Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Writing – Is The #Editor You Hired Actually Doing The Editing? by D.G. Kaye

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

 Is The #Editor You Hired Actually Doing The Editing? by D.G. Kaye

While visiting a friend’s blog recently, I was intrigued at something Amy Reade’s guest, an author and freelance editor, mentioned in her interview – “English teachers are not editors.”

Her comment took me back to a terrible experience I once encountered with an editor I hired after being referred to her by a highly successful author friend. At the time, I was just completing my final draft for my 3rd book – Meno-What? – A Memoir and was already quite happy and comfortable with my previous editor but somehow got caught up in the hoopla of this highly recommended editor who my friend claimed had brought his book to a new level.

I carefully vetted the editor, looked at testimonials and checked out her work, and even had a free chapter edited by her for her to demonstrate how she works. And for some unexplained reason I decided to try her out for a change of pace. I emailed her and even followed up by calling her because I wanted to get a good feel for her and her work. . . and the nightmare began.

I submitted my manuscript and anxiously awaited it to return to me with the edits, and what I got back was a holy mess.

The manuscript I was reading didn’t read like it was my voice anymore. All of who I am as a writer was stripped away from my story. My story had no emotion left in it, it read boring and almost clinical.

As I continued to scroll through the initial first pass of the edits, I literally shed tears and felt like shredding the whole manuscript. Nothing was jiving. Everything I’d read about this editor wasn’t adding up to the praise she had been given by many. And after I did a first scroll through I turned on the track changes in the review section of the Word document to read further – the explanations in the viewing panel from the editor, the panel that not only displays comments and suggested changes, but is stamped with the editor’s initials, or full name. THE NAME I SAW WAS NOT THE NAME OF THE EDITOR I HIRED!!

I was livid. I immediately drafted a letter and sent it off to ‘the editor I hired’. I let her know how I felt about the shoddy work done on my MS, and that I discovered that she did not edit my book! She replied to me with a bunch of malarkey to soften the blows and proceeded to explain to me that she was behind in her work and subbed out my MS to an English school teacher friend of hers. She did not inform me of that when I hired her, or when she sent me back the MS, hoping I wouldn’t notice!

I chewed her out and told her I would not be paying the balance owed and if she had a problem with that I’d have no problem exploiting her on social media. Then I put my tail between my legs and emailed my original editor of my other books, explained how I betrayed her and apologized, told her about the mess my book was in and asked if she’d take it on and start from scratch with the original manuscript before it was hacked to death. And of course, the good person she is, she consoled me and told me it’s not unusual for writers to want to explore other editors and that she was happy I came back to her. I wanted to hug her.

I’ve read many times how we as writers aren’t effective enough being our own editors and I know this first hand. I’ve read many a tale of woe where writers cried in protest their editors had stripped their voice from their manuscripts. And I’ve also read several times that English teachers don’t qualify as editors. Then I learned why.

I recently visited Amy’s Blog where she was featuring author/editor Cindy Davis, talking about one of her books and touching on several insights about writing. Her statement and explanation below is what reminded me about the importance of hiring a real editor:

Amy asked: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Cindy responded: Two things. Never think you’re done learning. Keep striving to improve your writing skills. And second, get your book edited. Not by an English teacher. I know I’ll take some flack for this and I agree that teachers are awesome for punctuation and grammar, but they aren’t trained in story development or the fine-tuning it takes to bring your story to the next level—things like filter words, head hopping, and show don’t tell.

And I will add to that the importance of maintaining voice. Voice is how we project our words, how they are received by a reader with a distinct and familiar narration just as we all have our own unique sound of our actual voices, our voice should carry into our writing. We are the storytellers of our books. The editor’s voice is not the one that should emit through the story.

Remember, not every editor is suited for every book. We have to do our diligence and vet the editor. In my situation, I did my diligence vetting and when I had my MS returned to me, nothing about it gave me a wow factor as I’d expected and my suspicions proved correct because the person I hired wasn’t the person who edited my MS.

Have any of you here ever been duped or unsatisfied with a hired editor? Please share your experience with us.

©D.G. Kaye 2019

My thanks  to Debby for giving us a reminder that we must do our due diligence and research before handing our work to anyone who is offering writing services or marketing.

