I had something kind of disburbing come to my attention today. In the course of a normal every day google search on one of my books I came across a link I hadn't seen before. It linked to an editor I had several years ago who happened to be the only editor I ever had any qualms about. She was rude, abusive, nasty and insisted that all authors like to have their books edited piecemeal....excuse me, in parts. She would do a chapter or two, send it to you with a host of some really nasty comments and while you worked on those she'd send you the next set. That worked well until I got chapters that belonged to someone else's book. She also tried to change all of the dialogue, especially the period dialogue, to perfect American English. In everyday life I don't speak perfect American English. I don't know anyone who does all the time and since I hope to make my characters life like, they don't either.
After the book was signed off on I thought it was off to be published. I received my errata copy and quickly discovered she had re-written entire scenes. In a few there was so much re-writing it changed the entire sense of the chapter. My errata was 16 pages long. Normally my errata are maybe 3 pages and then it's things like a funky looking quote mark or a word that just doesn't look right that turns out was misspelled. Minor things that I know are there but most other people wouldn't notice. Max is 3 pages. My summer release of Neverending Dream (which was edited by one of my most favorite editors) had something like 3 changes -- not pages, changes. 16 was a whopper.
So today I'm googling a book and up pops the one this editor edited....on her book doctor website! She has a list of over 100 authors on this book doctor site that gives the appearance that we all came to her -- personally -- to have her "fix" our books. Not that she edited them while working for this publisher -- but that WE came to her, on our own, and asked her to fix our books. I recognize many of the others and the book titles from at least one publisher -- these were not authors seeking her out, it was a job she was assigned to do by a publisher she worked for.
I'm less than happy about it. She almost ruined my book with her unauthorized re-writes, she didn't ask me if I wanted to be included in her long list of books she "fixed".
I try to remember to give credit when it's due -- I thank my editors, my cover artists, my fellow authors who had suggestions both privately to them and then publically because the ones I work with on a regular basis are incredibly talented and creative people. The artists are amazing with what they create. My editors are incredibly bright and so very knowledgeable about their craft. And my fellow authors are among the most giving people you could ever meet. I am so fortunate to be able to work with them.
But the editor of the 16 page errata? That was a sad experience for me.
If credit isn't due, don't take it.