Author Topic: I'm not sure what just happened, but I think I got ripped off (Paid Editor)  (Read 10716 times)

Offline lamont cranston

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I found that an old school chum is now...an editor.  And teaching writing.  And it sounded like he was doing that a lot.  So I sent him my first 20 pages and a synopsis.  The agreement was I'd get a marked up copy of each of them, when he was done.

I think he may have skimmed the synopsis but of the 20 pages, all he gave me was 3 word corrections to the first page...nothing else.  And they were very, very minor corrections.  There were a lot of questions that, that I think he would not have asked if he had read the 20 pages and the synopsis.

The work product he agreed to produce, for $40 bucks an hour, was a marked up copy of the 1st 20 pages, and a marked up copy of the synopsis.  Instead, I got a phone call, and yes, there were a few good tips, but honestly?  I didn't feel like he'd gone through the whole 20 pages really, at all, and that was what we agreed to for the first 2 hours.  I do think he skimmed the 20 pages, but very quickly, and not to the detail we agreed upon.

Now he says he's looking forward to reading the rest of the book....that's a lot of money I'd be paying for him to do that.

That's ah, 20 pages an hour, and so, 20 hours of work.  And I don't mind paying it, but I need to see a work product that really makes me feel like the work was done.  And I need to feel like it was more than just skimmed quickly. 

So, what I did: I asked him to email me the work product for this part of the work (synopsis and 20 pages).  I'm really hoping I see something more confidence building, when I get that.

Does this sound hopeless?  Does it sound like I got ripped off?  I really, really like this person and always felt like he was very smart, and very interesting, and a good writer....but I'm just not sure yet, that the work is gonna come out of him.

hillwalker3000

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Now he says he's looking forward to reading the rest of the book....that's a lot of money I'd be paying for him to do that.
That's ah, 20 pages an hour, and so, 20 hours of work.  And I don't mind paying it, but I need to see a work product that really makes me feel like the work was done.  And I need to feel like it was more than just skimmed quickly. 
So, what I did: I asked him to email me the work product for this part of the work (synopsis and 20 pages).  I'm really hoping I see something more confidence building, when I get that.

I obviously don't know your friend but it sounds like he's hoping you'll invite him to read the rest of the book for a fat fee, or he wants you to take one of his writing courses. Either way he's hoping to make a fast buck at your expense. You say you don't mind paying it, but I don't see how it's going to help you get the book published unless he has contacts and can get your book read by someone in the publishing business.

Personally I'd never ask an 'old chum' to read my work and offer honest feedback let alone edit it for me. It's like asking your family if they enjoyed your latest book. No one's going to tell you it stinks.

H3K

Offline lamont cranston

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I don't mind paying for satisfactory work as contracted.  I don't expect him to get any publishers to look at the book. 

Also...I have done contract work(not editing, but other types of contract work).  And I don't know if others feel the same way, but I respond promptly to emails about work, and if I said I was going to do something by a certain date, I do it.  I don't just disappear for a week because I had 'guests'.  It's work.  Not a hobby.

Offline lamont cranston

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I obviously don't know your friend but it sounds like he's hoping you'll invite him to read the rest of the book for a fat fee, or he wants you to take one of his writing courses. Either way he's hoping to make a fast buck at your expense. You say you don't mind paying it, but I don't see how it's going to help you get the book published unless he has contacts and can get your book read by someone in the publishing business.

Personally I'd never ask an 'old chum' to read my work and offer honest feedback let alone edit it for me. It's like asking your family if they enjoyed your latest book. No one's going to tell you it stinks.

H3K

actually my husband has been very helpful and he'll tell me flat out if he thinks something stinks, though he's not rude about it.  In a few spots, he told me to do the opposite the editor did, so I'm picking for myself which way I prefer.   My husband taught language and linguistics.

The editor has a different focus too, like telling me one character should have stockholm syndrome.  And that if he doesn't I need to explain why, and that much of it is fine with me.  But the rest - to me it's a very popular misconception that all or even many captive or abused people get stockholm syndrome, and I have had other people say, well, he's got to have stockholm syndrome, then, right?  No, actually.  There's extensive research on why that does not always (or even often) happen, and i have a lot of experience in crisis intervention and legal research, to draw upon in that matter.  But like so many misconceptions about how people think, this one remains.

