Editing Sweatshops

Back before so many of our great clients were sending other wonderful clients our way, we were feeling around to see just what sort of editing and writing we wanted to do. You may have seen advertisements on the Web for copyeditors—things along these lines: “Read wildly interesting material and make a few corrections and get paid a whole bunch of money!”

Well. It will come as no surprise to learn that they were . . . exaggerating. We gave it a shot; but the copy was often either so highbrow as to be virtually unintelligible, or so far in the opposite direction that it was a puzzle trying to figure out what its purpose was and what to do with it.

These places (I say “places,” but of course it’s all online) feel robotic. They have you, the editor, fill out inflexible forms explaining exactly what you did, and they have strict rules about how you’re supposed to edit. In other words, they have the proverbial “tin ear”—they don’t know how to adjust for voice or circumstance. Not everyone has to be a poet; but if you’re a word robot, well, to my mind, you’re not much of an editor.

Of course the advantage of these editing sweatshops is that they can get the work done for less money. They take advantage of editors who are just starting out, trying to get a foot in the door, wanting to build up a portfolio, or not yet sure just how good they are. There can be a place for such things; after all, we all have to work our way up, right?

But editors shouldn’t put up with those companies as employers for very long. Similarly, those companies are not great sources for people who want top-notch editing or writing. They’ve lost the human touch. They’re not anyone you can build a relationship with, or count on getting very quick responses from, or grow confident in the way they’re getting to know you and your needs.

There are several things we at Eagle Eye pride ourselves on. One is that what we sell is, as we say, “perfection or something very close to it.” Call us perfectionists. Or if you don’t want to sound pejorative, call us extremely conscientious. We want to do a good job not just because that’s good for our business’s bottom line, but because that’s the way we are.

Another thing we’re proud of is our customer service. If you contact us, you’ll hear back very quickly—often within an hour or two. And we’ll be attentive to your needs.

One of those needs, in the editing world, is often for speed. That’s a third thing we feel good about. We’re some of the fastest editors around—yet despite doing our work faster than the competition, we don’t sacrifice accuracy. It’s the best of both editing worlds: quick and correct. Not to mention that we’ve got a sense of humor.

Finally, we think you deserve to be treated well. We think we deserve to be treated well too.

So we’re not going to work for the editing sweatshops anymore, and we hope you don’t hire them. We think you’re better off going to the editing shop where everyone knows your name.


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