Author Topic: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?  (Read 1619 times)  

Offline LovetoWrite

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What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« on: April 28, 2017, 12:44:43 PM »
I hired a line editor that I found here on kboards. She gave me a sample edit, and I was very impressed with her work. I paid a deposit, and she was off and running. I emailed her a month ago to ask about an ETA, and she responded within a few days that it was a very intensive edit and that she'd respond later that week--which she never did. I emailed her again on Monday, and never heard back. I emailed her again today, and still haven't heard back. I paid her through paypal, so I guess I could always dispute the charge and get the funds returned to me.

What steps could I take in the future in order to prevent this from happening again? Should I set up milestones and for them to email me periodically with what they've done so I can see that progress is actually being made?

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2017, 01:17:15 PM »
What steps could I take in the future in order to prevent this from happening again?

Hire only based on recommendations from people you trust.
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Offline AllyWho

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2017, 01:27:52 PM »
I hired a line editor that I found here on kboards.

So sorry that has happened to you. I also had issues with an editor that was recommended on the k-boards. The sample looked fine but the actual job was substandard and numerous errors were introduced into the manuscript. I had to pay another editor (found via personal recommendation NOT the k-boards) and have it re-done. I've found quality varies greatly here and I don't trust recommendations unless I know the recommending author's work. I engaged a proofreader that a few people here raved about, and she also introduced errors. For example she told me I kept spelling "town" wrong and she had corrected it. I write Regencies, the word was "ton" and the proofreader didn't know that and changed them all to town...  ::)

I would suggest opening a claim with PayPal, if nothing else that might encourage the editor to get back in touch with you?
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 01:30:17 PM by AliceW »

Offline amdonehere

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 01:42:29 PM »
OP, if you can't find an editor or proofreader you can absolutely trust, one way you can avoid this situation, is to go with an editor on www.reedsy.com. The deposit and payment, as well as the work, are handled through Reedsy which serves as an intermediary. You and the editor both have to pay reedsy a fee, but it's a small payment to avoid a bigger loss.

I used them when I first started out and was happy with it. I only ended up using others for totally unrelated reasons.

Good luck.

Offline PermaStudent

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 01:52:39 PM »
What steps could I take in the future in order to prevent this from happening again? Should I set up milestones and for them to email me periodically with what they've done so I can see that progress is actually being made?

Sorry this happened to you.  I've had it happen before with an editor who came very highly recommended by a trusted author on kboards.  I hope your editor gets back to you soon with all agreed work completed and a harrowing tale about why they couldn't email you sooner. 

When I'm hiring a random person on the internet, I no longer hand over a whole project.  We work in 10-20k increments until trust is established that they do quality work and they can meet deadlines.
  I write urban fantasy.  There are girls in gowns and glowy hands on my covers.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2017, 02:07:46 PM »
I had a similar thing happen with a dev editor. Try emailing again and say you're going to file a claim with PayPal. If that doesn't work, file the claim.

One thing I can't stand is being ignored by someone I'm paying, and if someone is going to miss a deadline, the professional thing to do is notify you in advance, not leave you wondering what the h is going on.

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Offline MartaT

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 03:57:15 PM »
Sorry this happened. When someone goes radio silent, and previously appeared to be reliable, it's usually a sign of being overwhelmed. It could be due to a family emergency, or it could be that the person by now is too embarrassed to explain why. If you expected to hear within a month and have reached out twice already, give it a couple more days since your last communication, then send one more note saying you have no idea of the status of the project and have to assume that it's stalled, so you're opening a complaint with PayPal. Then do it.

As for what to do in future... in spite of the best precautions, this can happen, but you can minimize the likelihood by doing what you did, looking at samples when appropriate, seeing what others have said, and paying by a method that you can use to dispute a payment if the work is not delivered. You could also protect yourself with an agreement that has dates when work and payments are due. It can often help protect both writer and editor if there's an initial deposit with the remainder due (depending on the size of the project) at stages partway through or at the end, though not all editors have the same requirements (if an editor's been burned, that person's more likely to ask for most or all up front). Milestones can be helpful, but many editors will not return partially edited documents, only completed documents when they're satisfied that they've been fully edited. Of course, if there are multiple rounds of editing planned, the workflow may differ. Even if the project is expected to last several months, there should be progress updates.

Reedsy was mentioned above, and I know several editors who signed on, others who are trying to back out, and others who've been uncomfortable enough with how they work never to join up. They take a rather large cut from both the writer and editor side, and communication is set up to be indirect. You'd have a more limited selection, and could end up paying more for comparable work.

Offline Anne Pottinger

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 07:32:32 PM »
Your post made me cringe. As a long time (30+ years) editor myself, I cannot imagine treating a client so unprofessionally. I make a point of touching bases with my clients at the end of every week. This task is easy enough to accomplish because I never undertake more than one full-length novel at a time. I also edit essays, papers, etc., for several university students, but these tasks are easy to slot in and I find they provide me with a refreshing break from the much longer commitment.

I have no idea who your editor is, but I apologize on her behalf. I'm so sorry she had besmirched our profession.


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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2017, 08:01:16 PM »
Your post made me cringe. [snip] I have no idea who your editor is, but I apologize on her behalf. I'm so sorry she had besmirched our profession.

Exactly this. I'm not nearly as tenured as Anne, but the thought of treating a client that way made me want to hide my face and shrivel up from shame.

As others have suggested, splitting the payment into milestones might help ensure you never go through this in the future. She may indeed be overwhelmed or facing some real life situation, but avoiding communication is not the answer. The threat of a PayPal dispute might be enough to make her come out of the woodwork. Good luck.

Offline Salome Golding

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2017, 08:19:18 PM »
... I also edit essays, papers, etc., for several university students..

Wow, I guess this kind of thing explains all the graduates coming out with top drawer degrees but functionally illiterate.

Offline amdonehere

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2017, 08:41:29 PM »
The thing with Reedsy is, they have an overhead to run. Communications are kept within their site to ensure Reedsy itself is protected, which is perfectly fair and understandable. When I used an editor there, we both adhere to that rule to make sure that neither side default on each other, or both defaulting on Reedsy itself. It's like using Fiverr. You don't know who you're dealing with, but a system is in place to help you overcome that.

The site is easy enough to navigate and use. The only annoying thing is you have to login.

You might end up paying more, or not. The author and service provider negotiate the rates themselves. I actually didn't pay more than the editors I use now outside of Reedsy because of the rate I negotiated. But in retrospect I think the Reedsy editor I used got paid less because Reedsy took a cut of her fee.

Yes Reedsy does take a cut, but I'm still glad they're there for anyone who would like to minimize the risk of disappearing service provider or defaulting authors. You can't have it both ways. Neither Reedsy or anyone is there to provide non-profit charity services. I don't really get the complaint about them taking a fee. So far as I know, Reedsy is the only service that is available to serve as intermediary to ensure both sides honor their obligations, and protect both sides from 100% losses. No one is required to use them. Editors aren't required to sign on if they don't like having to give up a cut. It's the same as whether you want to buy insurance. Reedsy offers an option for those who wants to pay for insurance.

Reedsy also screens their editors back when I had used them. I don't know if they still do, but at least back then, they don't just take anyone who claims to be an editor. There's a level of quality ensurance there.

I have no skin in the game here. I used them for 2 projects, and was satisfied. I hadn't used them since but that again is due to various unrelated circumstances.

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2017, 07:30:51 AM »
Quote
Try emailing again and say you're going to file a claim with PayPal. If that doesn't work, file the claim.

Give them 24 hours to respond, but no more. If there were a legitimate reason for any delay, it could have been communicated long before now.

As to protecting yourself from this happening again? Sadly there's no guarantee anyone wouldn't do this, as some have shared. All you can do is vet the person on as many sites as you can, perhaps only do the project in increments, as suggested.
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Offline Carol Davis

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2017, 08:37:26 AM »
That's horrific and inexcusable, unless the editor in question is in a coma. Being "embarrassed" about something is no excuse when someone is paying you to complete a job.

