#SaystheEditor: Double Standard?


Lately, I’ve been seeing reviews for books that are highly critical of the editing. Usually, the critics have their grammar rules wrong and are clinging to their high school English lessons, which taught an entirely different use and set of rules than what applies to modern-day fiction. My favorites are the people who clearly are older than I am and who are citing rules that were outdated when I went to high school. These people are leaving negative reviews for authors based on their own lack of knowledge, and that’s not fair to the author or his/her support staff.

The inmates are running the asylum, folks.

But here’s where the double standard kicks in. In many of these reviews, once they are done criticizing the professional’s job, they go on and … break the rules themselves. Know how many reviews I’ve seen criticizing the editor that themselves have typos? How many times I’ve seen character names spelled wrong? (and yes, I’ve done this myself. Actually, I once did worse: I got the author’s name wrong. How embarrassing! But I learned… and haven’t done it since. Some things never leave you.)

That’s not my favorite, though. Nope. My favorite, my all-time, holy smoke, are you for REAL moment is when they make up words.

Double standard, boys and girls.

So… on the one hand, the book is edited poorly! The author needs someone better!

And on the other hand, I’m illiterate! I’m too trendy for you and I’m making up words that ought to catch on when really, there’s a perfectly fine way of saying this without looking like a tool!

It’s a double standard. It’s the inmates running the asylum. And it’s hurting careers all over the place.

Don’t comment on the editing. If you have an issue, send the author an e-mail. Let them work it out privately, let them contact their editor and fix the errors (any client who comes to me with an issue gets a free re-do, and if the errors were actually in the copy I worked on — because errors have a way of creeping in at every single stage in the game, and any author will tell you of their struggle to stop that — you’ll get a free next edit from me, too) quietly and upload a new copy.

Because when you whine about something so publicly, you’re hurting the author. You’re giving the impression the author has made bad choices, or can’t write, or has spent their money on the wrong people.

And then when you go and do it with your own lack of regard for the very things you’re complaining about, now you’re making yourself AND the author look bad.

Why would you want to be so hurtful to so many people?

Cut the double standard. Keep your mouth shut publicly. Contact the author.

And maybe hire an editor for your own reviews. I’d be glad to help you with that.


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