So of the past three editing jobs I have had, one was a content edit and two were "grammar/ punctuation."
I have talked about this before, but the "grammar/punctuation" were actually content edits in disguise. So what would you do? These people hired me to do a quick, easy 3 day job and paid me to do a quick easy 3 day job, but in the end I had to spend a month doing a content edit, send it back to them, and then do a regular edit. (I had to send it back to them because eventually it gets too red and marked up to deal with anymore.)
The other problem is that one of these people did not know how/did not want to use the track changes feature. She returned the paper to me with all the changes still marked and then in the email said - "I don't want to change this, this, this, and that, but everything else is good." What!! Not only did I have to spend extra time going though and fixing her manuscript but I also had to then spend several hours going through the changes and accepting only the ones she wanted. I am not talking a couple of hundred changes, I am talking tens of thousands of changes.
Of course it becomes impossible for me to finish these manuscripts in the time I estimated. I have finally finished them, but I still have the content edit for the guy who actually hired me to do that. I, unfortunately, work on a first come, first serve basis and he was the last person to put his money in. Sad.
What makes the story even more tragic is that the lady already docked me on feedback for timeliness - really? When you give someone a manuscript with thousands of errors and want them to fix it, it is going to take time - it is also going to cost more. But, the first time an author gets their manuscript edited professionally, they should expect thousands of changes. Beta readers are not paid and cannot do this for you for free. The guy, whose manuscript I returned today and who is probably also going to dock me for timeliness, used beta readers before sending it to me.
Beta readers are good to send a manuscript to after you have had it content edited. They will pick up things the content editor missed. Once an editor becomes familiar with a story it makes it difficult to find the errors. Then, you need to send it in for a grammar/punctuation check which should turn out maybe hundreds of errors. Finally it goes to the proofreader who should pick up tens of errors and formatting errors.
I still do not know what I am going to do the next time I get a "grammar/ and punctuation" editing job and find out they need a good content edit - do I just fix typos or do I actually insert numerous comment discussions about the things that don't work?