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[Editing] Donna L. Ferrier

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

b_radom

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I'm not as good at spotting red flags as some of the people on here. Is it worth my time to contact Donna Ferrier to ask about paid editing services for my novel?

I only ask because she offers a lot of unsolicited advice referring people to specific companies, and if anyone has ever had a bad experience with her, I'd like to know.
 

Unimportant

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It looks like all of her clients have gone on to self-publish or vanity-publish, which to me isn't much of a recommendation.
 

b_radom

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Unfortunately, with all my bad queries and worse decision-making, that might be the only option left to me...
It's a fact that self-published authors do better if they have their books edited. But there are also a lot of bad editors out there. So far, she seems more legitimate than most, at least in terms of how she operates.
 

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It looks like all of her clients have gone on to self-publish or vanity-publish, which to me isn't much of a recommendation.

Nevertheless, if you're planning to self-publish you really do want to have your book edited -- and authors are notoriously bad at editing their own books.
 

Unimportant

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Nevertheless, if you're planning to self-publish you really do want to have your book edited -- and authors are notoriously bad at editing their own books.
True enough.

But this example suggests Ms Ferrier doesn't have the skills to competently edit fiction at the structural or prose level.


“Yes, doctor,” as she obeyed his command.

 

aliceshortcake

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Oh, dear! If I picked up the book from which this extract came I'd immediately identify it as being vanity or self published:


For the moment at least, he was in and out of consciousness, possibly even for days.


Detective Kowalski looked the doctor straight in the eye, and with serious certainty said, "Dr. Franken, I have some information about the auto accident that I need to discuss with you."

“The fatality that has come into your custody was a direct result of a homicide. At first we thought it was an accident," he stated to Evan, reluctantly.

In the distance, his headlamps shined onto the memorial erected for young Nathaniel.


But over the past few years, traveling this part of Route 93, sent shivers down one’s spine, because so many accidents had occurred that memorials were beginning to cover the roadway.

This doesn't look like the work of a professional editor.
 

b_radom

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I'm kind of embarrassed I missed those. Oh, well. The search continues.

(luckily, I have a little more help than a search engine this time -- I'm so embarrassed)
 

EMaree

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Thanks for those examples, aliceshortcake, it's always educational to see mistakes highlighted.
 

aliceshortcake

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I find it hilarious that Ferrier gives the following advice...

If you’re writing a book for self-publishing, the editor and publisher can be the same person or company. Some companies, though, do not offer editing services and will instruct you to get the help of an outside editor before turning the manuscript over for layout and publishing.

Other companies, unfortunately, lie and say, “We edit your book,” but actually just run the book through a glorified grammar checker, or a person who’s only looking for minor typos and grammatical errors, and don’t do any real content editing. A lot of self-publishing companies that have “assembly line” kind of operations where they’re trying to crank out thousands of books cheaply run their businesses this way. I’ve received more than my share of phone calls from people who say, “This company didn’t edit my book at all and now it’s ruined,” or “I have to get my book done all over again because X Company ruined it, but I don’t have any money left.” Check out the page titled, Don’t Get Ripped Off!

...and the novel from which the sample extract came was published by...PublishAmerica!
 
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Maryn

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James Macdonald may be reluctant to direct you to scroll to the bottom of this page for Dr. Doyle's editing services, since he's married to Dr. Doyle. I have not used her services myself, but everything I hear suggests that they're first-rate.

Not that she's the only qualified person you might find by asking around here, but she's most certainly among those you should consider.

Maryn, helpful type
 

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While I'm wincing at the examples of writing supplied I have to point out that a good editor only makes suggestions for improvement: it's up to the writer to execute those suggestions and a poor result doesn't always demonstrate an editor's lack of ability.

That doesn't mean that the editor under discussion is necessarily blameless here.

And I second the recommendation to consider Dr Doyle.
 

shadowwalker

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While I'm wincing at the examples of writing supplied I have to point out that a good editor only makes suggestions for improvement: it's up to the writer to execute those suggestions and a poor result doesn't always demonstrate an editor's lack of ability.

That doesn't mean that the editor under discussion is necessarily blameless here.

Did she actually list this somewhere as an example of her work? I couldn't find it via her website. If she did, then I can only assume she thinks it's a good job.
 

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Note that unless you're asking for copy editing, a five-page sample isn't going to show you what the editor is really capable of. A proper edit should address the big stuff, like story arc, plot holes, and character development, which won't show up in so few pages: but it does give you an idea of how the editor interracts with her potential clients and if you can deal with that.

Bear in mind also that if an editor is touting for work that five page sample might well spend more time stroking your ego than it should. A better test for an editor is whether she's edited books you've heard of in your genre, or books which have won prizes or sold well; and if she's edited books you like. If her work is all on books you can't abide then you might not share a vision for how books should work, or where yours should go.
 

aliceshortcake

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Did she actually list this somewhere as an example of her work? I couldn't find it via her website. If she did, then I can only assume she thinks it's a good job.

Yes, it was on the website on the 'Donna's Porfolio' page as an example of her fiction editing. It seems to have been removed (I wonder why?!) but the link in Unimportant's post still works. All you'll find there now is:

Book Editing and Publishing
Please see the Amazon sidebar on the right.