Yes, I'd give her one more chance. Tell her she's got 24 hours to send you something so you can see that actual work has been done or you're going to file a claim, and then follow through.

To keep it from happening again -- I'd say explain to any new editor that you've had a bad experience and ask them to send the work back in increments. I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I'd guess that any editor who values their client base would agree to help you out in that way.

I hope folks here won't start throwing the baby out with the bathwater, though. Yes, there are bad apples in every bunch, but the KBoards Yellow Pages are an invaluable resource. (Speaking both as an author and as an editor who's gotten probably 90% of her jobs from KBoards.)

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Offline Cara Quinlan

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2017, 11:18:14 AM »
I'm so sorry this has happened to you, OP. There are always inherent risks with hiring someone online, but it also opens you up to a world of talented people (in many areas of expertise) you may never have come across otherwise. I do hope it gets resolved, though, as others have said above, unless there is something dire happening with the editor, there is absolutely no excuse that you haven't received a response. 

I have to say that I'm a bit surprised that so many people are recommending that an editor send work back in installments -- this doesn't give the editor an opportunity to return to previous portions of the manuscript and make necessary changes, which I've found is critical as I'm working my way through an edit. For example, on multiple occasions I've come across issues with consistency in spelling, character traits, word usage, and so on that I've needed to return to previous chapters to address. Some actual examples include a minor character's name changing halfway through the story, inconsistencies with street names (56th Street versus 56th Avenue), and alternating between using BC and BCE after the year. If portions of the manuscript have already been returned to the author, that makes it MUCH easier for small errors like these to slip through unnoticed.

I would suggest looking for an editor who has testimonials on his or her website from authors who are currently published. I would also recommend -- and I've implemented this with my own clients -- finding someone who sends you standard terms that you agree to prior to the start of the edit. For example, I include a clause in my terms that covers my policy relating to cancellations. Finally, make sure that the editor gives you a clear return date for your manuscript -- there should be no guesswork about when you're going to receive it.

I wish you the best of luck moving forward!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 11:20:01 AM by Cara Quinlan »
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Online Becca Mills

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2017, 11:35:36 AM »


I hope folks here won't start throwing the baby out with the bathwater, though. Yes, there are bad apples in every bunch, but the KBoards Yellow Pages are an invaluable resource.

It's important to know that KB's Yellow Pages are entirely self-service -- anyone can list themselves there. Therefore, appearing there =/= being recommended by the forum.

Offline brkingsolver

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2017, 02:11:49 PM »
I have to say that I'm a bit surprised that so many people are recommending that an editor send work back in installments -- this doesn't give the editor an opportunity to return to previous portions of the manuscript and make necessary changes, which I've found is critical as I'm working my way through an edit. For example, on multiple occasions I've come across issues with consistency in spelling, character traits, word usage, and so on that I've needed to return to previous chapters to address. Some actual examples include a minor character's name changing halfway through the story, inconsistencies with street names (56th Street versus 56th Avenue), and alternating between using BC and BCE after the year. If portions of the manuscript have already been returned to the author, that makes it MUCH easier for small errors like these to slip through unnoticed.
As an author who also occasionally does editing, I agree with this. One of the things that some of the posters also seem to miss is that editing doesn't take place in a vacuum. When I send a manuscript to an editor, or when I receive one, the first question should be one of time. Lining up promotions, covers, and other things often have to be done well in advance. If I've allocated two weeks for an edit, a week for revisions, then another week for a second pass, I expect the editor to come through.

When I read, " I emailed her a month ago to ask about an ETA, and she responded within a few days that it was a very intensive edit and that she'd respond later that week--which she never did." ::CRINGE::

You can't do any planning with something like this. Months? A friend and I edited the worst book ever written, 150K words, and it only took a month. It still isn't readable, but at least it's spelled and punctuated correctly.

