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Forum: Editors/Reviewers Hangout

Editor or Reviewer, can you be both?

richardshagrin

I recently reviewed a story by Lucky Mann that during the review process I tried to edit, and sent five or six emails, mostly during each chapter as I found things to talk about. I suspect it wasn't a very good edit job, I have to leave the decision about the review to others, I am prejudiced. I haven't heard from the author. I suspect he isn't particularly impressed or pleased. Life goes on, it seemed to me the experiment was good for improving whatever skills I bring to both jobs.

As a more philosophical question, since I have the attention of both, can a Reviewer do a decent job as an editor or are different skills needed for each of the jobs?

And, if you agree to edit a story, should you review it?

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

And, if you agree to edit a story, should you review it?


I would say that they are probably separate but overlapping skill sets. It's certainly possible for someone to be fully versed in both.

As an author, if you were editing one of my stories I would prefer that you ask me first before reviewing it.

As a reader, if you are reviewing a story that you edited, I would expect that to be disclosed.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

And, if you agree to edit a story, should you review it?


I see no reason why you shouldn't, because they're two very different task and roles. Just don't be heavy with the praise for the editor in the review!

anim8ed

I am pretty sure there are a couple of people that do both. The Black Knight comes to mind as one who has been both a reviewer and an editor. I do not know if he did both roles at the same time or for the same story. I do not see a problem with editing and reviewing the same story. I would only review the final product and not the draft copy I am editing.

Crumbly Writer

Richard, sure, you can do both. Many of the editors working at SOL are actually authors who fill in helping other newbie authors. They bring both skills into play, so there's nothing saying that you can't.

In fact, a large portion of amateur editors bring no real experience to the job other than a lifetime of reading, and recognizing mistakes in stories. If you have those skills, then there's no reason you can't put them to use.

As far as sending an author a booklet of edits, I've always cautioned caution here. Some authors don't take corrections, modifications or suggestions at all. Of those of us who do, we like to get small dosages, so we can determine, over time, whether the editor has any clue what he's doing. After all, if he doesn't know what he's doing, we wouldn't accept ANY of his edits. Trust is built slowly between author and editor.

A better policy is to send a few (2 to 4) edits on a given chapter. If the author responds, then send a few more on a subsequent chapter. That gives the author time to evaluate your skills before committing. (When I started, and didn't know any better, I'd compare a new guys skills with my other editors, to see whether they saw the same things as mistakes.) Today I can make the decision on my own, but I still take about 5 back-and-forth edits (5 by each of us) before I'll send an offer to edit. And I consider ALL suggestions I receive!

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

I know of one author, well known for his excellent mostly long stories, who was a reviewer, once. I am glad he keeps writing, and doesn't compete for stories to review. He was good at reviewing, too.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I am glad he keeps writing, and doesn't compete for stories to review.

There you are again, Richard, with your, every story can only be reviewed once, after that it's verbotten to write about it.

If you like or hate a story, or simply disagree with a previous review, you can always write your own review. It's not a zero-sum game!

richardshagrin

Your statement is true, you can always review whatever stories are on SOL you want. If you have a reviewer's license. I don't want to try Lazeez patience by only reviewing stories someone else has done a good job reviewing and that I bring nothing interesting to the review except, "yes I agree its a great story and everybody should read it." At some point people will stop reading fanboy reviews if they know that's all it will be.

I know "all ten" review numbers look like fanboy stuff, but sometimes the tens are justified. I think space is made for reviews on the site because they help increase readership of reviewed stories, and that makes authors happy. (Downloads for authors, scores for readers.) Happy authors write more and what keeps the site alive in part is new stories to read. I may be way off base and all wet, but reviews that don't help people find new stories to read are either counter productive if they reduce the number of stories or readers or stories read, or take up bandwidth but don't contribute to making the site better. Its presumptuous of me to think my reviews make this a better site, but I try as best I can not to make it worse. So I am only a waste of bandwidth. Don't tell Lazeez, he might pull my reviewer permit. I think he might also be unhappy with me because I couldn't spell his name for a long time and called him Management. There are worse things to be called, but Labor and Management are often opposed. Do you want to be called Management? I didn't think so.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I may be way off base and all wet, but reviews that don't help people find new stories to read are either counter productive if they reduce the number of stories or readers or stories read, or take up bandwidth but don't contribute to making the site better.

I wasn't suggesting you copy existing reviews, just that you don't give up on existing stories which have once been reviewed. If one story in an author's repretoir got a review 5 years ago, then a new review for another book will Still drive readers to a good story. However, what would be more interesting is if you provide an alternate review. You don't necessarily disagree with the score, but if you see things in the story which weren't mentioned in an earlier review, or you see buried gems in his writing, I wouldn't rule them out.

In other words, I wouldn't pick hard and fast rules. If you like an older story with a prior reviews, or if someone beats you to one, don't let that stop you from expression your opinion. It's nice to spread the reviews out, but frankly, they're so rare, they're hardly evenly divided as it is. (Says he who got a single review years ago!)

But the key is, as long as you've got something new to add, or an interesting twist to your review, it's worthwhile adding it.

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