A client has taken issue with my editing of her unreadable work: work I allowed her to put my name to as editor out of sympathy. Given the truly terrible nature of the work, and her vindictive behaviour towards me (No help from customer support, as always), I was wondering if I can reciprocate by reviewing the book on Amazon?
Interesting question. I've been planning to write positive reviews about some of the books I've edited - the ones I truly think are useful/interesting & well-written.
Ramon, if you're planning to write a negative review just to spite her, I suggest you don't. I'm all for revenge in extreme cases, but try to keep your integrity intact while you still have it
If her work is really terrible as you say, then she's already going to suffer after putting in the time, effort and money to get the book written, edited, formatted and published. Plus, there's no shortage of malicious reviewers on Amazon - someone will target her book eventually.
Yes, it is purely malicious. For most of this year, on and off, I've had to pander to her delusions. She even wasn't aware of how tracked changes worked and for a long period tried to maually add the changes herself! The annoying thing was that I only accepted her contract out of feeling sorry for her in the first place. The problem was that her work was so singularly awful and inappropriate, it had to be virtually rewritten, which she saw as a slight.
Now, with three consecutive feedbacks of under 5, I've a feeling the hammer may fall soon. Telling the truth about someone's storytelling abilities for more or less the first time since I started may be cathartic.
It's better to find some other method of catharsis. I've been where you are and many times I've had the opportunity to screw a client over, but then I take a few hours (or a day) to think about it very carefully.
Just concentrate on your existing/new contracts and then pretty soon all those less-than-5-star jobs will get buried (take it from someone who knows).
Also, before I start any editing contract, I ask the writer how much revising they're willing to let me do (I also ask them if they want me to use Track Changes). If a client doesn't want you to do line/heavy editing, don't do it - no matter how bad it is. Many writers (including myself unfortunately) are very sensitive to criticism, but that's our problem because then we'll never get any better.
If you're desperate to improve the text, write it out in the comments section of Word. Obviously you should be honest if someone asks you to give them feedback on their writing, but otherwise just stick to what they hired you to do.
Anyway, the point is: resist writing that review! You never know when one of your bitter actions will come back to haunt you.
Thank you for your kind comments, as always they are inherently sensible. What really annoyed me was the fact that I actually rewrote it to save her. Given that, by her own admission, she had severe problems that clearly limited her life, I thought rewriting it to mitigate its uniquely childish and illogical nature might prevent her from incurring the wrath of potential customers. It is also worth mentioning that she had no idea what an editor was, and actually wanted a proofreader - something not revealed until after I'd finished. She also added me as editor upon publishing the ghastly mess (with my changes deleted) without my permission.
However, if I considered her too mentally fragile to accept criticism on Amazon, it would be somewhat perverse of me to do the same. Best, as you say, forget about this client and be guided by practical rather than sentimental considerations in the future.
I really feel bad for you. I too have felt that way, and wanted the same type of revenge. But...we can't do it.
Your reputation speaks for itself. You are an excellent editor.
Besides, you're from the UK and you know the British don't do such things. Something about stiff upper lips
Thank you. What worries me more is the disappearence of some very impressive (and well-paid) Western freelancers in the last few weeks. It doesn't seem to take much feedback under 5 stars to get blocked, and I have already been suspended once for arguing with a similarly spiteful client. I wish the new 'professional' odesk would begin to take the less than professional attitude of many clients into consideration: leaving 10,000s of freelancers from developing countries workless will do little to alleviate the generally low quality of people who post jobs.
Yep, you got punished for being kind. But don't worry, what goes around comes around - for both people in this situation! (And I'm saying that from experience )
True, blaming me is not going to confer on her a narrative ability above that of the average 10 year old. She appears to have published dozens of books under various names, not one of which appears to have ever sold on Amazon.