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Offline delve

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2017, 02:42:46 PM »
Which editor are you referring to so others don't make the same mistake? All of these editors have threads here advertising their services and you see nothing but praise, it's as if they're all  the best editors evar!

Taking a month to reply is inexcusable. I'm surprised you waited this long before you said anything.

Offline SerenityEditing

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2017, 11:17:41 AM »
That's horrific and inexcusable, unless the editor in question is in a coma....

To keep it from happening again -- I'd say explain to any new editor that you've had a bad experience and ask them to send the work back in increments.


Even if she is in a coma. I mean, sure, stuff happens all the time (and I have been known to rationalize "I'll email [tomorrow/in a week] when I have more to report" myself   :-[  ), but if something has come up that prevents her from finishing at all, there should be processes in place to address that.

I've certainly had my fair share of Stuff Happening in the last six months, but there are four people who know how to find my computer and email passwords in the event that anything major happens to me, and I keep a document on my desktop (and notes on a whiteboard) listing my current, recently finished, and upcoming projects so they'd know who to notify (along with instructions in the .doc file for marking a stop-point and sending the document off, so that at least the author will have the work I did complete). Two of those four people also know where to find the passwords for my bank accounts and PayPal accounts so refunds can be made in a timely manner, if necessary.

Sending back in increments is a feasible option, IMO, even though I agree with brkingsolver and Cara Quinlan about the potential pitfalls. I am actually working on a MS right now as a favor to someone, working on it when I can, and I'm sending the author whatever progress I've made each week(ish), but I still keep the full document intact so I can go back and reference things if I need to. Another client is sending me three-chapter sections and paying in installments; that's a bit more bumpy but still workable, and the client knows that we'll need to do a final/second pass on the full document to make sure the style stays consistent and nothing slips through.

The important thing for LovetoWrite's peace of mind regarding future editing contracts, I think, would be having the reassurance that progress is being made, and periodic increments would provide that - she'd be able to see that 'yes, seven more chapters this week got finished, we're still on track,' or 'only two chapters got finished this week but she let me know she was sick' or whatever.

The author's review of the edits shouldn't take place until the last installment is returned, of course, to avoid any risk of "I'm in Chapter 27 but I went back and changed something in Chapter 2" edits getting missed, but at least the author would have evidence that progress is being made, and would have something on hand if it all did fall apart.

LovetoWrite, I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you. I hope you're able to get a refund via PayPal and that you get some sort of response from her, and that you're able to find an editor who's more reliable. Personal recommendations are best, but if you don't know anyone who can offer a recommendation, you can also ask the editor for references - say, the last 3 or 5 clients s/he worked with, and the names of their books. You can then contact the clients for their opinions and check on Amazon/etc to be sure that the books actually do exist. There may be some clients who don't want to be identified or contacted, but if you ask for, say, 4-5 recent references you should be able to get at least 2-3 contacts.

I'd also ask for approximate dates for those clients, and review the dates the editor gives you. For one thing, it should give you an idea of the editor's usual turnaround time, but also if someone says, for instance, "I worked with Author A from January 10th through January 24th, and with Author B from April 7th through April 17th," I would be interested to know what happened between January 24th and April 7th. Maybe the editor just doesn't get much work - or maybe there were a string of unhappy customers that s/he doesn't want you to be in touch with.

Best of luck - I hope this has a happy ending for you!
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Offline CrazyHorze

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2017, 11:38:54 AM »
Make sure you keep an eye on PayPal's deadline's for opening claims.

Offline Joseph M. Erhardt

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2017, 01:54:21 PM »
I do editing work on the side, and this sort of thing scares me, from my side of the desk.  I get around it by editing in portions and only billing for work already done (in other words, no "advances").  Additionally, there's a no-penalty opt-out for either side, and the editee can even say, "I'm not happy with the editing and I'm invoking my right to final-invoice cancellation." (Up to $100--I'm not crazy.)

