A Repeat Article for a Repeat Problem This Editor Sees
To be clear, upfront and as honest as possible, and just in case you didn’t read the title… this is a repeat article. As in I’ve already written about this topic a time or two before.
I’m not writing about it today because I’ve run out of topics though. Hardly.
At this rate, Innovative Editing is good for the rest of the year – minus the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, which I’m not writing anything for.
Even an editorial workaholic deserves some time off to stuff her face, after all.
That aside, the reason why I’m writing about this repeat topic yet again is because I’m constantly reminded of it. Sometimes, I’ll admit, that’s even by myself.
There’s nothing quite so annoying as proving your own point like that, no matter if it’s only from time to time. Which is why I'm so quick to bring this writing rule back up:
Always read your work over at least once before you publish. Or before you send it to an editor.
Especially one you’re paying for.
Back when my younger brother was in college, he would ask me to read over his papers. By then, I’d known him for two decades. So I knew his tricks.
If I let him get away with it, he’d slap something haphazard together, then send it to me to clean up. And by clean up, I mean polish to a pristine, professional, publishable quality.
Putting that level of care into a writing assignment is a sickness I have. An incurable one, or so I’ve been told.
With that said, I’m not so sick as to spend hours slaving over something I’m not being properly compensated for. And brotherly love in this case doesn’t cut it.
So I told him he’d better read through his own work at least once before sending it to me. That way, his points would be clear enough that I truly would just be editing instead of rewriting altogether.
It would save me time and teach him valuable skills, such as personal responsibility, critical thinking… and not trying to take advantage of his big sister who had better things to do with her day.
A win-win all around, I’d say. A win-win all around.
No doubt in part due to that tough-love mentality, he’s grown up to be a functional, mature-ish member of society. You’re welcome, little brother.
I’m so glad you had a sister who cared.
I never charged my brother for anything, though I do recall threatening it a time or two. And I’m sure I thought about it more than that.
But he’s family. So I wasn’t ever going to follow through. (Even if I did hold his birthday present hostage one year until he gave me something worthwhile for mine.)
When you’re running a business, however – no matter how many “friends and family” deals you run or “when you’re here, you’re family” slogans you post – that’s just not the case.
Look, I love my clients. And I genuinely want the best for each and every one of them.
I want their books to sell… their posts to take off… and their websites to bring in incredible amounts of profit-driving hits and clicks.
But, unlike with my brother, I don’t participate in that push for free. I expect compensation.
Too blunt? I don’t mean to be. But any business that claims otherwise is lying. And, as I began by saying, I always want to be as upfront and honest as possible.
That’s why I’m willing to share the editorial trade secret that you can save a good bit of money – and get your documents back a good bit quicker – if you read over your work before involving an editor.
Obviously, you’re employing an editor because you don’t have the time or expertise to do so on your own. So I’m not saying you should spend hours combing over it, looking for every little error.
But, for your own sake, just read over it once before hitting send. You have no idea how worthwhile it could otherwise be.