Consider yourself warned…

You know, on any given day when I’m reading a website, something for pleasure or editing, I can read a sentence wrong. Who knows why, but maybe I’ll switch words around or miss words that are there (the other day I substituted “merge” for “manage” in my head). Or maybe it’s not a sentence I’ve read wrong, but a mention of something, that I missed or read but didn’t register. When in edits, I’ll leave a comment for the author, requesting a fix or asking a question. When I’m wrong or I’ve missed it, they’re happy to point it out to me or go…huh? They like it when they can do that and I’m okay with it. It actually happens a time or two every manuscript. I strive for perfection *snort* but realize I’m just as human as the next person. I’m thinking I’ll hit perfection right around the same time I hit the lottery. And my guess is the lottery will come first. Wouldn’t that rock?

But there’s a new visitor to my blog who wants you all to be warned. So, uh, consider yourself warned. And you know, I totally feel her pain about that darn comment box causing her errors. I’m pretty sure the WordPress Dashboard is to blame for all of my blog errors too. Lesson of the day: It’s always someone (or something) else’s fault when it comes to your own errors. Everyone else is just doing a shoddy job. Unfortunately, you won’t get to experience the full joys of her critique of my “cute Web site” because she wrote it to me in a long and…um…interesting email that I don’t have permission to share with the world (you see how I can be discrete and all? Can I have a cookie?) but she does think you’re all paying me for my advice. Could someone direct me to the account that’s being deposited in, because I need a new wardrobe. Who needs the lottery?

But here’s my warning for you all: If you expected perfection from my BLOG you probably ought to seek another one to read. This is my personal blog, my stream of consciousness. It’s not the Samhain website or a blog I get paid to maintain or a manuscript I edited (though those often have errors too-even with three or four or ten people reading them–and THOSE are embarrassing). It’s my fun place. If you suck the fun out of it (or try to, at least) I will get cranky. Yeah, maybe I should take the high road but sometimes that’s just not possible, that whole perfection thing again. Maybe I should try harder. But in the meantime, I run spellcheck as I type (thank you, Firefox) but other than that I don’t sweat the missing words, misplaced punctuation or the misused English. The other day my friend Erin commented in a post about something I misused. She’s my friend, she can do that. We go out drinking together. If you can’t do it in a fun way, and if it’s unlikely we will ever go out drinking together, you don’t have that right.

And here’s the other thing: The only person allowed to be pretentious here with any regularity is me. Because it’s my blog. The rest of you with inclinations to be pretentious. Or pompous. Or any other “p” word. You all have the option of not reading my blog, and of going to your own blogs and acting however you like (but try not to land on Karen Scott’s “Behaving Badly” list because that’s just something you want to avoid at all costs. I have nightmares about it). I’ll make exceptions for visiting dignitaries and drinking buddies, but that’s it. Unless you want to help pay my hosting fees. Then we’ll talk.

Job frustration

I think I’ve mentioned on here before that hiring is probably my least favorite part of my job. I think I’m pretty good at it, as I’ve hired some kick ass editors and final line editors in the past year I’ve been doing hiring (of content editors, final line editors more recently), but I still don’t love it.

The reason is pretty simple: I get a huge amount of applicants (hundreds between content and final line editors) with a minority treating it as actually applying for a job. Too many applicants seem to think of it as a hobby and that’s a huge warning flag for me right there. If you can’t send a professional query letter when you’re applying for a job, how can I expect you to represent my company professionally? You wouldn’t believe some of the query letters I get. Some don’t even include a NAME.

Here are some examples, so you know I’m not making it up:

PLEASE EMAIL ME MORE INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS TYPE OF POSITION

That’s it. That’s the full letter. Pretty spiffy, eh?

I’m interested in learning more about the position of final line editor you have open as well as how to apply.
Thanks.

Again, no name. The letter could be worse but it’s no query letter.

would be interested in position as final line editor

thank you [name redacted]

Oh dear. No, I didn’t cut anything off when I copy and pasted. First I get one that only knows how to use capital letters, now I get one that doesn’t seem to know how to use them at all. Not really a great first impression when you’re applying for a job that requires an eye to detail. But hey! She included her name.

There are a lot more similar letters where those came from. They always make my eyes circle wildly in my head. Yeah, you’re picturing that, aren’t you?

