There are editors who prey on aspiring writers by making false promises that almost always involve a fee. This form of conduct is age old. Yet, they abound in writing arenas across the Internet to target those whose angsts they can exploit. Their unscrupulous actions in turn give ethical editors a bad name.
In addition, many novice writers are not aware of what they should pay for and what they should not pay for. Take one of my clients, for example. I did a partial edit on her manuscript and followed up with a summary along with recommendations and suggestions to enhance the writing. She responded with: “I would like for you to read the final draft… maybe you can read the script in its entirety and then advise me on any necessary changes along with a quote.”
My response to her was: “Though I haven’t read the book in its entirety, I’ve read enough to see that additional work is required, beyond grammar. You will note that the edits I did was not only on grammar, but it entailed some sentence/paragraph rewrites as well as transposition in areas to give the structure synchronicity. Given this, it would cost you more for me to read it through and advise any necessary changes, which is essentially an evaluation, then having to pay out again for those changes (editing) to be rectified.”
She responded with: “Please take no offense in what I am about to tell you. Strangely, I read an article about a month ago. The article suggested that no editor should charge for reading a manuscript. Based on your last email, you charge for reading. I am not questioning your integrity or suggesting that you are trying to rip me off, just very curious. You are the first editor that I have known that charges for reading.”
This brings us to some writers not understanding what should and should not require a fee. In addition, the article that my client read was written about agents and editors, thus my response to her was: “You are confusing charging to evaluate a manuscript vs. a reading fee. The article is absolutely right in that if an agent request reading fees it is usually a red flag, though some legitimate agents do charge and point this out up front on their web sites. It is, however, not the industry norm. Editors, too, don’t usually charge reading fees, that is, editors from a publishing house who accept unsolicited works.
“I fit neither of these remits as I am not an agent nor am I an editor affiliated with a publishing house. Indeed, I coach/warn my clients to do due diligence and not pay for reading fees. What you asked in the previous email equates to an evaluation which requires an analysis of the document, which in turn requires writing a summary pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the work with recommendations.
“Evaluating/critiquing/analyzing any document (resumes to manuscripts) is a perfectly normal procedure from an editor such as me. A quick Google search will demonstrate this.”
So, dear writer, please educate yourselves on the industry norms before handing over monies. Writer Beware is a great site that warns about the schemes, scams, and pitfalls that threaten writers.
Write It, Work It, Publish It!
© 2010 Cherry-Ann Carew
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Cherry-Ann Carew, The Power Writing Coach, Editor, and Founder of Writetastic Solutions, is a co-author of the bestselling book ‘How the Fierce Handle Fear’ – Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times. Cherry-Ann helps writers with their creative expression to add value to their books. Learn how her coaching and editing services can help you with your book. Subscribe for your FREE SPECIAL REPORT: Discover The 3 Simple Steps That Will Help You Start And Finish Your Book. Yes, you can have a finished draft in no time!