I’ve seen this issue come up enough times for me to comment on it: authors who get samples from several editors and weigh the pros and cons of each, which usually center around quality and price, but also personality and professionalism.

Most authors would prefer to work with an author who responds quickly and effuses praise and seems to really like their book. They want support and enthusiasm for the project. They want someone who “gets it.”

But that’s a mistake.

When you bring your car in for an oil change, you don’t care about how much someone likes you or your car. You want the best job done. You may be thinking, “Sure but I could go anywhere – why not go someplace that makes me feel good?”

Because – as you already know – all editing services are not the same. Anybody could help fix punctuation or remove typos; or even improve the style and word choice a little. But very few editors, even the people who style themselves as such, are qualified to not only point out significant structural problems but also suggest real fixes. You’ve probably seen the meme about choosing 2 out of these three options:

  • fast
  • cheap
  • good

But those are measurable, desirable qualities. Would you sacrifice any one of those for something extra like makes me feel happy and inspired?

If so, you’re not paying for the quality or speed at which the work is delivered. You’re paying for something else. Now, of course, there are editors who are good who are also friendly. But be careful not to be deceived by someone who is cheerful and very responsive to you – it *might* mean they need the work and are over-selling themselves.

Edit: feeling happy and inspired is also necessary, I’m not trying to discredit your feelings. I’m just suggesting you find this kind of emotional support elsewhere.

Why am I telling you this?

It’s not off-brand for me to say our editors can sometimes seem a bit rude. And we don’t always respond quickly. We like to focus on the work. And we approach the work as readers would: without strings – we will comment or flag anything that prompts a response, without considering your sensitive feelings. Of course, we try to soften the blow and hopefully also say some nice things to make you feel good, but flattery isn’t guaranteed by our services.

We’re not always right, and you may disagree, but there’s a good chance some readers might agree with us, which means there’s probably a way to do it better. I’m an impatient person, so I get that I’d rather pay for someone to happily do good work now, rather than wait around for great work that is overly critical from someone who doesn’t seem to get the book project.

That’s a fine choice, and I don’t blame you for making it.

But consider this: what you intend your book to be, is not what your book actually is. You’ll never have the opportunity to convince readers that your way is better; that you purposely eschewed common writing or genre guidelines in the name of art and inspiration; that they should love your book even if they don’t. The book is its own thing, it either works or it doesn’t.

We can’t write your book for you, but we can gently steer you towards improving your manuscript to eliminate hard turn-offs or disorienting passages or out of place infodumps and backstory. There’s probably a better way to present the information; and you’re probably making all the common writing mistakes most authors make.

If you aren’t, then kudos and hats off to you, maestro, but then you can probably just get a cheap proofreading service if you aren’t willing to have someone criticize your efforts. Writing is personal and words come from the heart; and of course you did the absolute best you could and you should be 100% proud of your creative efforts.

We applaud you, we salute you, but we will still tear apart your pages until they bleed.