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

A recent review for Twenty Years After “I Do”

The author married a man who is twenty years her senior. At the time of their marriage, she did reflect on what could or would happen in the future as the relentless march of time took its toll, but she loved Gordon so much that she decided to grab the happiness and job life was offering her.

I found this book particularly interesting because my mother is ten years older than my father. My mother has always been “young” for her age and my father a bit “older” for his. They are now 80 and 70, respectively, and it has been interesting to watch the changes to their relationship and lifestyle. Ten years is half of twenty years, so such a big age gap does seem rather overwhelming to me and I was curious as to how the couple managed their life together now that they were both older. It turns out that they manage very well indeed, and I found this memoir uplifting and even inspiring.

The author addresses all sorts of aspects of married life, many of which are relevant in any marriage, regardless of the age of the spouses. I learned a lot from her thoughts and ideas, in particular, the idea of counting to ten before speaking in rage and never saying anything deliberately spiteful or hurtful. I have heard this message before, but never understood it quite like this. I am going to take this lesson learned forward in my life especially in my relationship with my one son, who is so like me we often fight like cat and dog.

The information covered in this book about living with a senior and travelling with a senior is useful to anyone who spends time and travels with parents so it is all very relevant and useful. I is also interesting to note how the author manages medications and illness with her senior husband.

This is a great book with numerous important messages that can be enjoyed and appreciated by people of all age groups looking to gain the best from life and relationships.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

More reviews and follow Debby: Goodreads

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog:D.G. Kaye Writer Blog
About me:
Twitter: (yes there’s a story)

Check out Debby’s new series here on SmorgasbordD.G. Kaye Explores the Realm of Relationships

Thanks for dropping by today and if you have had an experience with an editor that you would like to share to help other writers make effective decisions about their work then please let us know.. thanks Sally.

35 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Writing – Is The #Editor You Hired Actually Doing The Editing? by D.G. Kaye

  1. What an experience, Debby! And wise advice from Cindy via Amy. Choosing an editor isn’t easy and I think when we find a good one that resonates with us and understands our work and honors our voice, we are writerly blessed. Great share. Thanks Debby and Sally. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I read this post twice as it is so interesting. I have obviously been extremely lucky with my editors. Charli Mills helped me to developmentally edit While the Bombs Fell. I learned a huge amount from her and sing her praises from the rooftops. Of course, I had been following Charli’s blog for ages and participating in her prompts so I knew her style and the kind of person she is. Charli couldn’t help me with Through the Nethergate and suggested Esther Chilton. This was great advice, I love Esther’s style of developmental editing and she also helped me with the proofing (checking for grammar and spelling) at the end. Esther read A Ghost and his Gold and gave me some fantastic feedback. Thanks for her suggestions it will now be a full length adult novel and I have just passed 67 000 words.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I was Mary! At first I wanted to exploit her all over social media. But as I write in my relationship columns, quick reactions will have repercussions by replying in a heated moment. I’ve written a few articles about this and if she ever came across one she’d know who she is, but I don’t like waves. Not to say I wouldn’t tell you if you asked me, just won’t plaster it out in the cyber world. 🙂 xx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember reading this from before, and it made an impression once again. It’s crazy to think that the person you hired would subcontract the work out. I’m glad your original editor was so professional.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – January 19th – 25th 2020 – Music, Food, Guests and Humour – Enjoy the Party. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  5. What a terrible experience, Debby. As I publish and write in Spanish and English, I’ve tried quite a few editors over the years, and had some good and bad experiences, although nothing quite as horrible. It gest even more complicated when you write in different genres, because, as you say, not all editors are good fits for all genres. Great editors can have long waiting lists, but they are worth the wait. Thanks for the warning, Debby and Sally!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a terrific post from Debby! A while back, I almost hired a highly recommended editor. She asked me to send her the first five pages of my manuscript so that she could show me her editing style. When she returned them, I was shocked by what she had done. She had taken the fantasy and magic out of my book and completely stripped the pages of my voice and style. It turned out, this editor had only edited memoirs and biographies, and didn’t particularly like fantasy stories. So, even if the editor is excellent, that doesn’t mean she’s a good fit for your book. Thanks for sharing, Sally! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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