Tuesday, April 17, 2018

O = Offering "Exposure" Is Insulting

Welcome, A to Z bloggers, visitors, and of course all my faithful regular readers! This year's theme for my A to Z:
Short & Sweet Reasons Why You Need an Editor

So without further ado . . .

Offering anything other than money for a professional to edit your manuscript is insulting. I’m just going to put that right up front and add that this post is dead serious, no joking, no snark. 

The reason your work needs a professional editor and not “a good looking-over” by your next-door neighbor is because we are . . . professionals, trained in a specialty skill that requires strict attention to detail. We, like all who work, do it to pay our bills. To buy groceries. Offering “a share of royalties” or “exposure” is not only impractical, it’s astoundingly insulting. Your doctor doesn’t want you to spread the good word of how well he did your surgery; he wants you to pay your medical bill. 

 I’ll put it in practical terms: it takes me roughly 60–100 hours (sometimes more) to copyedit a book, depending on the level of editing needed. If you were to walk into your workplace tomorrow morning and your boss asked you to work the next week or two without a paycheck, would you say yes? What if he promised to tell everyone that your work was exemplary? 

If you have ever done this to an editor, or are considering it, please stop immediately. Exposure bucks are not accepted in the marketplace.

12 comments:

  1. Abso****inglutely! It works both ways, too. I've been "offered" the "exposure" of placing a story in an anthology without pay for an editor who fully intended to keep all the royalties. I can't think of another field off the top of my head, where people will routinely ask each other for free work with a straight face and nary a wink nor a smile, and it really, seriously, needs to stop. I think if anyone realized what a total prat it makes them look like when they do that, that would be enough to rein in most of it.

    Oh, for the record, I am not referring to the anthology I donated a story to from which all the proceeds go to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund.

    Best of luck with these freeloaders!

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    1. One of the professional editors in a group I'm part of said she'd sent her invoice to someone and he ignored it. When she resent it after a week had passed, he sent back an "lol" as his reply. She followed up, of course, to see what was so funny, and he said he thought SHE was the one who was joking. Further investigation revealed that he'd hired a freelancer because he thought the services were free. UGH.

      As a musician, I've been on the receiving end of the "exposure bucks" more times than I can count. "Will you take less than the agreed-upon price, even though you've already played four hours as planned, and the crowd is happy?" Grrrr, don't get me started.

      Donating services is a whole different animal, and I'm all for that when the occasion calls for it. I've done a few books free of charge when I knew I could afford to and the author had promise.

      I think some people don't stop to think that it's not like we're reading for fun. We're actually working, and doggone hard at it, too, sometimes.

      Delete
  2. I charge $1200.00 an hour for my time, and I can give you a maximum of ONE at a time.

    I am chronically ill and disabled, but can arrange things like meds, resting, and freedom from other tasks so as to focus on giving you that ONE hour with me, in person or Skype, occasionally.

    No one has taken me up on my offer - not surprisingly. But telling people that will make them realize the cost to me of what they don't value, something written for them.

    As a special, high level reward on Patreon (for the book I'm writing - first chapter free), I am offering 15 min. for $300 - with the caveat that it will make writing impossible for that day.

    I'll be very surprised if someone takes me up on that reward, but I am deadly serious.

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    1. At least you know what your time is worth, Alicia. You never know; someday someone may fork over that $300!

      Delete
  3. Some think just because they know you that you'll give them services for free or super discounted. Which is indeed rude.

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    1. Acquaintances who expect it are bad enough, and fortunately most of my friends recognize the value of the work. What gets me are the people who don't know me and still try to bully me into lowering the cost of edits. I just never quite know how to react to that.

      Delete
  4. Hi Lynda - so wise ... people don't understand, or are selfish, or silly ... and it doesn't help anyone - take care - cheers Hilary

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    1. Sometimes it's ignorance, and sometimes it's just someone trying to be cheap. The ones who speak from ignorance are usually understanding when I explain the finanancial facts, but the cheapos . . . well, there's no salvaging that one.

      Delete
  5. It never occurred to me that people try this s*** with editors. I know of websites and magazines that try the "exposure" bit on writers, and those who promise writers nothing up front but royalties "if it sells." And of course, there are more times than I can count when someone has said "Oh, you're a writer? People are always telling me my life is so interesting it should be a book. I can't pay anything up front, but if you'll help me write it, I'll split the money 50-50 with you when it's published." "Riiiiiight. And who's going to pay my bills while I'm doing nothing but working on your book? And what if it sells poorly, or doesn't sell at all (to a publisher)? Tell you what: You give me [a reasonable amount] now, and when it makes all those zillions for you later, you can keep it all! Think of how much more you'll make!"

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    1. Uggghhh. There is something about creative jobs that makes people think we don't care if we're paid because we happen to like what we do. I had an author assume (not offer) that I'd be paid with a share of the profits when the book got published. I took the time to outline the exact profits per $2.99 ebook sale, and how many books it would take before I'd come out even.

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  6. Oh my goodness . . . I still remember your one situation with this very issue lol. I was so insulted on your behalf. NOW, if it's say . . . Stephen King offering to expose your name as his editor, I say go for it. In fact, I'll be mad if you turned him down. (One book though, since his are super long lol).

    I really have to believe those who offer this are completely unaware of how much work and time editors put into getting their books ready and/or absolutely believe they only need a tweak or two, so it's no big deal. Even so, it's not all right. But man, ignorance is bliss lol

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    1. Well . . . Stephen King (your alter ego, as I recall) could have me for a book and no more. I wouldn't want to overexpose myself, you know.

      And I remember you hanging in there with me when I struggled with this issue. You were ready to step right in there and go to bat for me. Thankfully, due to your reminders of what the work and time were worth, I've gotten pretty solid about it over the years. I'll always try to work with someone's budget, but I'm not going to be a sucker for a stranger.

      As I said in some of the comments, too, I'm astounded at the number of people who will ask or even demand this of a complete stranger. There are no boundaries that some people won't cross, I suppose.

      Delete

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