A typo in the title of one of her own web articles doesn't inspire much confidence either:


To be fair, the mistake isn't repeated in the article itself!
 

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I don't know about you but I always wear my headscarf on the Easter weekend. Especially on the Saturday and Sunday.
 

scorpiodragon

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It looks like all of her clients have gone on to self-publish or vanity-publish, which to me isn't much of a recommendation.

Ferrier may have edited a number of books with authors who chose to go the self-publishing route but how does that reflect negatively on her when it isn't her decision whether a writer goes the traditional, vanity or self-pub route.

Writers who want to self-pub are always told how they have to do all the quality control themselves and part of that is hiring an editor. Now the quality of the edits is another thing but why is it bad that many of her fiction clients are self-pubbed?
 

Unimportant

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but the link in Unimportant's post still works.
It doesn't work now.

Now the quality of the edits is another thing but why is it bad that many of her fiction clients are self-pubbed?
It's an absence of information. Can she edit fiction well enough that the book will entice an editor? We have no evidence that she can, because she does not list any books that she's edited and that have gone on to be commercially published. Can she edit fiction well enough that the book will entice a reader? We have no evidence that she can, because all the books she lists that she's edited have been self published and have pretty much zero sales on Amazon. Can she edit fiction well enough that the book would entice me as a reader? We have no evidence that she can, because all the books she lists that she's edited have been self published and Amazon has no 'look inside' feature for them' so I can't assess any of them.

The only evidence we do have is the one edited sample of (appallingly bad) fiction that was on her website -- which she has removed in the past day since it was cited here. A typo in the title of her "Middle Eastern Women" article -- which has been corrected in the past day since it was cited here. Her website no longer lists any mention of fiction editing at all: all the examples are now non-fiction, copyediting and proofreading.
 
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scorpiodragon

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It's an absence of information. Can she edit fiction well enough that the book will entice an editor? We have no evidence that she can, because she does not list any books that she's edited and that have gone on to be commercially published. Can she edit fiction well enough that the book will entice a reader? We have no evidence that she can, because all the books she lists that she's edited have been self published and have pretty much zero sales on Amazon. Can she edit fiction well enough that the book would entice me as a reader? We have no evidence that she can, because all the books she lists that she's edited have been self published and Amazon has no 'look inside' feature for them' so I can't assess any of them.

Hi Unimportant,

Thank you for explaining. :)
 

LindsayM

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I'm not as good at spotting red flags as some of the people on here. Is it worth my time to contact Donna Ferrier to ask about paid editing services for my novel?

I only ask because she offers a lot of unsolicited advice referring people to specific companies, and if anyone has ever had a bad experience with her, I'd like to know.

If you're going to self-publish, yes, I strongly recommend hiring a professional editor, at least for a copy edit. There are a few of us who are part of AW (Bev Katz Rosenbaum is a great one just off the top of my head).

But, DO YOUR RESEARCH! As others have pointed out, there are some problems with Donna's website. I wrote a blog post about picking an editor about a billion years ago - hope it helps: http://www.murdockediting.com/2009/...n-youre-expecting-to-hire-an-editor-part-iii/
 

michael_b

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Note that unless you're asking for copy editing, a five-page sample isn't going to show you what the editor is really capable of. A proper edit should address the big stuff, like story arc, plot holes, and character development, which won't show up in so few pages: but it does give you an idea of how the editor interracts with her potential clients and if you can deal with that.

Bear in mind also that if an editor is touting for work that five page sample might well spend more time stroking your ego than it should. A better test for an editor is whether she's edited books you've heard of in your genre, or books which have won prizes or sold well; and if she's edited books you like. If her work is all on books you can't abide then you might not share a vision for how books should work, or where yours should go.

This is why I'm considering sending her the five pages: To find out what, if anything, she does regarding sentence structure, ego stroking, etc.
 

GlendaAdkins

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Hi Folks. I don't have a lot of time for posting to forums, but I saw this and felt I had to respond, if for no other reason than to protect Donna Ferrier's stellar reputation, which she's obviously earned from her clients (obvious to me anyway). You all couldn't be more wrong about Donna. Donna goes out of her way to make people happy with her work, and address whatever issues need addressing. I realize this is a two-year-old thread, but if you all had questions, you should have contacted her and asked her instead of sitting here speculating in the dark. You all are the ones with the absence of information, not her or her website. She's more than happy to answer any questions openly and honestly. Her efforts on her clients' behalf have obviously paid off since she edits full time, and has for years. -- Glen
 

Maryn

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Glen, I'm afraid one glowing recommendation isn't likely to change my mind, especially coming from a stranger whose only post is this one.

I'm glad you're satisfied--it'd be pretty mean spirited to be otherwise--but that doesn't negate the objections raised in this thread, whether they're two years old or recent.

Personally, I see red flags any time a professional person doesn't spring for a pro email but uses AOL, as Ms. Ferrier does. At her website just now, the testimonials and profiles links from the text of her main page are both dead (although they can be accessed elsewhere on the page), which is also pretty unprofessional. As is the art.

Sorry to have remained unconvinced, but that's how it sometimes goes.

Maryn, wishing you well
 

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Since Glenda Adkins saw fit to register multiple accounts under various names with other information except name and email, she isn't going to be posting here whether or not she uses aol or another email provider.

We're serious about the one account per member rule.
 

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