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so that's done
sunday, december 8, 2013

it's hard to believe this year is almost over. what the heck happened to it? i'm trying to figure out where the time went, why i updated whysper so seldom, and why 100 other things just seemed to fall by the wayside this year, and i just can't wrap my head around it. things were pretty stable, we even went to dragon*con (which i never wrote that update for)! which is not to say there weren't bumps (stupid car, for one), just they weren't generally so major that our lives were completely turned upside down or our finances hit the toilet. i know one time sink has been the exercise, which is a necessary one, and i started working on cupcakes late in the year with the goal of opening a cottage industry (not sure how we're going to manage that at the moment since there are issues in an apartment that make it hard for it to pass inspection, should there be one, but it's still a goal/plan). then there was the editing "job" which is now no more.

oh the press is still around, much to my dismay (not because i dislike small presses, but small presses who put out books that are no better than 90% of the self-pubbed stuff annoy the crap out of me), but i've turned in the last manuscript i had for them. i actually turned in my notice last month, telling them i would finish this one then i was done.

i actually had hopes for the job. i always try to assume that a press, small or large, will pick quality work and want to put out quality work. so far in my experience, not so much. the first one i worked for was only marginally better than this last one. the one in the middle only did so because we had a team who had to agree on submissions and we all were writers with high expectations of the work we wanted to put out (that press folded more because the owner dropped the ball so deep, it couldn't be found again). this one paid what any editor for small presses would see as a fantastic rate: most pay a small royalty only; this one paid a flat rate plus royalty. which ends up being a good thing when the royalties amount to crap. and because i'm an experienced editor, i was paid more than the other editors.

but really, none of that means anything when all the owner was looking at was whether or not she liked the story. the actual quality of writing was lost on her. and i knew my days with them were numbered after two events in particular:

she reassigned the novel written by an author who couldn't be bothered to check to make sure the words she used meant what she thought they meant. the book had huge problems with both the bigger things (plot, character, and suspension of disbelief issues in particular) and smaller things (including tossing words in that may have sounded right but made the sentences nonsensical). that author returned the book to me two weeks after i sent her the first round edits, and i knew it was still a mess. larger issues like that don't get solved in two weeks. and while it had improved, a lot of the problems remained, so the next round of edits were as bad as the first, and the author went to the publisher and said she was "losing all hope," and the publisher reassigned the novel to "keep the author happy" (direct quote). this told me quality wasn't a priority for this press.

and most of the next few manuscripts she sent me pretty much proved that.

the second one was a book i proofed (final technical edits) where the science was completely wrong. i'm not a big science girl, but if i know what was going on was not possible, then there are other non-science people who would know it as well. i made a note of this in my e-mail to the publisher. the book was published on time as is anyway. and was the last one i ever sent the publisher notes on in the e-mail because why bother if you're not going to be listened to for a major plot point problem?

it became obvious that all this press wanted to do was pump out books without any regard to whether or not they were actually any good. i couldn't be proud of the work they'd put out with my name on it as editor because everything was so bad and neither the authors nor the press wanted to work to make it any better (with one exception, and she was an author who subbed there because she wanted me to edit her work). and the work became depressingly hard to do. i thought i actually was given another gem in all the drek at one point, but after i pointed out a few larger things, the author completely rewrote it and the rewrite was nowhere near the quality of the original manuscript (which tells me she probably had an editor help with shaping up the first version before submitting it).

you want to talk about losing all hope? this job paid shit to begin with, and the work itself was such crap that all i wanted to do was cry in some dark corner. i could barely get through half a dozen pages at a time because it was so bad. not just punctuation issues, which i could have lived with, but stories that were poorly plotted and even more poorly written. i will never understand how the publisher thought they were any good. i understand even less how any of them ever sold anything more than the review copies. (i understand even less the one reviewer who kept giving all these stories good reviews; i currently believe she was either the publisher under another name or a friend of the publisher or had some other relationship with the publisher that made it so writing a review that was honest about how poorly written these things were was more problematic than saying the books were good when they weren't.)

and by the time i gave my notice, it was becoming obvious the publisher was rethinking my employment even though she'd not said anything to me. royalties went out to authors twice, but i didn't even see a statement. e-mails were going unanswered. new books were not being assigned (thank god, actually). it was bad enough i was getting shit books to edit, that the publisher didn't care if the books were well-written and well-edited, but now she was dropping any resemblance of professionalism as well.

i was done.

i returned the bait and switch manuscript back to that author with a note that i was leaving the press; and e-mailed the owner that i would finish the one good book i still had then would be resigning. the job didn't pay enough to feel like i was really losing anything ($80 every 3 or 4 months? for 20 hours a week of work minimum? yea, no, not enough to feel any loss over).

and now the last book is in. i'm officially done. i have some of that time suck back. not all of it, especially if we manage to pull off the baking thing, but it's something. i'm not completely against doing editing in the future, i just won't be working for any small presses. i'm more than open to editing for friends who's work i like and can have fun editing. and a friend and i are considering creating a publishing co-op, which would have me editing her work and maybe the work of other authors we bring in. but for now, it's done, and the time is mine.

and i'm going to enjoy it.


word of the moment: edental
having few if any teeth; belonging to the order Edentata, which includes anteaters, sloths, and armadillos

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