The original stockholm situation was, I believe a bank robbery with hostages.  Well, in another similar robbery with hostages, there was no stockholm syndrome at all, the (also women) captives actually boosted the robber up into the window to HELP him get shot by police again!   Stockholm syndrome is not a given in abuse and hostage situations.  So I should explain that more.  So I will.  But this character is not going to get stockholm syndrome to pander to audiences.

Offline lamont cranston

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Due to location I couldn't take a course from him, he knows that already.

Too....I think that when people teach these courses, they tend to draw from a fairly fixed, predictable, curriculum.  Some writers follow some elements of some of these, but I don't see all writers doing so all the time.  I think it's good to know those elements, and rules, and to write a lot following them, and gradually learn when not to.

For example, parts of The Grapes of Wrath has sentences that would probably get bounced out of such classes.

But they read like the damned Lord's Prayer, and they're beautiful, and they sear out a place in my brain for them.

I obviously don't know your friend but it sounds like he's hoping you'll invite him to read the rest of the book for a fat fee, or he wants you to take one of his writing courses.....
H3K

Offline Laura H

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You're already unhappy with the editing and response time. Imagine how unhappy you'll be once you've invested more money. You like this guy and consider him a friend, I think you're jeopardizing that if you continue.

I would consider it a lesson learned and search for a new editor, and a professional for whom it is not a hobby.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Offline lamont cranston

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I'm afraid that's it.

I'd feel better if I did get the promised marked up synopsis and first 20 pages, but not much better.

The first comment I got back was read one of those 'how to write great novels' books, so I thought oh no, he really thinks this entire thing is a disaster.  I thought that even more so when he didn't respond to my emails or respond on time with the call or the work products.

But when I talked to him, he said it just needed a few small changes, nothing major.

I'm very accustomed to a work environment where one answers one's calls and emails very promptly, and work products are returned close to the date promised.  I'm not sure the 'informality' of this arrangement is going to be a comfortable thing for me.

Offline lamont cranston

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Oh and I'm not so unrealistic that I don't expect delays.  But when they do happen, I think a quick note that it will be delayed, is in order.

Offline Gyppo

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I'm inclined to agree with Laura.  Drop him as an editor and keep the friend.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Jo Bannister

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Absolutely.  It sounds as if you specified what you wanted in return for your payment, and you didn't get it.  Find someone who'll keep up their end of the contract.  Whether you like them or not is immaterial: you want them to deliver what you've paid for.

Offline heidi52

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Re: I'm not sure what just happened, but I think I got ripped off (Paid Editor)
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2016, 06:16:25 AM »
Lesson: Don't do business with friends. Ever.

Hire a professional. Who cares if you like them? You aren't paying them to be your friend, you are paying them to edit your work.

Offline Arkie

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Re: I'm not sure what just happened, but I think I got ripped off (Paid Editor)
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2016, 11:26:32 AM »
Man....800$ for that? Yikes. It sounds like you did get ripped off, and I don't think I'd be real interested in keeping the person as a friend unless you can get it straightened out to your satisfaction. Buyer beware and all that, but that stinks!

Offline lamont cranston

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Re: I'm not sure what just happened, but I think I got ripped off (Paid Editor)
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2016, 01:51:07 PM »
No, $40 an hour, and 2 hours to read the first 20 pages and the synopsis and talk about it, and get marked up copies.

The entire book - which is rather long - would be around $800 by his rates.  $40/hr  is his 'friend rate'.

I just did not see any corrections on the 20 pages except 3 minor ones on the 1st page.

I really don't think that I didn't make any other errors on the entire other 19 pages.  I'm not THAT good.  There has to be at least a couple mistakes on those other 19 pages.

Offline lamont cranston

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Re: I'm not sure what just happened, but I think I got ripped off (Paid Editor)
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2016, 01:54:16 PM »
 I don't have to like my editor, but I do have to see the work be done and I expect it to be a quality job.

I guess I just felt I was less likely to get a raw deal if I dealt with someone I knew. 

Well, I am reserving judgement until I don't get the first 20 pages corrections, but...it don't look good.

Does anyone have a US based paid editor that they would recommend? 



Lesson: Don't do business with friends. Ever.

Hire a professional. Who cares if you like them? You aren't paying them to be your friend, you are paying them to edit your work.


Offline qb

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your mate sounds crazy