Would an editor decline a job that is 'too polished' already?'

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Woollybear

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I've requested quotes on Reedsy toward self publishing. Several are good and I am already learning the ropes about this stage of the process.

One editor responded with "I prefer projects that need more work than your sample pages indicate." Basically--editor declined the request/gave no quote on the basis that there wasn't much to sink teeth into, edit wise.

Is this a thing? That pages in good shape are something a person would decline to work on? (I can sort of imagine it, but the other hand... I would have thought an easy job would be a welcome project.)

I'm hoping for some editor insight here. Is the joy of editing making a difference in a project? It was so unexpected and I hadn't heard of this in the past.
 
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PostHuman

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How large was the sample? A response like that makes me wonder whether that particular editor is more focused on fixing small problems compared to larger story issues.
 

Introversion

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One editor responded with "I prefer projects that need more work than your sample pages indicate." Basically--editor declined the request/gave no quote on the basis that there wasn't much to sink teeth into, edit wise.

There are different kinds of editing. Developmental editing serves a quite different purpose than line editing. What kind of editing were you hoping to hire? Is it perhaps not what that editor typically does?
 

Woollybear

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It was a ten page sample and I am casting about specifically for copy editing prior to formatting and self publishing.

(I contracted for developmental editing last fall toward increasing my chances of getting requests from agents and so on. It seemed to help a bit.)

On reedsy, an editor can indicate their editorial services and I filtered for SFF copy editors, many of whom do additional kinds of editing.
 
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Introversion

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It was a ten page sample and I am casting about specifically for copy editing prior to formatting and self publishing.

Well, if the sample really doesn't need editing, then I guess that was an honest editor? :Shrug:
 

Woollybear

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LOL Yes. I suppose. We could assume honesty. LOL.

Hubby and I brainstormed and the best I could come up with was that s/he'd rather spend, say, 10 days on a developmental plus copy edit for a couple K rather than a few days on copy-editing something for less. I mean, I dunno. Maybe some editors would rather have developmental oversight before signing off on a clean copy.

(Or honesty.)
 

Introversion

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Was the 10-page sample a free "try my service" edit? If it was, and they really didn't think they could improve on your work, then I guess I'd assume good intentions. I mean, some people really are honest.
 

Woollybear

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It was for them to provide a quote, and then I subsequently asked for sample edits so that I could find the person whose ear best matches my own.

The rhythm's important, but that's not part of the AP style guide as far as I can tell.

Thank you, Introversion. I appreciate your thoughts.
 

cornflake

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I read the OP and wondered what kind of editing you're after.

If you're looking for copy-editing and the sample is legitimately clean, it sounds like an honest editor who isn't interested in your thing, for whatever reason (she could legit prefer things that need a lot of help, or she may not have felt your book was one she wanted to spend that much time with [which I don't mean as a knock, people have preferences and if someone can't stand fantasy, never reads it, rolls eyes at elves, they may know they wouldn't be the best person to edit a high fantasy epic, because it's just harder to concentrate on.]).

I would have probably said (if your sample doesn't need a lot, I dunno) your sample was very clean and I wasn't sure how much help the full would need. Some people tend toward polishing the heck out of the opening, leaving the rest more problematic, but some people just write very clean copy, and/or are good self-editors. Everyone needs editing, even editors, but the level to which they do varies. I've certainly told people they're in good shape and may not want to spend the $, or, alternately, in shape that's not ready for outside help.
 
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Earthling

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I edit for a day job and it's pretty dull copy-editing something with very few mistakes. You have to be careful not to get bogged down in enjoying the story, because that makes you more likely to miss errors, and having to concentrate hard for 80,000+ words without the satisfaction of making it cleaner is... not fun!
 

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I have a little question as I am comparing the bids and sample edits that I got.

One editor changed the was to were in the following sentence:

Nearby, a pair of councilors was discussing trade.

I thought since pair is singular the verb should be was. I'm wondering if that sort of change is acceptable according to style manuals under an argument that pair implies two, thus plural.

?

