In Web Content Editor: Big Balls Required Part I, we discussed two reasons why it takes a lot of guts and some pretty big balls to be a good web content editor. This included having to say no to projects altogether, and having to tell a client that their work isn’t even editable – that it must either be trashed or completely rewritten. In this installment of the series we’ll examine 4 more reasons why it takes guts to be an editor.
3.) Dealing with Unprofessional Work
If you’re a web content editor, then you probably already know that many people fancy themselves to be writers who are clearly not. This is especially true in the case of Master’s degree holders, doctors and other professionals who might have extensive, valuable knowledge in their fields, but cannot write well at all.
The trouble with these highly educated individuals is that they think their writing is superb, which is ironic considering that they’re obviously seeking editing services. Having a web content editor tell them their work is not professional is likely to upset many clients, and will probably drive some clients away. However, honesty is the most important characteristic that a good editor can have, so not telling these people the truth will only do them a disservice and possibly embarrass them in front of their peers.
A professional web content editor understands that any work that passes their desk as approved is a direct reflection on them and their company, which means that an editor must always be forthcoming about the work submitted to them.
4.) Repeat Rejections
Being a web content editor is difficult because one of the primary functions of the job is the ability to say “no” – repeatedly. Upper level editors that hire writers and sub-editors are almost literally in the business of rejection, as they not only reject the work of clients, they also reject the work of their own staff. Whether client or employee, it’s easy to become frustrated when an editor consistently returns work to you, unapproved.
In some cases it is during this rejection process that many writers discover that they truly can’t write, or that their editor is a dolt. Whatever the case may be, an editor must possess considerable balls to repeatedly reject work that they legitimately consider unacceptable.
5.) Telling a Client They’re Wrong
Often editing isn’t just about correcting or revising spelling, grammar, word choice, tense, syntax or other errors. It can also include fact-checking, research and other types of verifications. When a web content editor finds something amiss, it’s their duty to tell the client their information is inaccurate – something that few people take very well. This is especially true if the editor disagrees based upon experience and principle and not on some set, known and measured fact.
6.) Work that won’t Work
Imagine that you’ve been working on a book for three years. You’ve put your guts into it and it’s finally done. You submit it to an editor who promptly tells you that you never should have written it to begin with. Do you think you’d be upset?
The reasons this could happen are many: perhaps the book is too similar to an already copyrighted piece. It could be a topic in an over-saturated market. Or it could be the fact that in order to accomplish the goals of the book, the piece ideally should have been written as an article, a white paper, a workbook, or an eBook.
Of course, no one wants to hear that their efforts have been even partially wasted – but identifying this problem and communicating it is the job of the editor, and it takes as much guts to do this as it did to write the book.
In the next installment of this article series we’ll look at a few final points that make it obvious that being an editor isn’t for the weak-willed, including the infamous total let-down: “No one is interested in your work.” But if you need an editor who isn’t a “yes man” right now, then pick up the phone and call the number at the top of your screen. Call us and take your work to the next level.