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Thread: [Editing] BubbleCow

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin teodorika's Avatar
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    [Editing] BubbleCow

    Has anybody heard of them or used them? I just spoke with somebody called Gary Smailies, he offered a full copy edit service for a very reasonable price (the same as Cornerstones) but he promised to do it faster - 20 days max. He said it will be done by Caroline Smailies who is a very experienced editor.
    Do you think I should go for it?

  2. #2
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    What is her experience?
    Who are her clients?
    What type of editing are you looking for -- content or copy?
    Finding a good editor is not easy. Anyone can put a website up and declare himself or herself an editor.
    I already see a few grammatical errors on the site (e.g. "ever expanding" should be "ever-expanding" and "BubbleCow are" should be "BubbleCow is.") Both are common errors and often overlooked, but not errors that professional editors should make.

  3. #3
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happywritermom View Post
    I already see a few grammatical errors on the site (e.g. "ever expanding" should be "ever-expanding" and "BubbleCow are" should be "BubbleCow is.") Both are common errors and often overlooked, but not errors that professional editors should make.
    In fairness, a plural verb with an organisation is standard usage in the UK, and this is a UK company.

    Can't speak to anything else personally, but wanted to clear that up.
    Last edited by Terie; 11-08-2011 at 06:36 PM.
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    Thanks, Terie.
    I didn't know that.
    In the U.S., it's just a commonly accepted error. It drives me crazy when I hear radio and TV broadcasters do it and they do it all the time.

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  6. #6
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    When paying for editorial services, you should always review the editor's cv and have the opportunity to contact other clients.

    Someone telling me that their relative (presumably, since the two have the same uncommon surname) is a good editor isn't enough. Check the cv, make sure the editor has experience in editing for the specific market where you would like the work to be published (someone who's edited only scientific textbooks for a university press to date isn't likely to be the right editor for a mass-market thriller, and vice versa), and communicate with past clients.


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    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Someone I trust completely to be fair and honest, but who wishes to remain nameless, has just sent me this:
    Bubblecow is a husband and wife team, Gary and Caroline Smailes. It offers editing and self publishing services, and online courses for synopsis writing and other things. The Bubblecow website is full of typos and is very pushy in tone, with an emphasis on selling their services.

    Bubblecow edited the novel of a friend of mine and they did give her helpful advice. But she also paid Cornerstones to edit her novel and when she compared the two reports, Cornerstones left Bubblecow standing. Cornerstones's report was much more detailed, more insightful, and more broad-ranging, and went into much more depth than the one from Bubblecow which was more of a copy edit than a full edit, although as I pointed out to her after I'd looked at Bubblecow's website they do only offer copy editing services, and not full edits. I think they might be confused about what copy editing means.

    I have been told that they don't turn down any work at all. That worries me because it implies that they are taking money to edit books which have no chance of being worked up to a publishable standard. So long as they make this clear to the writers they work with that would be acceptable but as far as I know they don't.