In my TOS, I state that the payment of an invoice implies that the editing related to the invoice has been accepted as being worth the payment paid.  And so things ratchet forward.  No new editing goes on for the client until the previous invoice is paid.  That way, risk on both sides is minimized.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 01:57:16 PM by Joseph M. Erhardt »

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Offline RicardoFayet

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2017, 05:58:32 AM »
I thought I'd jump in, as there has been quite a bit of discussion about Reedsy in this thread. Just want to offer an update and clarification on what has been discussed, and be fully transparent:
  • We still vet, and will always vet, every professional listed on our marketplace. Since starting the company, we have received over 20,000 applications from freelance professionals and "wannabe" professionals who wanted to be listed on Reedsy. We have accepted 600. That's 3%.
  • We charge the author a 10% fee. So if you accept a quote for $1,000, you'll also pay a $100 Reedsy fee. In exchange, we offer a project protection so that the type of situation described in this thread never happens. We also offer tons of tools and resources for free. See this thread.
  • We charge the professional a 10% fee. So if they quoted $1,000, they'll receive $900. This is to cover both the project protection, the customer service, and all the project management tools we make available to them (automated payment, invoicing, etc.).
  • We do ask that all written communication between the author and the professional stays on Reedsy. This is because, otherwise, there is no way for us to "mediate" in case of dispute. So, if you want to take the conversation off Reedsy, you can. But you won't benefit from our project protection.
Hope all this helps. I realize Reedsy is not for everyone (our editors/designers are seasoned professionals and their prices are on the higher end), but I just wanted to explain what we do, why we charge a fee and what we offer in exchange.

Offline Ann in Arlington

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2017, 06:04:42 AM »

It's important to know that KB's Yellow Pages are entirely self-service -- anyone can list themselves there. Therefore, appearing there =/= being recommended by the forum.


Quoting this for emphasis.

Additionally, if they have a yellow page listing, they also should have a vendor thread. You are allowed to post your experience with any vendor in their vendor thread. Such personal testimonials can be used by other members as part of their vetting. And it gives the vendor an opportunity to respond which also will give other prospective clients information to be used in vetting.

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Offline This_Way_Down

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2017, 06:36:50 AM »
You can probably approach PayPal for your money. I've received undelivered merchandise refunds in the past.
But as to avoiding this happening again...As was said in earlier posts, deal with known editors. There are a few warning signs. Is it too cheap? If someone is willing to edit you 100k word manuscript for a few hundred bucks, they are likely either shady or not very good. Editing is a difficult, time consuming process. No one worth a damn is going to work that hard for peanuts.
If they are unwilling or unable to give you references is another warning sign. My editor has used me as a reference on multiple occasions. He does a great job, so I'm happy to do it.
If they cannot easily define what they will do for you. By that I mean, are they line editing, copy editing, etc. They should be able to give you examples of all types within their skill set and be able to explain in simple terms what they have done, why, and what they didn't do. Don't get suckered into a situation where you want editing and get proof reading.

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2017, 07:56:08 AM »
So sorry that has happened to you. I also had issues with an editor that was recommended on the k-boards. The sample looked fine but the actual job was substandard and numerous errors were introduced into the manuscript. I had to pay another editor (found via personal recommendation NOT the k-boards) and have it re-done. I've found quality varies greatly here and I don't trust recommendations unless I know the recommending author's work. I engaged a proofreader that a few people here raved about, and she also introduced errors. For example she told me I kept spelling "town" wrong and she had corrected it. I write Regencies, the word was "ton" and the proofreader didn't know that and changed them all to town...  ::)

I would suggest opening a claim with PayPal, if nothing else that might encourage the editor to get back in touch with you?
How can 'ton' and 'town' be in the same context? I am puzzled.


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Offline RightHoJeeves

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Re: What to do with not hearing back from an editor?
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2017, 07:57:24 AM »
I had the exact same thing happen recently... I'd be interested to know who you dealt with.

If its of any help, she actually edited 3 of my novels and did a great job. But while talking about the fourth she vanished.

Regrettably I had to find another one. She was good but I need someone who answers emails.

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