Sunday, July 16, 2006

Zombie days

It's hot and about to get hotter and I'm going to venture out in an '88 candy apple red Mercury Cougar for the gay pride parade downtown but I'm still sitting here pondering what I've just done.


A writer with a novella that needs to be edited contacted several editors, me among them, and asked for resumes and references, which I promptly sent. She returned with a test. She wanted each of us to edit the first chapter of her novella as a test of our abilities, deciding from that which one she was going to hire. My first response was, "No way!"

I provided her with enough information to make her choice, including quotes and emails from references. I didn't give her the whole list, but enough to make an informed decision. I wrote and told her that I would not submit to a test and if she wanted a sample I would consider one page an adequate test, and one I was reluctant to do. I am a professional and my time is valuable.

I evidently wasn't the only one who questioned her test because I received one page this morning and an introduction to who she is, none of which I need or want to know. Sound callous? Probably. But I don't really care how many children she has, how many organizations she belongs to or how many articles she has written. All I want to know is if she wants to work with me or not.

After reading the first page of her steamy novella, I wonder if her credentials would bear checking out. I don't know about her nonfiction but her fiction basically sucks. It is the worst kind of amateurish pseudo-romance style formula I have ever seen.

And her grammar isn't good either.

For the last hour I edited that first page, wrote out a summary of what she should be doing with her book and a whole list of questions based on what little I have seen. That was $55 of my time for a job that seems more like a cheap way to get her book edited for free -- and against my better judgment. However, it's Sunday and I'm feeling generous.

The feelings of generosity have worn off and I have given her my professional opinion. Now I need to find some clean clothes and get dressed for the parade. Good thing we're standing in front of Poor Richard's where there is food and water and blessed air conditioning.

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