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  9. #9
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    Hi All,
    I am indeed Gary Smailes and wanted to answer a few of the questions posed in this thread.
    It is true that, ‘anyone can put a website up and declare himself or herself an editor.’ However, BubbleCow has existed as a company since 2007. During this time we have provided copy editing to publishers, self-publishing companies, agents and writers. We have always been happy to provide references of past clients, though we have a 100% privacy policy and therefore have to get written permission before we can talk about writers we have edited. This said, I always think these kinds of testimonials are of limited value, since a company would only provide evidence of happy customers. I prefer to turn to Google and forums, such as this, to put the record straight. Another approach would be to post on our Facebook wall and let our past customers speak for themselves http://www.facebook.com/BubbleCow.
    I must admit I was concerned to see ‘anonymous’ feedback about BubbleCow, a company I have worked hard to build over the past years. We have developed our reputation by helping hundreds of writers and it worries me that someone can write what they wish about us, without any kind of come back.
    That said, here are my thoughts:
    Bubblecow is a husband and wife team, Gary and Caroline Smailes. It offers editing and self publishing services, and online courses for synopsis writing and other things.
    We have two full time employees – Caroline and myself. We are married. However, we employ a number of other editors, one proofreader and an ebook conversion guy on a freelance basis. I have always felt it was dishonest to claim these as ‘employees’, so only really mention Caroline and myself on the website. Another problem we face is at least two editors work for large publishers and don’t wish it to be known that they are also working on a freelance basis.
    The Bubblecow website is full of typos and is very pushy in tone, with an emphasis on selling their services.
    In regards to typos, I have asked our proofreader to once again check the site. This is a problem we have faced in the past. It comes from the fact that we published a lot of blog posts and these are often published before they are checked by the proofreader. I am the biggest culprit of this, but have always felt I would rather get the information out there, rather than slow the process down by waiting for the proof guy. However, I would say that if anyone does find a typo, please let me know (garysmailes@bubblecow.co.uk).
    Pushy tone – we are a business. Selling our products is what we do.
    Bubblecow edited the novel of a friend of mine and they did give her helpful advice. But she also paid Cornerstones to edit her novel and when she compared the two reports, Cornerstones left Bubblecow standing. Cornerstones's report was much more detailed, more insightful, and more broad-ranging, and went into much more depth than the one from Bubblecow which was more of a copy edit than a full edit, although as I pointed out to her after I'd looked at Bubblecow's website they do only offer copy editing services, and not full edits. I think they might be confused about what copy editing means.
    Our copy editing includes a brief reader’s report and a detailed copy edit. The key here is copy edit. We examine a writer’s work line-by-line and by using tracked changes and comments suggest changes at a sentence level. It is not uncommon for a typical novel to have 1000s of individual suggestions for changes. This is very much a reflection of the type of editing that a ‘professional publisher’ would provide. In fact, we do provide exactly this service for a number of professional publishers.
    Cornerstones don’t do this. They are not the same product. They provide ‘editorial feedback.’ In fact, in a recent discussion with Helen at Cornerstones we did express a concern that some writers failed to understand that we offer two very different products. I suspect this is a failing on the part of myself and Helen, and it is something I will re-visit with her next time we speak.
    I am hurt and very worried that a ‘trusted friend’ would give advice without understanding this huge difference in the products. Though, to be fair, they do try to back pedal a bit.
    I would also add that we do offer a money back promise. If the writer we edited would like to contact me directly I will be happy to see what I can do to help her out.
    Incidentally, I would love to know what a FULL Edit was?
    I have been told that they don't turn down any work at all. That worries me because it implies that they are taking money to edit books which have no chance of being worked up to a publishable standard. So long as they make this clear to the writers they work with that would be acceptable but as far as I know they don't.
    We don’t turn writers away for one reason - What gives us the right to decide what work is good and what work is bad? Add to this the fact that 50% of our clients are self-publishing, and you can see why the idea of turning away writers looking for help is not the best approach for them. Our service is designed to improve a writer’s work and lift it to a more publishable level. The idea that an editorial company should act as a ‘gatekeeper’ is both offensive and out dated.
    I hope I have not come off as too pushy (though I suspect I may have), but I do believe we have the best product on the market. I know that every writer we help comes away with a better book. To have an ‘anonymous friend’ attack the hard work and value our editors provide to writers is both personally hurtful and unprofessional.
    My personal email is garysmailes@bubblecow.co.uk. If you wish to take up any points please do email me directly.
    Oh yeah, and please excuse any typos!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbleCow View Post
    Hi All,
    Bubblecow edited the novel of a friend of mine and they did give her helpful advice. But she also paid Cornerstones to edit her novel and when she compared the two reports, Cornerstones left Bubblecow standing. Cornerstones's report was much more detailed, more insightful, and more broad-ranging, and went into much more depth than the one from Bubblecow which was more of a copy edit than a full edit, although as I pointed out to her after I'd looked at Bubblecow's website they do only offer copy editing services, and not full edits. I think they might be confused about what copy editing means.
    Our copy editing includes a brief reader’s report and a detailed copy edit. The key here is copy edit. We examine a writer’s work line-by-line and by using tracked changes and comments suggest changes at a sentence level. It is not uncommon for a typical novel to have 1000s of individual suggestions for changes. This is very much a reflection of the type of editing that a ‘professional publisher’ would provide. In fact, we do provide exactly this service for a number of professional publishers.
    Cornerstones don’t do this. They are not the same product. They provide ‘editorial feedback.’
    I'm a little unclear on this because in looking at both sites, it appears as though you and Cornerstones do provide the same exact services. Since I am a bit muddy on this, can you explain what services you provide that Cornerstones doesn't?

  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Updating URL: http://bubblecow.com/
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