Saturday, February 20, 2016

Why is it taking the freelancer so long to edit?

So, I push the need for all authors to hire professional editors. However, sometimes it can take longer than expected for the editor to do the work. I, in fact, have had bad feedback because of the time it can take for an editing job, but I want to explain the editors side of it.

On the particular project I am thinking of, if everything had gone the way I had planned it, the project would have taken a month. However, this particular job required a LOT of rearranging of chapters because none of them made chronological sense. Then, our transmission in our van stopped working.

Well, that meant for two weeks I had to spend 4 hours each day just driving - driving to take my husband and kids to work and driving to pick them up. You don't get much editing done while you are driving, but I let the author know what was happening.

When we got the situation taken care of, I settled in, already at my month's deadline, and finished the first edit. I sent it to her, and she sent it back in a day or two. However, instead of accepting or rejecting the changes, she sent it back to me just as I had sent it to her. I asked some questions and she said she was going to upload some pictures for it, and then she disappeared.

Now, in all fairness, she had some family issues that she needed to take care of. She did send me some sporadic e-mails saying she was busy. The process for her took over a month. When she returned, she had expected me to keep editing without her - uh, and she hadn't even told me what changes to keep or reject...

In the end, it seemed as if she just wanted me to keep all the changes I made. So I did - that at least was easy enough. And I started my second edit. Now, at this point, I left my comments from the first time in because she had not addressed any of them. I worked through the manuscript and sent it back to her.

This time, she not only did not accept or reject ANY of my changes, but she commented - in text - when she wanted me to accept or reject them. Now, the first edit I did was a lot of moving things around, this was a bit more than just a grammar edit. When I edit, you can expect an average of 70 changes per page - especially if I am your first editor. She rejected about 30 changes in the entire 100 pages. She did it in text, not using the comment feature, but her "changes" (read comments) showed up in blue. This meant, I had to go through and click every single change, stopping at the blue ones to see what they said - usually "keep this part you deleted" after the deleted section.

Authors, it is very important to learn how to use the track changes feature. It is also important that you go through each change and accept or reject it. If you don't care, just accept everything. Do not return the red manuscript to your editor and expect them to be able to work with it. Do not comment in text because that makes it even more difficult for the editor. Editors should work with changes tracked- I say the one exception is with formatting because you need to see your changes immediately when you are doing that. Keeping the track changes feature on while you accept or reject changes can be helpful because sometimes you may want to make a change that the editor doesn't know about. However, if you want to directly speak to the editor or address comments the editor had made. use the comments feature.

Aside from the issues that came up in my life and hers, there are many other reasons why an editor may be taking longer than expected. For example, the document may have been well edited in the beginning so the editor glanced over that and decided it was a quick job; then, as the editor got into the work more issues appeared. If you did your homework and hired a good editor, you should be confident that there is a reason for the delay. In most cases, a quick e-mail to the editor should resolve the reason. However, keep in mind that if you want a rush job, the editor may not be able to reply to daily e-mails because he or she is working on the job.

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