Thursday, October 10, 2013

When Good Feedback Goes Awry

This week, work has been a little wonky.

For the most part, since Tuesday, I've been working on doing an unsolicited edit on a manuscript which was sent in by one of our freelancers with a note that it had no errors needing to be fixed.

Since you've seen a number of the gems that have come in via the manuscripts I work with, you can only imagine that "no errors" kind of threw up some red flags for us in the editing office. But it was a second-round edit, so we figured it was possible.

Then we opened it. And there were obvious errors on the first page. In fact, by the time I was done today (luckily, it was a short manuscript), there were an average of 8 errors per page.

Now, that's not a lot. Especially when I went back and looked at the first round of editing, where there were an average of 40 errors per page. But some of the errors were just *so* obvious. There were errors where the editor had changed some wording in the first round, but had left in some of the erroneous piece. There were errors in spelling (family's was spelled families). And... well... there were some just plain "oopses."

But we've had a lot of great work from the editor, so we went for the benefit of the doubt, and put together an email to point out what was wrong, what should have been fixed, and things to look for in the next edit. After all, from what we could tell, this was obviously a good editor who had had a bad day.

About half an hour after that email was sent, though, we got a "thanks, but I'm done" email in response. It was accompanied by a claim of "I didn't know that was required..." (umm... yes... we require our editors to fix egregious spelling and grammar errors - it just seems better that way).

It's funny, sometimes, how well-intentioned emails can result in very odd... umm... results. It would be funnier if it didn't mean that her workload was landing on my desk this week.

No comments: