“My editor added several long, confusing words to my manuscript and I do NOT like it!”

“My editor added several long, confusing words to my manuscript and I do NOT like it!”

Q – 

I paid an editor more than a thousand dollars to edit my book manuscript. Rather than just correcting errors, she rewrote several sections. That would be alright, I guess, as long as the message didn’t change. However, she replaced a lot of my writing with long, confusing words. And, to be honest, I had to look some of them up. I think this “level” of writing is going to confuse my readers. It’s a how-to book, not an academic text.

Now that I’ve seen what she did, I think I’ll have to re-write what she re-wrote. Once I do that, it will need to be edited all over again and she wants to charge me for that.

What can I do?


A –

I can sympathize with your situation but I had the opposite problem. One of my books was published by a large traditional publisher. They insisted one of their editors edit my book. When the manuscript came back to me, it was FILLED with errors. I had to fix all of the mistakes, and send it back to them. The editor did another hack job after that, and then another. This went on for weeks. I finally insisted they not touch the final manuscript I sent to them. It was a NIGHTMARE.

For your situation, I recommend you first, check the contract you signed with the editor, as well as emails she sent when you were both discussing this project. If the service you purchased was simple proofreading, that’s what she should have done. If you purchased a substantive edit, which is more expensive, she may have thought that gave her license to rewrite parts of your manuscript. If you purchased “rewriting” services, that’s an even higher level but I’m sure you would have seen that word, and balked if you didn’t want that done.

If you feel she went overboard, and did more than you hired her to do, I would demand she start over, and proofread your manuscript only.

If, on the other hand, you didn’t understand how detailed the edit would be, yet that was part of the agreement, you’re likely stuck rewriting, and then having it edited all over again.

Some editors, even those who offer simple copyediting/proofreading, can’t help themselves when they see something that they believe they can make better. And, sometimes that changes the tone of the author’s book.

All authors hiring an editor should have a very detailed contract that lays out exactly what’s expected, and exactly what will and won’t be done.

I also agree with you that a non-academic audience is not going to appreciate complex words in a how-to book. Nothing interrupts a leisurely read faster than needing to open up a dictionary in the process.


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