The second part of the hiring process is telling people that I’m not hiring them. I don’t give personal feedback because 1) how many jobs do you know that give personal feedback when they don’t hire you? and 2) hundreds of applicants, remember? I’d spend ALL my time giving personal feedback and be able to do no training of actual employees or my own editing. I have a standard letter I use to let applicants know they didn’t get the position and to let them know I don’t give personal feedback. I’ve changed the wording several times, hoping to solve my problem but still…I get people emailing me frequently, asking for personal feedback for “just them”. Recently I got an incredibly rude email that suggested there was no way I didn’t hire the applicant because of their lack of skills and must have filled the position on a first look basis (meaning I hired the person whose test I saw first). This leaves me rolling on the ground laughing as I look at probably 20 tests a week. Since I’ve taken over hiring FLEs (starting in June) I’ve looked at over 200 tests. I’ve hired…wait for it…3 people. Yeah. That first come, first serve thing works out so well for me, doesn’t it?

Needless to say, I’m happy I didn’t hire that applicant, because I don’t need that attitude in an employee. But regardless, I wouldn’t have regretted not hiring them. Because they didn’t test well. Testing for a final line editor is only 10% subjective. The rest all depends on whether they have mad skillz or not. It’s easy to do a comparison. I have a master test with a mark up that I can do a comparison to. So, um, if I don’t hire you, it’s because you missed too many things. I give a kind of three strikes and you’re out type of thing, so I don’t expect a perfect test, but I do expect one that gets nearly everything. If you don’t test well, when you know I’m watching, how are you going to do when you’re working on manuscripts and I’m not coming along behind you and double-checking? And you get bonus points for catching certain things that most applicants miss or that I missed in the testing, but you have to be a well-rounded and thorough copy editor or I’m not going to hire you, no matter who came before you or who comes after. End of story.

Anyhow, I suppose the moral of the story is to send a professional query letter whether you’re applying for a job or submitting a book. Don’t expect that you’ll be the exception–there are many who’ve come before you who thought they should be the exception. And don’t send me rude emails because you’re sure I’m not seeing the forest for the trees and therefore obviously missed your brilliance. It just validates my decision. And makes me cranky.

Editing tip of the day #6

This is a good one, actually. One of my authors was confused about this so I thought I’d share.

If you lay prone, you’re laying face down. It doesn’t mean just laying down as I think some people believe, it means laying face down. This can cause some choreography issues (especially during sex scenes) if you use it incorrectly.

If you want someone on their back, or face up, they’re supine.

Editing tip of the day #5

Actually, this is less about editing and more about submissions. The tip? Be honest. In your query letter, if your book is a re-release, if you’ve retitled it, if you’ve previously submitted it to the company before. Be honest. It makes us cranky when we find these things out on our own. And then we remember you for all the wrong reasons and you go on our list. The list is bad. You don’t want to be on the list 😉

And while we’re talking about submissions: polish, polish, polish. I’m seeing a lot of rejection letters that mention grammatical errors here recently. That’s unacceptable, really. Find a critique partner, a beta reader, read your book out loud but for pity’s sake, polish!

Jehovah, Christmas and quilts

Another hodge podge post. Yesterday I got Mormons, today Jehovah’s Witnesses. Do you think it’s the witch Halloween plaque I have hanging on the front door? And will I go to hell for throwing away religious literature?

In other news, I’m just finally catching up on my blog feeds. I had over 500 accumulate over vacation. Keep in mind I subscribe to a lot of craft blogs, so that was a good half. I love the craft blogs. I found something that sent a *ding* in my head. Someone had made a Halloween Countdown Calendar, which I thought was so cute. But about a month ago, I was searching and searching for an advent calendar I could make. I found a few but none that really resonated with me. I was frustrated and couldn’t believe how hard this was to find. Well, silly me, on the theme of religion it turns out that duh! Advent calendars have religious connotations. So today, after seeing the Halloween Countdown Calendar, I searched for Christmas Countdown Calendar. Ta da! I found several I can use. See, just the fact that I had the religious one in my head should mean the Mormons and JWs can skip my house.

As far as other crafts go, I’ve actually made several purses in the past few weeks. Playing with just basic patterns. I do have a different, slightly more complicated pattern I’m going to try at some point (the Wasp bag. You can Google it).

In the wings I have an outfit for Brianna that I’m going to attempt, from some cheap denim I picked up at Walmart. And I’m going to make a quilt. A patchwork quilt to start because it requires very little planning on my part. Just squares (which I admit to buying pre-cut because I hate cutting out patterns or fabric of any kind) and straight lines. If I can do that and enjoy it, I’ll move on to the Yellow Brick Road pattern a blog reader sent me (thank you, Phyl!) I’m hoping with the cutting part out of the way, I’ll enjoy it more (I like the sewing part best because, duh, it’s where you see things really come together and I’m impatient that way).

And at some point I’m going to go back to my recycled/fused plastic bags project. I got frustrated by a botched attempt at fusing but after reading up further, it looks as though it’s really trial and error until you get it right. Trial and error, I can do. Anyone out there working on something crafty?

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