KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Monday, July 30, 2007

The One That I Let Go


Once in a while, I have to turn down really great assignments because I must be fair to my clients. And I so hate doing it, but it's part of maintaining long-term client relationships.

I just got a call from one of the in-house production editors for a huge mainstream book publisher, asking if on August 28, about a week and a half after I return from my next camping vacation, I'd want to take on copyediting the newest manuscript by a big-name healthy-eating guru.

Would I ever!

But the manuscript, which isn't quite complete yet, will likely come in at more than 500 pages, filled with tables and graphs and charts and recipes ... and it would be due back to the publisher in just barely over 2 weeks. The pub would even pay me a much higher "rush" rate because of the short deadline.


Even getting no sleep and no family time, just when the new school year will be starting, even being paid in gold coins ... that's just too little time for me to complete editing on a complex manuscript like that—and it's on paper, not onscreen, which slows things down even more. Of course, I could do a quick but crappy job to meet the deadline, but that would affect my professional reputation. I asked for an extra week, but the book's on a "crash" schedule that can't be lengthened.


My hopes were dashed. I couldn't accept the project and do the quality of work my clients are used to getting from me. But the production editor thanked me for my honesty.


It's not that I'll go hungry; my clients will have plenty of work for me. But having to let a big one get away ... I wish I could clone myself. There are so many juicy projects out there and I can't do them all.



Imperatrix said...

I'm sorry! I feel your pain.

(But I'm sure something else will come around that will be just as cool, but with a more reasonable time frame.)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Sympathy helps. :-)

Anonymous said...

You did the right thing, though, as hard as it was. I just turned down something similar and sent it over to a friend of mine, because I just didn't have the time to do it justice, and my friend does.

There's nothing worse than taking on too much and then hating yourself for doing a crummy job. So sympathy to you, but props too, for doing what was ultimately best for your existing clients as well as the one that got away.

LeftLeaningLady said...

It is so nice to know there are still honest people who take pride in their work. Somewhere, sometime, you will receive a lovely bonus in your life for your honesty!

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