Re: Declining a copyediting test

Subject: Re: Declining a copyediting test
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 12:11:18 -0500

As one very senior managing editor once told me, "I have enough prima
donnas already. When hiring, I try to avoid getting any more." For
him, the hassle he was willing to undertake with writers increased
with the talent of the writer, but he was much less flexible regarding
assistant editors.

It is not uncommon for people to use the worst possible sample of
writing as an editing test. This may be for any of several
reasons--and I would agree that the response to the test would also be
part of what they may be looking for.

In the extant case, where the book packager is using POD publishers'
material as input, they are essentially working with what is often
vanity press material, in which individuals pay for the privilege of
seeing their name as author of a printed work.

If the objective is to make the material publishable without totally
embarrassing the imprint, then there actually may be some material
that is sufficiently lamentable that the editing sample could be

In such case, it well may be that they are looking for someone who can
do substantive editing--even if they seek to pay copy editing wages.

One very professional method of responding might be to comment that
material of the quality of the test sample would need considerable
rework, and that your rate would have to be sufficiently flexible to
allow for the increased level of editorial time and focus.

However, if I wanted not to completely burn any bridges, I would
complete the editing of the sample.

Otherwise, I would simply and politely decline with no attempt at


On 7/26/05, Joe Malin <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com> wrote:

> You don't say *why* they're giving you the test. Is it for a position
> you're applying for? What type of position? How much do you want to work
> there?


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RE: Declining a copyediting test: From: Joe Malin

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