May 062014

Jolana Malkston 4I found a very intriguing email in my inbox about two weeks ago. A member writer posted a notice to our chapter list serve about a small romance press that needed additional editors.

Hmmm…The prospect piqued my curiosity. I took an editing course as a college undergrad, and I edited for an educational book publisher several years ago.

Hmmm…I wouldn’t mind making a few extra dollars while turning old and gray waiting for the publishing world to discover me.

Hmmm…Surely, it can’t hurt to look into becoming an editor—except for one sticky little detail. Becoming an editor means turning on my own kind, becoming every writer’s nemesis, and crossing over to the dark side. What would my writing buds think of me?

My curiosity, and my lust for a paycheck, got the better of my conscience. I went to the publisher’s Facebook page, and I responded to the “editors needed” post indicating my interest.

The publisher’s speedy email reply was two single-spaced pages long. It contained detailed information about the publishing house, the romance sub-genres it publishes, what it requires of its editors, its editorial pay scale, and its three-part application process. If I was still interested, the publisher instructed me to begin the application process by completing and returning an attached editing test. The test contained plot holes, content conflict/errors, POV issues, errors in grammar and punctuation, and then some.

Oh, heck. In that post about needing editors, nobody mentioned anything about having to take a test. Darn. I don’t particularly like tests. I didn’t test well as a student. Taking tests stressed me. I was more of a post-test genius. I remembered all the answers I couldn’t think of only after the instructor collected our test papers.

Oh, well. I suppose I could have decided not to take the editing test, but there was that prospective paycheck to consider. I clicked on the attachment, opened the doc file and read the test manuscript.

Oh, dear. It wasn’t a test. It was a minefield within an obstacle course within a maze. I read through it again to make certain my eyes hadn’t played tricks on me.

Oh, shoot. They hadn’t. [sigh] When I proofread, I find that errors are more visible on a printed page than on a computer monitor. I printed the ten-page test to get a better look at it before I completed the test in a Word document.

Oh, wow. Errors peppered the manuscript, and some were downright devious and not all that easy to detect. I’m convinced that the test’s creator has a mean streak at least a mile wide. I scoured the manuscript for hours. Every time I was sure that I found the very last error, I read through the test again only to discover that I missed yet another.

Oh. My. God. My eyes begged for mercy. My eyes and I developed renewed respect for editors who possess the patience and tireless dedication needed for finding and polishing literary diamonds in the rough. If I pass the editing test, I would be proud to join their ranks.

I sent in the completed test, and I am waiting to hear back. I don’t have a good feeling about passing. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t test well. I must catch and correct more than 75% of the errors in the manuscript to pass the editing test, and I must pass the editing test in order to advance to part two of the application process.

Wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it, because I consider myself fortunate to catch 75% of the errors in my own manuscripts. 😉

  8 Responses to “Crossing Over to the Dark Side—Maybe, Maybe Not”

  1. I am sure you did great! I know seeing our own errors is harder than finding them in other people’s work. Keep us updated and I will keep my fingers crossed!!

  2. Do let us know how this develops. In Florida I belong to a writers’ critique group that has between 6-8 regulars who go over the 2 or 3 submissions for a particular meeting. I’m always amazed by the number of errors I DIDN”T find in a piece (that others found and comment on). Good luck. Knowing you, you’ll be on to part two of the exam in no time.

  3. I always felt I had gone over to the dark side while I was a book merchandiser. You know, stripping all those covers. Rather made me wonder if I would be forever cursed.
    I think you would make an excellent editor. Good luck!

  4. Good luck. I’m sure you did great. You’ve certainly caught enough of my errors. 🙂

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