I attended a Baynet meeting this weekend. Among other things, I discovered yet another slimy truth in this whole small pub business. One woman introduced herself as a copyeditor/proofreader/content editor. Great! Service people are always welcome. Then she revealed that she’d worked on a number of books from various people in the room, unbeknownst to them. Apparently, she’s a behind-the-scenes editor, an outsource editor. She gets trickle-down work from other editors.
What’s the problem, you ask? Well, first of all, this might explain some of the astronomical fees for editing that I recieved when I was getting quotes from editors.
Secondly, this means that the person I thought was working on my book wasn’t. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but if I decide to work with an editor, it’s because I like their voice, their style, the way they individually approach my work. To pawn their editing off on someone I’ve never met and have not corresponded with means that I’m not gettingÂ the input on my work that I’ve contracted. This seems more than a bit dishonest. (Proofreading is different. It is error-checking, as opposed to stylistic revision. The only thing that matters in proofreading is their experience and how good they are.)
This was quite a bombshell to me Saturday morning. Naive babe that I am, I naturally assumed that every dollar I spent on assorted service people went into their pocket for their work on my book. So I am disappointed again. I guess I should save myself agony and just lower my expectations.
PS: I don’t believe that my editor does this. Her fees are far too reasonable (she would make no profit) and her voice is consistent through her editing comments and her e-mails to me. In fact, she really enjoyed reading my book and helping to shape it.