I peruse the Craigslist freelance postings on occasion and an ad for an editor caught my eye. At first, it sounded sincere and professional. Here was someone looking for an experienced editor to help him polish his writing.
But then I read the blurb and realized at once that this was a newbie. All the telltale signs were there. The characters were cliche, the premise was recycled, and the stakes were vague and decorated with equally nebulous adjectives.
I commend this author for wanting to get an honest appraisal, but it troubled me that he felt ready for an editor so early in the game. Judging from his blurb, he needed critique partners, not an editor.
Part of me wanted to write him and suggest he find a critique group first. But I was afraid he'd probably snarl at my insolence. Authors are inherently very protective of their work.
It's the same with cover artists, editors, and even agents. All of us have to start somewhere, but it shouldn't necessarily be front and center until we're ready for our closeups. There's no dishonor for starting at the bottom.
I don't blame the author of the Craigslist ad. I'm sure all of us have been in that position where we thought we were ready, only to find out later we weren't. It's just that in this day and age, it's hard for me to believe there are still people who don't take advantage of the many writing communities, classes, and agent blogs out there. You can't help but trip over all the resources available.
Much as I grouse about the internet, it's provided a wealth of education and experience, free for the searching.
Do you still run into people who seem clueless about this industry or do you think this was an isolated incident?
Is traditional publishing in the middle of another firestorm? It started with a cached post about an author at Harper Collins who disclosed the pitiful amount she earned. (Cached because she had to take it down from her blog within hours.)
The Passive Voice linked to it--but the kicker was when the CEO of Kensington, Steve Zacharius commented on the post, repeatedly trying to make his case.
It was then another author posted about his experience about the poor business practices applied by Kensington.
JA Konrath entered into the fray the other day when he answered some of the questions Kensington's CEO posed during his comment stream to indie authors.
It's a lot of reading, but some interesting insights from everyone involved.
Addendum: Harper Collins must have some clout. The link to the cached post has been pulled as well. I had sent the link to friends privately, but now I wish I had copied the post in its entirety. It was very revealing about the state of traditional publishing and how it treats its authors.
Addendum 2: Apparently, there's more than one way to skin a cat. I noticed that Feedly never updates (or deletes) a post once it's been published the first time. So I added Wendy Higgins's blog to my blog reader and there it was. You can only see it in the archive, but it's there. I don't know if other blog readers work this way, but Feedly does.