If I didn't like the sample edit otherwise, I'd just move along, but I gotta say I like how this person works for a few reasons. She has a good ear. Some of her suggestions are clear improvements. So--should that sort of change (pair was to pair were) be any kind of red flag to me? (or is it acceptable to use were when the noun is something that implies two)? I will be trusting the hired editor to get it right, and I won't necessarily catch mistakes. I'd hate for mistakes to be introduced as a result of this process.
 
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Bufty

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I'd use 'were' because each of the two individuals (in the 'pair' of) is involved/discussing. A discussion involves at least two (councillors).


A pair of trousers is singular and would attract a singular verb.

A pair of councillors is plural, hence the 'were'.
 
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Lakey

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I might rewrite it as "a pair of councilors discussed..." because regardless of whether I think "was" or "were" is correct, the fact that reasonable minds disagree means either choice risks sounding awkward to some readers.

(Also because I tend to use progressive tense too often and I'm training myself to at least consider the simple past every time I come across an instance of it.)

:e2coffee:
 

Woollybear

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That's a good point. I was going for 'the conversation was proceeding throughout this time' but you're right.
 

Bufty

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That's a good point. I was going for 'the conversation was proceeding throughout this time' but you're right.

'discussed' would mean that, too.
 

Woollybear

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Technically, to me, discussed was a thing that happened (and is now finished and done with), whereas were discussing (was discussing) is ongoing.

Basically, the character is eavesdropping for a paragraph.

But I understand that in context it works, and maybe any of those work equally well.
 

PostHuman

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"a pair was discussing" sounds more correct to my non-editor ears than "a pair were discussing"

"a pair of shoes was returned to the store" "that pair of socks is worn down to the threads" "a group of senators opposes the bill" etc

EDIT: after googling, seems a bit more common in the UK to use plural verbs with collective nouns. In American usage it is considered a way to emphasize the individuality of the members (the school board are in disagreement about the budget), so the editor's note makes sense for example if the pair are debating some trade policy internally. As Lakey mentioned though maybe some other term might flow better for the reader
 
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Fuchsia Groan

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Just a note on your example: According to the style guide I prefer to use, “A pair” takes a plural verb while “THE pair” takes a singular verb. It depends on the article. The proofreaders at my workplace think both should be singular. So I guess there’s disagreement, but that edit isn’t out of left field.
 

Set2Stun

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(I contracted for developmental editing last fall toward increasing my chances of getting requests from agents and so on. It seemed to help a bit.)
For what it's worth, I'm on Team Were :D

I don't mean to pry, but I noticed this comment and was hoping you might be willing to expand on it a bit. What sorts of things were reviewed during the developmental edit, and how was it helpful to you?
 

Woollybear

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For what it's worth, I'm on Team Were :D

I don't mean to pry, but I noticed this comment and was hoping you might be willing to expand on it a bit. What sorts of things were reviewed during the developmental edit, and how was it helpful to you?
Team Were? :)

Um, in that 2019 case, she made sure the dots connected from one part of the novel to another. She didn't re-shape the novel at all, but she did say what made sense and what didn't, which was helpful.

I think it'll be really individual in the end. Each writer has a different approach, and to some extent editors have different approaches as well. I have a grasp of 3-acts and 15-beats so my overall broad strokes tend to be in place. It's the parts I brush over (because i don't feel like doing the work to make sure the reader sees all they need to see) that editors often help me with.
 
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Set2Stun

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Team Were? :)

Um, in that 2019 case, she made sure the dots connected from one part of the novel to another. She didn't re-shape the novel at all, but she did say what made sense and what didn't, which was helpful.

I think it'll be really individual in the end. Each writer has a different approach, and to some extent editors have different approaches as well. I have a grasp of 3-acts and 15-beats so my overall broad strokes tend to be in place. It's the parts I brush over (because i don't feel like doing the work to make sure the reader sees all they need to see) that editors often help me with.
Oh, for the "Team Were" thing, I was referencing this earlier post in the thread:

"One editor changed the was to were in the following sentence:

Nearby, a pair of councilors was discussing trade."

I take the were over the was. This might be a regional difference, since I've mostly read American/Canadian/UK prose, and that's what would feel right to me.
Thank you for the response. Subjectivity strikes again!
 
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This thread is from *2019*
 
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