How To Cope With A Problem After Editing

You made it! Part four of our series on editing. Today, Susan is providing tips for how to deal if there’s a problem with the edit.

What if I don’t like the work they did? If you mean you hate every edit they made, that should’ve come up in the sample and been addressed then. It’s a little late now to decide you don’t like how they work! If the work was performed as agreed, they are entitled to be paid for their time and effort.

What if my best friend’s mother’s aunt who’s an English teacher says they did a bad job? Some of editing is very subjective (meaning there is no specific rule to implement, or the situation requires the editor to adjust a rule). Your best friend, her mother, and the mother’s English teacher aunt are not qualified to judge the editing, especially on subjective matters (if PM or p.m. for time of day was implemented, for example). An English teacher may be an expert on English, but the editor is an expert on English as well as style.

The editor will probably be happy to explain some of their decisions or has provided a style sheet that explains them, but they’re not going to clarify every single edit they made. You paid for their professional work and opinion.

That said, you do not have to accept every edit or decision your editor made. It is, after all, your book. You have the right to decide. It might be a good idea, though, to consider their experience and training before throwing something out the window. And you have the right to ask reasonable, polite questions.

What if I find a true error? There is no such thing as a perfect book. You could have 50 copy editors work on your book and the proofreader would almost definitely find something to change. If you find an error, fix it. It will take more time to return it to the editor than to just do it yourself. Yes, that’s what you paid them to do, but as I said, there is no such thing as a perfect book.

I’m not a math expert, but I know that material being 95 percent free of errors is considered a good standard. In a 100k-word book that has 10,000 revisions, finding one error remaining is an extremely low percentage. Even if you found ten errors, the percentage would still be very low.

No, the editor will probably not agree to re-edit your book for free unless you find a lot of obvious errors. And if they truly left a lot of obvious errors (meaning they didn’t return the wrong file to you by mistake), do you want them anywhere near your book again? Unfortunately, the best thing to do in such a case is try to negotiate a refund of some kind and find another editor.

What if the editor asks for a recommendation/testimonial and I don’t want to write one for them? Just tell them no and why. A professional isn’t going to argue with you, and they will probably appreciate knowing about any issues that they can work on for the future.

What if my book reviews say my book needs editing—and it already was edited? If readers can point to specific examples, that’s one thing. But keep in mind that many troll reviews use “lack of editing” as an excuse to rate the book poorly. One author returned to me because a reviewer said a certain word was used incorrectly. I checked—and the word didn’t even exist in the manuscript. Also consider that you may have inadvertently introduced a new error after editing, especially if you reworked or added material, or moved things around.

Congratulations on finishing your book! Now get out there and find a professional editor who can polish it up and make it shine.

Have you had issues dealing with an editor? How did you resolve them?

If you enjoyed this post, please read the other blog posts in the series.

Part One – How To Find A Professional Editor

Part Two – How To Hire A Professional Editor 

Part Three – How To Work With A Professional Editor