Saturday, April 21, 2018

S = Scamming Editors Gets You Blacklisted

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 . . .

Scamming editors gets you blacklisted, just like the post title says.

Honest people may be stunned to hear this, but there are actually writers out there who try to scam the system to get free edits. How, you ask?

The writers contact a variety of professional editors from a particular group. They may approach members of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Society for Editors and Proofreaders, people on LinkedIn, or similar. They then ask for a free sample edit, which most will provide. However, these scammers will give a different portion of the work to each editor in the hopes that eventually, they’ll cover enough ground to get an entire book done, free of charge.

Unfortunately for them—as is the case with most petty thieves—they don’t realize how obvious they are. When red flags go up, editors talk to each other to see if anyone else has recently received a request from someone with the initials XYZ, and sure enough, at least a handful in the group have . . . all with the same suspicious email, evasive answers, and changing word count (to avoid suspicion, I suppose).

One editor told a group of us how an author kept changing his email address and the name of his characters to try to get different portions of the same book edited by her over the course of a year. Bad enough to try to scam her, but to think she was enough of an idiot not to recognize the same manuscript over and over? Almost laughable if it weren’t such a waste of time.

Don’t be “that” person whose name gets passed around as a “Do Not Respond” because you thought you could beat the system.

15 comments:

  1. This is simple common sense that has nothing to do with editors: You don't piss off people you need. Sad to hear that after thousands of years of civilization, people are still this stupid, arrogant, and self-centered. Must be a leftover survival skill that our closer-to-the cave brethren haven't dispensed with yet...

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    1. Put that effort into actually learning the craft and doing things right, and better results should follow! The amount of time and effort some people put into getting around the rules . . .

      Someone just contacted me last night, in fact, asking for free edits. Blatantly. Because I played dumb with the "I have been told by publishers that my book has potential but that it needs edits, which I can't afford," and asked for clarification as to whether the person wished to hire me or was asking for free edits. Her reply: Oh, I'm asking for free edits.

      I screenshotted the conversation (I was polite but firm in trying to make her understand exactly what she was asking) and will most likely use the exchange in a future post (name removed, of course).

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    2. No not a caveman skill. Stupid cavemen got dead quick. CaveMen had to work together to eat or not get eaten. No arrogance, stupidity, and self-centered behavior is an invention of modern society especially in the US

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  2. Hi Lynda - quite agree ... people are quite extraordinary with what they think they can get away with ... good to know they are picked up and other editors are advised - cheers Hilary

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    1. Every time I think I've heard it all, someone comes up with something new to cheat the system. I often think of how successful they'd be if they used all that energy to just do the job right.

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  3. I can see someone trying to do that. I'd think most people would send the first chapter and editors getting a later chapter would definitely have grounds for suspicion.

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    1. I've found that many editors (me included) will ask for a larger portion or even the entire manuscript, and will do a random sample from that. The first chapters (a.k.a. the "Look Inside" featured chapters) are usually more polished than the middle of the book, so the middle is a better representation of the level of work needed.

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  4. The whole point is that 'edit a manuscript' should be an editor-dependent result. I think a book edited in chunks by different editors would be almost unreadable, as the style would keep changing.

    Editing isn't the same as picking raisins out of a bowl of Raisin Bran: when the raisins are all removed, the bowl is raisin-free. Editors will differ on what is a raisin.

    Laughing at myself. After that paragraph, I had to go look up 'raisin,' because it looked wrong.

    If the Look Inside is the most polished part of the book, heaven help us with some of them!

    PS Never would have thought of 'Scamming the Editor' for the letter 's' - extra credit to the blogger.

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    1. I can't imagine having a bunch of different editors working on various book parts. What a mess!

      For what it's worth, "raisin" always looks wrong to me. And I once had to look up the word "majesty" to make sure it was a real word after editing a 100k fantasy about royalty.

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  5. Looking forward to that future post!

    Great idea about asking for "a larger portion or even the entire manuscript".

    Hey, is it okay if I try going into a restaurant and saying "Hi. I have absolutely no money, but I'm really hungry. Will you feed me?"

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    1. Each time I see another editor talking about someone attempting to scam, I think, "I really need to write that post." It may end up being my first one after the A to Z is over.

      I used to just take whatever portion of the manuscript an author sent for a sample edit, but learned (after being burned twice) that there are manuscripts that seem to degrade after the third chapter. Either tiredness on the part of the author, or working harder on that "big opening" bit . . . I'm not sure, but it holds true for the majority of manuscripts.

      The person who hit me up last night was surprised when I asked if she was giving all her books away once they were published, or if she planned on selling them. I'm sure you know where this is going.

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    2. Ha. What a great question to ask her!

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    3. Not gonna lie, I felt pretty clever when I typed it, haha. I was polite but I did educate her a bit before I wished her well. I also told her I was trying to enlighten her before she approached someone who may not respond as kindly as I did.

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  6. Writers try to scam editors? Oh no!!
    I'm sure one of the reasons is the sheer desperation of wanting to become a published author but not wanting to put in the time and hard work required.
    You probably have some scary tales to tell... am I right?

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    1. Honestly, I'm amazed at how often it happens. I do have scary stories to tell, whether it has been someone contacting me or stories I've heard in abundance from others. Some of those are future blog posts.

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