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Ask Aunt Elizabeth: The authors I work with see me as the enemy

By Elizabeth d’Anjou

Looking for advice on editing the editing life? Whether you’re a beginner looking for tips on starting out or an old hand looking for another perspective, veteran editor Aunt Elizabeth is ready to address your queries. Submit them to [email protected]—you may find the answers you are looking for in next month’s column.

Ask Aunt Elizabeth: The authors I work with see me as the enemy

(1) Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

At my current in-house editorial job, I have to provide feedback to authors on ways they can improve their writing. This often involves using examples from their work, explaining why the examples are incorrect, and discussing possible solutions. I also rate them on the quality of their work, and these ratings are used to determine their bonuses.

While I try to be diplomatic, half the time the authors resist my suggestions and refuse to incorporate them, sometimes rudely questioning my qualifications. This often translates into no improvement in their work and the continued assignation of low ratings by me. It’s a vicious cycle that is not conducive to a good working relationship. (more…)

Ask Aunt Elizabeth: Help! I edited the wrong version of my client’s file!

By Elizabeth d’Anjou

Looking for advice on editing the editing life? Whether you’re a beginner looking for tips on starting out or an old hand looking for another perspective, veteran editor Aunt Elizabeth is ready to address your queries. Submit them to [email protected]—you may find the answers you are looking for in next month’s column.

Ask Aunt Elizabeth: Help! I edited the wrong version of my client’s file!

(1) Dear Aunt Elizabeth,

Recently a client sent me a book foreword he wanted edited. A few hours later, he emailed me asking if he could send me an updated version. I received the second draft on Sunday and he wanted the edit by Tuesday because he needed to get it to his publisher on Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon I returned the edited foreword to him.

But on Wednesday morning, 6:30 AM, when I checked my email, there he was, telling me that I had edited the wrong version. He had painstakingly transferred my edits into his second version so that he could meet his deadline. Gasp! Not a nice wake-up call! I told him I wouldn’t charge him; he replied saying he had to pay me; I replied saying not charging him was the only way I could acknowledge my mistake. In the end, we agreed I would charge him for three of the five hours I spent editing. Did I do the right thing? (more…)