll report my experience with this fourth editor when I’m done editing The Unfaithful Woman to be released mid-2019.

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